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They'll bring you the world: the next generation

Our program for the August 6 holiday on Radio One highlights some of the young Canadian freelance reporters we heard during the past Dispatches season -- our final one on CBC Radio.

They take us on a walk around Change Square in Yemen and breathe the dust and stench around a surprising real-estate boom in a Mumbai slum.

Our China contributor endures the sting of Dr. Wang's miracle healing bees.

We hear how Colombians make deals with the no-name dead -- victims of violence floating down their largest river. 

And below, on this page -- a whole lot more stories from afar..


Our correspondent gets a nasty reception in the one country that mourned Muammar Ghadaffi.  

Listen to the program now (left click)

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Mourning a dictator in the mosque that Moammar built

Rokupa's Freetown Central Mosque (aka Gadhafi Mosque) (photo: Ambrose Boani.)

If Moammar Gadhafi still had friends in Libya, they're keeping their mouths shut when he was overthrown and killed.. 
Not so in distant Sierra Leone, where they held all-night vigils at a mosque he constructed in the capital; one of the many he funded in various African states in a bid to become "Emperor of Africa."

Ghadafi also funded rebels Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh, who unleashed civil war and the blood diamond trade on the west African state in the Nineties. 

But his largesse since then seems to have erased the bad memories,  and it makes folks mad when Canadian journalist Damon van der Linde comes to visit.

Damon's dispatch 


Children dance at the main stage in Change Square, Sanaa, Yemen - the primary venue for Yemen's protest movement. Protests continue despite a new president, hand-picked by his predecessor. (Photo: Samuel Aranda)

Plus ├ža change, in Change Square

Meanwhile In Yemen,  Reporter Lindsay Mackenzie  watched Arab Spring become an all-season affair this year -- after protestors ousted President Ali Abdullah Salah, only to see him hand power to his deputy. 

Advocates for democracy peacefully occupyed the streets around Change Square for months, biding their time with gardens and foosball and  -- and relentless demands for democracy.

Here's one of the scenes she captured from the Square:

Lindsay's foosball game

And here's her full March 1 View from Change Square in Sanaa, where despite the new president, demands for democracy continue.

Lindsay's View from Change Square


Mumbai slum dwellers go for the green

An aerial view of the Dharavi section of Mumbai, often described as India's largest slum. The area is experiencing a surprising boom in real estate prices (photo: Reuters) 

Edward Birnbaum is an urban planner by trade.  One of his dispatches from India featured the huge slum in the middle of Mumbai.  A messy place that doesn't have much going for it except location, location, location.

Which seems a contradiction. But developers are eyeballing the land.  It's already pricey, and would be worth even more if the residents would just sell up.

Instead, many are playing it cagey, and renovating by stealth, hoping to cash in if and when it goes to market.

Edward met some of the players.  

 Edward's documentary

Other dispatches from Edward are below

Worker bees: Bees are traditional health workers in China, stinging to help cure what ails you. (Photo: Danielle Nerman)

Bee-sting therapy: no gain without pain

In China -- our correspondent took the sting out of Dr. Wang's miracle bees in a painful test of traditional medicine.


And while the bee therapy did cure the sinus problem, after the treatment Danielle developed a huge swelling in her neck on the side where she got the full sting.  It took a week to go away

The March 15 Dispatches program


Following these pieces from the August 6 program are many more reports from young Canadians abroad -- including Danielle's beautifully told tale of some lost and found photographs and a romanitic reunion. That's one we called Visions Of Joanna. 

Also: reports from Congo and Uganda by Dennis Porter, Seraja Coelho's features from Europe, Lori Chodos in Peru,  Myles Estey in Mexico, Susanna Ferreira with the former soldiers searching for a payday in Haiti -- and many more.


No-Name dead enrich lives of the living

Hernan Montoya is the town mystic in Colombia's Puerto Berrio. He conducts ceremonies for souls in purgatory, particularly those who are among the "no name dead"  Photo/Nadja Drost

In Colombia, the Magdelena River snakes the length of a country long caught in the coils of drug and political violence.

And the river has become a conveyer of the dead.  A place to dump the bodies.  

