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Americas: May 2012 Archives

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Child "bomberitos" on Peru's most dangerous highway


Peru's Bomberitos to the rescue

Bomberito means "little fireman" in Spanish. In the Andes Mountains of Peru groups of them use their homemade carretas  to help stranded motorists and truckers along the highway.  The tips they earn help support their families. 

 Hevert (left) was a bomberito as a kid, helping rescue stranded motorists and victims of disasters.  They get their carretas up the steep highway through the Andes by attaching ropes, or just their hands, to passing transport trucks.  (Photos: Romi Burianova)

The photo that started it (below). Filmmaker Quincy Perkins saw this picture of two Bomberitos -- kids on their own in the mountains of Peru who make their way to mountain accidents and disasters. Our Dispatches contributor went with him to the Amazon valley as he made a film about them (Photo/StefanSonntag) 

It was one of those dinner party stories that sticks in your head. A rumour about kids racing homemade carts high in the Andes, acting as first responders during accidents and disasters.

They have a catchy name. They're said to do dangerous work in a dangerous region.

But are they real?  For Dispatches contributor Lori Chodos and a colleague, the voyage to find out was a story in itself.

 Lori's documentary

May 31 Dispatches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 31 & June 3: from Kabul, Afghanistan - Lima, Peru - Florence, Italy - Hong Kong - Mumbai, India

From our correspondents around the world...

The photo that started it. Filmmaker Quincy Perkins saw this picture of two Bomberitos -- kids on their own in the mountains of Peru who make their way to mountain accidents and disasters. Our Dispatches contributor went with him to the Amazon valley as he made a film about them.  (Photo/Stefan Sonntag)

There's no fire department, no auto club between the Andes and the Amazon. Just feral kids in homemade carts. Meet the Bomberitos of Peru.

The threat left behind. NATO troops leave Afghanistan but their unexploded shells will wage a protracted war on civilians. 

Why Hong Kong's superiority complex is turning into an identity crisis, 15 years after its handover to China. 

Italy's doleful demographic.  The birth rate's so low, schools are being turned into old age homes.  

And, inner-city Mumbai might look like a slum, but the land's worth a fortune to the crafty residents waiting for a developer's payday.

 

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May 24 and May 27, 2012: from Florence - Uganda - The Seychelles - Iraq

From our correspondents around the world...

 

Tour participants in Florence eat gelato topped with aged balsamic vinegar, a uniquely Italian treat. (Photo: Luigi Fraboni)

How does a hairdresser recruited for work in Dubai, wind up slaving for the U.S. military in a war zone in Iraq? We look at the plight of those known as "The Invisible Army."

In Uganda you can inherit a wife, marry more than one, and beating them isn't much of a crime. And changing that is proving problematic.

Then, a young award-winning reporter on shoe leather, social media and his first time in a free-fire zone.

And, Florentine steak, well-aged parmeggiano, and an egg-rich gelato to die for. How to find the best food in Florence.

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May 10 & 13, 2012: from Damascus, Syria - Munich, Germany - Sao Paolo, Brazil - Alabama - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Port-au-Prince, Haiti

From our correspondents around the world...

 

Alabama has America's toughest laws aimed at undocumented immigrants. It makes the lives of Hispanics so hard they are "self deporting", even if they are not illegal. The approach has also had an impact on Alabama citizens, many of whom have been drawn into the state's war on undocumented immigrants. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The shifting conflict in Syria. From stand-and-fight to guerilla warfare and a cry for outside help.

The German locomotive hopes to pull Europe's flailing economies out of trouble. But there's a ghost in that machine.

In Brazil, David Rocha makes garbage instruments. Or rather, instruments from garbage. That's why they sound so good.

Illegal immigrant, deport thyself. How an experiment in immigration went wrong in Alabama.

Hotels aren't in the charity business, so why would the Red Cross want into the hotel business, in Haiti?

And from the Netherlands, a cafe where you don't pay for the food. We take repast in a restaurant for these recessionary times.

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May 3 & 6, 2012: from China - Toulouse, France - India - Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Amsterdam

From our correspondents around the world...

 

China's former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai is the subject of one of two scandals threatening the Chinese Communist establishment. His wife has been implicated in the death of a British businessman. (Photo: Reuters)

In China, a dead man, a live dissident and a disgraced party boss make for an embarassing challenge to the country's Communist party.

The F-word erupts into French presidential politics. Are foreigners the future of the Gallic identity or its undoing? The campaign revives a rift.

Then, hate camps versus haute couture. A new documentary examines why some girls in India are subjugated, while others are liberated.

In Haiti, the lacklustre government moves to appease restless former soldiers with the promise of a payday but there's a Fifth Column to worry about.

And, a sting on wheels. Bicycle theft in free-wheeling Amsterdam pushes our correspondent to extremes.

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