An Afghan entrepreneur and his firm smooth the way for a reporter making her war zone debut. He hopes someday he’ll be escorting sightseers rather than journalists through his troubled country.
By Jessica Wanke
Originally published in American Journal Review in the February/March 2009 Issue
Published on Bunchofmadmen.com on December 27, 2010
I was sitting at my computer for the fifth consecutive hour, a stack of printed-out country guides, close to a foot high, by my side. I was about to head around the world, on my first trip to Afghanistan, on an independent reporting trip funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and I was compiling enough information to give myself a crash course in Afghan history on the plane rides over. This combination of excitement and anxiety is familiar to a lot of journalists before they take off overseas: You know your assignment, you know the big picture story, but you have little to no clue when it comes to the terrain, the language and the sources on the ground.