• My First Hajj: Even after three days of lectures, prayers, and long discussions with family members about how to do the hajj, reporter Faiza Saleh Ambah feels like she's just getting her Muslim sea legs (page 1). "Last night at the mosque, we were praying. I thought it was time to stand, so I got up. My sister pulled me back down with a stern look. I still feel nervous. I'm trying to do the right thing at all times,"she says.
As a reporter for Associated Press based in Dubai for several years, she reported on the hajj from a distance. But nothing replaces the actual experience. "You have no idea until you see the beggars and the Saudi cops shouting, and people sleeping on floors and under buses and praying everywhere. You can't help feeling less worldly, more spiritual."
• The Power of a Mike: When reporter Nicole Itano visited the Camp Sizanani outside Johannesburg (page 7), she brought along a minidisc recorder and microphone to record some of her interviews. She walked into an arts and crafts class where a group of boys were drawing pictures, and the microphone was a big hit.
"Some of the kids came over and started rapping into the microphone," she says. "They made up their own rap about how much fun they were having at camp." Nicole later learned that one of the most enthusiastic of the rappers - a small boy with a disability - had arrived at camp just over a week before so shy that he wouldn't speak or look directly at anyone.
David Clark Scott