Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is most at home when she's on the move. Born in London, the journalist has lived in the United States, Colombia, Afghanistan, Israel and Mexico City. She currently covers the Middle East for NPR, and is based in Jerusalem.

After covering Iraq as NPR News' Baghdad Bureau Chief since February 2008, Garcia-Navarro made another move: relocating to Israel in April 2009 to become NPR's correspondent based in Jerusalem.

Prior to reporting from Baghdad, Garcia-Navarro spent three years as NPR's foreign correspondent in Mexico City, reporting from that region as well as on special assignments abroad. Her depth of reporting brought an insider's cultivated perspective to a territory that also embraces her family's roots (incidentally, her parents are from the region).

Garcia-Navarro got her start in journalism as a freelancer with the BBC World Service and Voice of America, reporting from Cuba, Syria, Panama and Europe. She later became a producer for Associated Press Television News (APTN) before transitioning to AP Radio. While there, Garcia-Navarro covered post-Sept. 11 events in Afghanistan and developments in Jerusalem. From 2002 to 2004, she was based in Iraq.

Why journalism? Garcia-Navarro says that she likes "to tell people's stories, to make their lives real and vivid," adding that it's "an important job and I love doing it."

Garcia-Navarro holds a B.S. in International Relations from Georgetown University and an M.A. in journalism from City University in London. She was the recipient of the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize in 2006 for a two-part series "Migrants' Job Search Empties Mexican Community," and also shared in two awards honoring NPR News' Iraq reporting: a Peabody Award in 2005, and a 2007 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award.

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10:40am

Wed November 27, 2013
Parallels

Swarming Thieves Wreak Havoc On Famed Rio Beaches

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:04 am

Municipal guards with batons chase a mob of thieves that snatched bags and wallets from beachgoers on Arpoador beach, adjacent to Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 20.
Marcelo Carnaval AP

Amanda Maia was visiting Rio de Janeiro for the weekend earlier this month with her mother. It was a sunny day and so they went to Ipanema beach to catch some rays. She says she noticed a few groups of kids.

"There were lots of gangs, about 10, 15 children each; they were about 10 or 12 years old," Maia recalls.

At first, she says, they were just roaming the streets, checking people out. The ones she saw were smoking marijuana, too.

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3:03am

Tue November 12, 2013
Parallels

Photos Reveal Harsh Detail Of Brazil's History With Slavery

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 10:25 am

A lady with two slaves, in Bahia, Brazil, 1860.
Moreira Salles Institute Archive

Brazil was the last place in the Americas to abolish slavery — it didn't happen until 1888 — and that meant that the final years of the practice were photographed.

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4:43pm

Fri September 20, 2013
World

All Across Brazil, The Art Scene Is Shifting

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 6:15 pm

A couple review the work of Brazilian artist Victor Arruda during ArtRio, the International Art Fair of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 5.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Brazil is known for its music and distinctive dances, not necessarily for its paintings or photography. But that is changing. Not only are Brazilian artists now getting big play in major museums around the world, but something new is happening inside Brazil: There's a burgeoning appetite for art.

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4:27am

Wed September 18, 2013
Latin America

Brazil's President Postpones U.S. Visit Over Spying Concerns

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A secret surveillance court has issued a very rare public defense of the U.S. program that collects massive data on phone calls. The court wrote that this program which stores numbers and call times but not content, we're told, does not violate privacy rights.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The American Civil Liberties Union countered that it is folly to trust privacy decisions to a secret court.

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4:37pm

Tue September 17, 2013
Parallels

As Economy Cools, Brazilians Find Themselves Trapped In Debt

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 8:44 pm

A woman looks at clothes inside a shop in Rio de Janeiro. Consumption has been a huge driver of the Brazilian economy, but the boom years are over, and economists say the outlook isn't good.
Sergio Moraes Reuters/Landov

It all started out so promisingly. She was young, still in her teens, and she'd landed her first job. As is the custom in Brazil, to get your salary you have to open an account with the bank the company deals with — and with that new account came the woman's first credit card.

"The banks say, 'I want to help you,' " she says. "And if you have a credit card, it's a status symbol, you are well-regarded."

She switched jobs. That company dealt with another bank — which issued her another credit card. She got a store credit card, too.

