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September 24 & 27: from Salaya, India - Kabul - New York - Bandiagara, Mali

The new prisoners of piracy. Monsoon season provides safe haven for crews of the small boats that sail the Indian Ocean.

We'll hear some answers from the Canadian in charge of the count in Afghanistan's tainted election.

Then, Pulitzer prize winner Tracy Kidder tells a story of triumph over memory of the massacres in Burundi.

The Ramadan Blogs; two American-raised Muslims get their eyes opened when they venture into a different New York mosque, every day for a month.

And from a high plateau in Mali, a trio of Canadians brings healing hands to people who've never seen medical care.

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Individual items from this week's show are not available. But you can listen to them in Part 1 and Part 2 of the programme (above).

Prisoners of piracy

Piracy and hostage-taking on the Indian Ocean is an expensive cost of doing business for the world's major shipping companies.

But it's also hitting the little guys.

Sailors from coastal India who crew even the smallest sailing boats have been targets.

Most are at home right now, taking advantage of the current rainy season to get rested, and as we heard from Anna Cunningham, in some cases, get married.

Finding fraud in Afghanistan

The investigation into vote-rigging in the Afghan election has been fast-tracked by the U.N.

Instead of examining every single box and ballot, its Electoral Complaints Commission, the ECC, will look instead only at representative samples.

And that's sure to keep the matter politically-charged in a way that won't please everybody.

There are reportedly enough votes under review that a finding of massive fraud could overturn the election of President Hamid Karzai, and force a runoff election.

A finding in his favour, on the other hand, would disappoint his challenger, who's already warned there's no telling how his supporters will react to another disappointment.

And supervising this delicate business is a Canadian, Grant Kippen, chair of the ECC, and he joined Rick from Kabul.

30 mosques in 30 days

Two Muslims living in New York City recently came up with what they call "an insanely random idea."

What if they prayed at a different mosque every single night of Ramadan, Islam's month-long period of prayer and fasting?

Why? Why not.

And so, a website was born. And with some trepidation, the American-raised pair headed out to the masjids as they're known in Arabic, of dozens of different cultures.

The site's authors are Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, and they gave us a  sample.

A link to the 30 Mosques blog

Strength in What Remains

In the '90s, the genocide in Rwanda got the headlines, but neighbouring Burundi suffered much the same fate, and had many times before.

And fleeing the violence, a young medical student named Deo made his way past the assassins, eventually arriving in New York City.

He slept in Central Park. Worked scuzzy jobs. And wrestled with the memory of the slaughter he'd seen.

Eventually though, he was adopted by a series of Samaritans who saw him through medical school and eventually, he built his own clinic back in Burundi, now an oasis of ethnic tranquilty.

Deo's story is told in the new book Strength In What Remains, by Pulitzer prize-winning writer Tracy Kidder, a master of narrative non-fiction.

He came to our studio, a lean and youthful-looking 64-year-old with these large gnarled fingers and laugh lines that jump out when he gets excited, as he is about this story.

Strength In What Remains is published by Random House.

Healing Dogon country

Recording the mask dance,Tereli, Dogon country, Mali. (Photo/Jaap Croese)
Here's something you may not know.

Eleven years ago, one of the poorest countries in the world came to Canada's aid.

That was the year of the ice storm. And a small group of people in the African state of Mali raised sixty-five dollars for the relief effort in rural Quebec.

Call it payback.

Some years earlier, Canadians had sent help to them after a bad flood in Mali.

All these years later, "Dispatches" contributor Alexa Dvorson went trekking among the Dogon people of Mali's remote Bandiagara escarpment, and found the wheel has turned again.

And a postscript to that story: Tyler Belgrave has since formed a partnership with SOS Children's Villages, and is raising funds to build a medical clinic and train medical staff in Mali's Dogon region.

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann, and Steve McNally with technical producers Brian Dawes, Greg Fleet and Victor Johnston, and senior producer Alan Guettel.
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