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Reporting, Reporting, More Reporting.

May 30, 2012

The past two days have been reporting heavy: sweaty, stressful, schvitzing. I’ve spent more hours interviewing people than sleeping. I might have even spent more time in cabs in the past two days than I have logged in my bed. And I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never not be a sweaty mess when I show up places. I love this country, but the layers of clothing I wear plus the amount of time I spend in taxis, adding in the terrible traffic in Amman equals me being a perpetual frizzy, sticky mess. Also, instances such as when I was sliding down the sidewalk of the steepest hill I’ve ever been on in Amman on Monday on one of the hottest afternoons yet — after the cab driver dropped me on on the wrong side of the unicef office — don’t help the cause either.

The person in charge of the study abroad program that Northeastern University partnered with spoke to us about how all interviews should be kept under an hour, maximum. I realize that this is partly because of the nature of the story I’m working on — which requires talking to people long enough to get them comfortable with me — but our American-style, super-efficient and sometimes aggressive reporting, in my very limited experience in Jordan, doesn’t work here. I have spent much more than half an hour with all of my sources.

I am reporting in people’s homes. Two nights ago, I was invited to have dinner and speak to two people for my article. I was there for nearly four hours, interviewing, eating, drinking Arabic coffee, eating, drinking mint tea then eating some more. To refuse hospitality is an insult here and it has become a rite I have had to just factor into the time I am going to spend with people.

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