Reporters on the Job

Run With God: Visiting the church compound of Samusideen Saka, pastor of what used to be called Chrislamherb, staff writer Abe McLaughlin got the tour of the place from his wife.

"She took me into the mosque and explained that believers regularly 'run their deliverance.' It's a process, she says, of understanding that the God of Christianity is the same as the God of Islam - and includes doing laps around a colonnaded section of the building.

With that, she took off running. Abe and she did three laps, leaving Abe a tad winded, and grateful it was over.

Then she said, 'To really understand this, it's good to do at least nine laps.' Abe tried to divert her, asking if there were other things he needed o see. She didn't take the bait. So off Abe went, padding around in his bare feet in the stifling heat of Lagos. "But at least I had time to contemplate the true meaning of Chrislamherb," Abe says.

Do not yield: One thing that always strikes you in Vietnam, says correspondent Simon Montlake, is the traffic. Not just the volume, but the anarchy. Bikes, mopeds, trucks, cars, all swarm through the streets. Turning left means cutting into oncoming traffic, and lights are few. Motorbikes can carry several people, none of them wearing helmets, and nobody has ever heard of signaling.

"So I asked my foreign ministry minder why it was that in a communist country, nobody follows traffic rules?" says Simon. "I got a lengthy history lesson: how French colonizers had imposed their system until they left, then it was the war, then later Vietnam adopted ideas from ally China, until they fell out (in 1978). Next was Soviet planning. That failed, obviously. So come the 1990s, Vietnam began to choose the right systems for its development, and it's, well, taken a while."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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