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1:05pm

Mon September 16, 2013
Parallels

Brazilian Believers Of Hidden Religion Step Out Of Shadows

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 5:45 pm

Men possessed by orixas dance before getting dressed in orixa costumes. They are participating in an Olubaje party, a Candomblé ritual for cleansing life of bad things and healing. The main god at the party is Omulu (the one with straws), known for healing diseases.
Marcello Vitorino Fullpress for NPR

Amid chanting and drumming, a crowd gathers in Sao Paulo and waits for the gods to come to them from the spirit world.

They are celebrating a sacred festival day in honor of Omulu, a deity of life and death. The women wear white dresses with crinolines, colorful belts and headdresses. The men wear lace, pajama-style suits. They sing and dance in a circle for hours; the room gets warmer, the chanting more intense.

Suddenly, they are here: Orixas have possessed the chosen among the faithful. They are spirit gods, the deified ancestors who link humans to the other world.

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3:00am

Wed August 14, 2013
Parallels

Brazilians Flood To U.S. On Massive Shopping Sprees

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 7:26 pm

Camila DeSouza, a 17-year-old Brazilian, shops for shoes at a mall in Sunrise, Fla., on July 16, 2012. During their winter, Brazilians flock to the U.S., mainly to shop. Even with the cost of airfare figured in, many products are far cheaper in the U.S. than in Brazil.
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald/MCT /Landov

What's the busiest U.S. Consulate in the world? If you guessed in Mexico or China, you'd be wrong.

It's actually in Brazil, Sao Paulo to be exact. The consulate there is giving a record number of visas to Brazilians who want to visit the U.S. And that is giving a boost to the economies of cities like Miami.

On a recent day, Tiago Dalcien and his girlfriend stand outside the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo clutching their passports and other documents. He is a 30-year-old banker; his girlfriend is a doctor.

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3:08am

Fri August 9, 2013
Parallels

Unease In Sprawling Rio Slum Ahead Of Police 'Pacification'

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:06 pm

A police officer patrols the rooftop of a school at the Rocinha slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2012, where a "pacification" anti-crime effort was underway. Rio police are now going to attempt a similar pacification in another huge slum, Mare.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Brazilian police are preparing to occupy one of the deadliest shantytown complexes in Rio de Janeiro, hoping to drive out drug gangs ahead of next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

It's the latest "pacification" effort in a Rio slum, and the city's new chief of police says he'll need some 1,500 cops to secure this one, called Mare.

Police in the past would typically stage raids, but then withdraw from the dangerous shantytowns, known here as favelas. But under the pacification program, they now set up shop inside the favelas.

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6:05pm

Wed July 31, 2013
Parallels

Pope's Visit: A Bumpy Test Run For Rio's World Cup, Olympics

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 7:47 pm

Hundreds of thousands of people crowd Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday as Pope Francis celebrates the final Mass of his visit to Brazil. Security lapses, traffic chaos and other logistical snafus marred the visit.
AFP/Getty Images

While the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro were a success for Pope Francis, they certainly weren't for the city government. Accusations of disorganization and transport failures have left residents wondering if Rio is really ready to host both the World Cup and the Olympics.

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5:40am

Sun July 28, 2013
News

Religious Orders Use Pope's Visit To Recruit Young Postulants

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 2:07 pm

People dance in laser lights in a tent during World Youth Day events in Quinta de Boa Vista park, where religious orders are holding a job fair of sorts to recruit new postulants.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

The Quinta de Boa Vista park is far away from the celebrations in Copacabana Beach, where three million people gathered Saturday to hear Pope Francis speak. But the park is attracting a crowd of young people.

Kiosks for religious orders like the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Legion of Mary line the park. It looks like a job fair, and in a way, it is.

Nuns from the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady of Lourdes dance around in front of their stand, to the banging of drums and the strumming of guitars.

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4:13pm

Tue July 23, 2013
Religion

Jubilation, Protest Greet Pope Francis In Brazil

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and was greeted by adoring masses and protesters alike. It is his first foreign trip since becoming pope.

