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January 20 & 23: from Haiti - Dubai - Beijing - New Delhi - Rajasthan, India

A branch of Fonkoze, Hait's largest microcredit bank (photo/Amber Hildebrandt/CBC)

Fixing coffee or fixing cars: Given the choice, Maryam Darwish reached for a wrench and loosened a social barrier in the United Arab Emirates. 

From Haiti, the story of a remarkable bank that provides literacy along with its loans.

Negotiating the Twilight Zone: a Canadian contends with a legal system that's ensnared her husband in China.

And, how to make something out of nothing.  The pros and cons of India's can-do work ethic.

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Credit and confidence  

Fonkoze client Mimose Clerjeau, 53, in front of her new home (photo/Amber Hildebrandt/CBC)

A year since the earthquake, Haiti is still looks like a war zone, and the political landscape seems just as unstable. But dig a little deeper and there is pride and progress. 

CBC Correspondent Connie Watson found a case in point; the story of some very determined women, and a small bank, just as determined to help them raise themselves out of poverty and chaos.

Listen to Connie's dispatch now

Click here for a photo gallery and feature article on Fonkoze .


Singing for South Sudan

A song called "South Sudan Hurray!" is going to be the national anthem of the world's newest country.

Rick describes how it came to be, and who's behind it.  

Listen to more on the anthem now


China's legal system: you are now entering the Twilight Zone

Next month is China's New Year. Year of the Rabbit. In the Chinese zodiac, the animal represents hope. And Karen Patterson needs all she can get.

She left Calgary to teach in China. Fell in love with Beijing artist, Wu Yuren. They got married and have a little girl.

But when her husband recently accompanied a friend who had  business at the local police station, he somehow wound up on trial for obstruction and assaulting a police officer.

And Karen Paterson finds herself enmeshed in a legal system she describes as "Kafka-esque."

Listen to Rick's conversation with Karen Patterson now

Karen Patterson is a Canadian photographer living in Beijing, awaiting the conclusion of the trial of her husband's, Chinese artist Wu Yuren, expected to be sometime next month. You can read more about his trial on Karen's blog .


Throw Anthony from the train

Here's a story in which our correspondent suffers a little aggro getting to Agra.

Listen to Anthony's View from Here now

The Great Indian Jugaad

A driver with his own "jugaad," the makeshift vehicle that inspired the Indian term for on-the-spot innovation (photo/Anandana Kapur)

In our last story, the CBC's Anthony Germain found himself caught up in the Indian spirit of on-the-spot enterprise and innovation.

Good or bad, in India, they have a word for that.  They call it "jugaad."  And it's all documented in a film called "The Great Indian Jugaad."

As one of the characters in the film puts it, "when you say the word shortcut, you mean India."  Another says, being a jugaadu, one who practises jugaad, is "very next to Einstein."

Naturally, Dispatches was intrigued by this cultural quirk. So we rang up the director, Anandana Kapur, in New Delhi.

Listen to Rick's interview with Anandana now


She chose fixing cars over fixing coffee  

Maryam Darwish (r), the UAE's only female Emirati car mechanic, with reporter Oussayma Canbarieh (photo/Oussayma Canbarieh)

Maryam Darwish is a dab hand with a wrench. Fixes engines. There are thousands of auto mechanics just like her all over North America.

But there's only one female Emirati mechanic in the whole United Arab Emirates.

Maryam Darwish is single-handedly dismantling a long-standing cultural barrier, as we hear from Dispatches contributor Oussayma Canbarieh, on the shop floor.

Listen to Oussayma's dispatch now

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally with technical producers Victor Johnston and Tim Lorimer, senior producer Alan Guettel, and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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