National Geographic January 2014, Part 2

Far from Home, by Cynthia Gorney, photographs by Jonas Bendiksen

Far from Home is a profile of the situation and economics of “guest workers” in foreign countries. This article refers to them primarily as “remittance workers,” because of the fact that the workers are sending as much money home to their families as they can afford to do. In economics, the term for sending money in this way is “remittances,” thus “remittance workers.”

There are millions of remittance workers in the world, both documented and undocumented, in scores of countries all over the world. The United States is temporary home to one of the largest populations of remittance workers in the world and, indeed, the existence of undocumented remittance workers in the United States is currently a heavily debated issue.

For the purposes of this article, however, Gorney focuses on one particular subset of one particular remittance worker population in a different country. This is the situation of Filipino guest workers in Dubai.

And the example Gorney uses to show this world to us is the Cruz family (which is a pseudonym to protect them). The Cruzes met in Dubai, though the husband, Luis, had a wife at home in the Philippines. After he and Teresa fell in love, however, Luis got an annulment from his wife at home and married Teresa. As they are a two-income family, they can live independently of some of the group homes that remittance workers occupy in Dubai. They also have room for two of their children. The problem is that they have four children. Since there is no room for them in the home, the Cruzes sent their eldest two children home to the Philippines, where they live with their maternal aunt.

Once Upon a Dragon, by Jennifer S. Holland, photographs by Stefano Unterthiner

Okay. Komodo dragons. They’re dragons. From Komodo.

This article is actually a very interesting read, but there’s not a whole lot to say about it. We talk about the legends that say that humans and dragons are sort of cousins — the first komodo dragon was the twin sister of an Indonesian prince. They’re a protected species, as are their prey, which means that people of the islands where the Komodo dragons live cannot offer deer meat as offerings to the dragons anymore. And, as we do in a lot of National Geographic articles, we follow scientists who are studying the dragons.

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