3:34am

Mon July 22, 2013
Parallels

Brazil's Evangelicals A Growing Force In Prayer, Politics

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 2:32 pm

Evangelical Christians pray during the "March for Jesus" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Nelson Antoine AP

Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome.

Still, Pope Francis's visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism — the nation's main religion — is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.

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3:06pm

Fri July 19, 2013
Parallels

Brazil's Highflying VIPs Face Backlash Over Air Travel

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:57 pm

A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Jefferson Bernardes AFP/Getty Images

Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.

Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.

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4:52am

Wed July 3, 2013
Latin America

Protests Dwindle In Brazil Due To Lack Of Leadership

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 9:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Brazil has been a lot quieter this week. The massive protests that roiled the country have grown smaller. And to understand why, let's go to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who is in Sao Paulo.

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8:00pm

Wed June 26, 2013
Parallels

Amid Construction Boom, Migrants Flow Into Brazil

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

Construction is underway on the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, shown here June 12. The stadium will be the venue for the opening ceremony and game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and many migrants are among the laborers working on the project.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

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5:06am

Mon June 24, 2013
Latin America

Protests Allow Brazilians To Feel Part Of Global Movement

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Technology really does seem to make the world smaller, and this morning, we'll hear this morning how that applies to protest movements. Turkey saw a fresh wave of anti-government demonstrations over the weekend.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in Brazil, the president is holding an emergency meeting today on how to respond to protests sweeping that country. An estimated quarter of a million Brazilians were on the streets yesterday, with a wide range of grievances.

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9:28am

Sat June 22, 2013
Parallels

Brazil's Indians Reclaim Land Citing Promises, Using Force

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 9:59 pm

Indigenous leaders from Brazil's Terena tribe attend a meeting with government officials in the capital, Brasilia, on June 6. Brazil's Indians have been demanding greater land rights and are increasingly coming into conflict with large ranchers and farmers.
Eraldo Peres AP

It was once the cattle farm of a former congressman, but now his stately house in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a burned-out shell. Thatch huts are being built in the shade of flowering palm trees. Once the purview of one farmer's family, it now is occupied by dozens of indigenous ones.

Indian activists say this is just the beginning.

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1:24pm

Tue June 18, 2013
Parallels

With Inspiration From Turkey, Brazil Discovers Mass Protests

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:40 pm

A mass protest in Sao Paulo on Monday night was one of several across the country where demonstrators raised a host of grievances. Some demonstrators said they drew their inspiration from the protests in Turkey.
Nelson Antoine AP

They are young, they are angry and they have drawn inspiration from protest movements a world away in places like Turkey and the Middle East.

Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets across the country Monday night, and more demonstrations are slated for the coming week. Brazil doesn't have a history of this kind of mass dissent, but it seems to be catching on very quickly.

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3:24am

Fri June 7, 2013
Parallels

Criminals Fleeing Rio Crackdown Set Up Shop In The Suburbs

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 10:27 am

Rio de Janeiro's Elite Special Forces Police Unit patrols the Caju favela complex as part of the pacification program designed to crack down on crime in advance of the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Lianne Milton for NPR

The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.

Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.

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11:51am

Thu June 6, 2013
Parallels

Once Unsafe, Rio's Shantytowns See Rapid Gentrification

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:38 pm

The small, hillside community of Babilonia, situated above the Leme and Copacabana neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, has ocean views.
Lianne Milton for NPR

A new gastronomic guide to Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns — for a cool $35 — has just been published. A new boutique hotel perched on top of one of Rio's previously most dangerous favelas is about to open. And yes, there is a jazz club and yoga, too.

These are new services catering to a new kind of favela resident.

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1:14pm

Fri May 31, 2013
Parallels

Rio Goes High-Tech, With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:27 am

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.

The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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2:13pm

Mon May 27, 2013
Parallels

'We Are Not Valued': Brazil's Domestic Workers Seek Rights

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 4:57 pm

Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
AFP/Getty Images

The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.

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5:04pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Parallels

Brazil Looks To Build A 10,000-Mile Virtual Fence

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:44 pm

A drug-sniffing dog checks bags at a Brazilian border crossing with Bolivia on April 3. With an increase in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Brazil is planning to build a virtual fence along its 10,000-mile border.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's borders are so vast, and the terrain so inhospitable, that attempting to secure them has seemed a virtually impossible task.

But Brazil's rapidly expanding economy has made the country a magnet for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other illicit activities, and now the country has announced its own border protection program.

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5:34am

Sun May 12, 2013
The Changing Lives Of Women

C-Sections Deliver Cachet For Wealthy Brazilian Women

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 7:11 pm

Daniele Coelho holds her newborn daughter as doctors finish her cesarean section at the Perinatal Clinic in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 2. Brazil has one of the world's highest rates of cesarean births.
Felipe Dana AP

The office is immaculate, as you would expect in an upscale neighborhood in Sao Paulo — all sterile, white, modish plastic furniture and green plants. Behind the reception desk are pictures that would look more appropriate in a pop art gallery than a private maternity clinic.

The list of services at the clinic in Brazil's largest city is long: fertility treatments, specialized gynecology and, of course, obstetrics. But one thing they rarely do here is preside over a vaginal delivery.

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2:39pm

Tue April 30, 2013
Latin America

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:34 am

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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3:17am

Tue April 30, 2013
Latin America

Brazil Seeks To Avoid Own Goal Ahead Of World Cup

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 11:19 am

The renovated Maracana stadium hosts a game by the teams "Friends of Bebeto" and "Friends of Ronaldo" during the stadium's inauguration in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Soccer isn't just a sport in Brazil, it's a religion, and the main temple is the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

The venue is not only the biggest stadium in Brazil but the biggest in South America. Over the weekend, the newly renovated complex reopened to great fanfare, with stirring musical numbers, a light show and dignitaries including Brazil's president.

The headlines in the local media, however, focused not on the fanfare but on the many problems, from flooding in the VIP area to malfunctioning seats and turnstiles. The stadium was also four months late reopening.

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1:03pm

Mon April 22, 2013
Latin America

In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 9:52 pm

A portrait is projected on the walls of a building as part of a project promoting art through re-evaluating urban spaces and buildings in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 22.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

It's lunchtime in the heart of Sao Paulo's financial district. Surrounded by tall buildings of cool glass and steel, men and women in suits and business attire walk back and forth busily in Brazil's largest city.

Standing amid the bustle is Leticia Matos — who is, for want of a better word, a crochet artist. She couldn't look more different from the people around her.

Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and covered in bright, quirky tattoos, Matos is at work, too. About a year ago, she says, she got the idea for her project while knitting and crocheting with her friends.

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3:27am

Fri April 12, 2013
Latin America

In The Wake Of Brazil's Boom, Prices To Match

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 10:56 am

Tatiana Coelho buys fruit from a vendor in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2012. Prices, especially for food, are skyrocketing in Brazil.
Melanie Stetson Freeman Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, a Starbucks coffee shop looks as it would in the United States. It has the same jazzy music; the same items on the menu.

There is one thing that is different, though: the prices.

"Everyone told me it's expensive, but when you see it yourself it's shocking," says one customer, Thierry, who is from Geneva and is in town for a wedding.

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3:44pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Middle East

'We Survived Iraq': An Iraqi Makes A New Home In North Carolina

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:51 pm

Ali Hamdani was a doctor in Iraq before becoming a translator for NPR. He now lives in North Carolina.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro NPR

Ten years after the Iraq War began, NPR is catching up with people we encountered during the conflict. Back in 2008, NPR's armored car was targeted with a so-called sticky bomb in Baghdad. Ali Hamdani, an Iraqi who worked for NPR as a translator and producer, narrowly escaped. Shortly afterward, he left Iraq for the Unites States as a refugee.

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1:50pm

Thu January 17, 2013
U.S.

A War Correspondent Takes On Her Toughest Assignment

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 11:55 am

NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (right) conducts an interview in the West Bank.
Courtesy of Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

When I discovered I was pregnant, I realized it was time for a change of pace. I'd been covering conflicts around the world for 12 years. The plan was to retreat to balmy Miami where my family is, have my baby and just slow down for a bit.

My husband was taking time off; I would have plenty of extra help if I needed it. While pregnant, I fantasized about the tender, quiet moments I would share with my daughter, her suckling contentedly while I cooed.

"How hard could motherhood be?" I blithely thought.

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