In downstream cities like Puerto Berrio, it's given rise to a kind of  obsession with the dead, where strangers claim and name the floating remains. 

But what began as compassion, has turned into a competition. Canadian journalist Nadja Drost found the living have come to expect favours from the dead.

Hear Nadja's documentary 

Listener response, in Your Dispatches

Nadja Drost is a Canadian print and broadcast journalist covering Colombia for "GlobalPost," an online international news site. This was her first contribution to Dispatches.


Below, a selection from many other Dispatches reports from young Canadian reporters living and travelling abroad.


The website In2EastAfrica featured the wedding of Education Minister Jessica Alupo and news that her groom paid her family a "bride price" of more than $20,000. Those pushing for reform of marriage laws in Uganda say the payments make men feel entitled to abuse their wives. (Screenshot: In2EastAfrica.net)



Uganda's marriage trap

In Uganda, women's rights are decided by men. Especially when it comes to marriage.

The rules seem crafted to stifle a woman's wishes at virtually every turn. Parliament wants to change all that, but is catching flak from all sides.

Even from women, in a country where their wedding terms of endearment are counted in cattle. Dispatches contributor Dennis Porter picks up our story with a couple preparing for their big day.

Listen to Dennis' documentary 




Chinese poet and dissident Liao Yiwu was forced into exile for his critcism of the Chinese state. Photo/AP

Compelled to write, forced to flee China

China once again leaned on noted dissident Ai Weiwei in an effort to shut him up.

He's been accused of tax evasion and ordered to pay millions, but defied a gag order and went public with the story. 

He remains in his Beijing home, but other dissidents are not so lucky.

For them, exile is the only answer as China moves to silence dissenters who might be getting ideas from the Arab Spring. 

Correspondent Saroja Coelho has the story of Liao Yiwu, who used to be bound by shackles to fellow victims of state repression.

Having fled the threat of yet another prison term in China, he is today a celebrity in Germany, where he now feels bound to tell the stories of the downtrodden. 

Saroja's documentary

Our thanks to the Digital Archive for Chinese Studies at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands for the original recording of Liao Yiwu's poem, Massacre.


A tarp baring the insignia of Guatemala City's "volunteers" covers a drug-trade murder victim. Photo/Myles Estey

Gruesome Guatemala

While covering the war in El Salvador back in the 80s, Rick remembers well bumping into a Canadian diplomat visiting the capital from his post in neighbouring Guatemala.

The city of El Salvador was under seige at the time.

The nights were a flickering horror show of screams and gunfire and phosphorous flares strobing wildly in the night sky. By day, there were running battles and bodies in the street.

So Rick asked, "why on earth would you choose to visit...this...when you could be in Guatemala City?"

He's never forgotten the answer.

"It's safer here" he said, kidding only a little. In his view, a war zone was safer than the Guatemalan capital. But if it was true then, it's unfortunately still true all these years later.

Drug-driven street violence is so bad, they have thousands of volunteers  driving around each night just tending to the carnage, and Canadian journalist Myles Estey is with them to witness it. 

Listen to Myles' dispatch


Hawa Jundi in a temporary camp where she sheltered after her village of Sally was bombed from the air. Photo/Jared Ferrie

       Blue Nile bombers

Bosco Ntaganda's not the only person wanted for war crimes that's enjoyhing a free pass these days.

Malawi this week refused to honor its obligation to arrest a visiting president, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who's accused of genocide in Darfur. 

In Malawi, a spokesman said it was a matter of "brotherly co-existence."

Now, as it did in Darfur, Sudan started an aerial bombing campaign against rebels in its southern border area.

President al-Bashir denies his government is bombarding the Blue Nile State. But Dispatches contributor Jared Ferrie hears different on the ground... 

Jared's dispatch

Members of Haiti's rogue military parade through the streets on March 29th, the country's Constitution Day. (Photo: Susanna Ferreira)

Haiti's rogue paramilitaries

The political process in Haiti has lurched back to life in an effort to cap a restless challenge to its authority.

It's promising back pay and pensions to ex-soldiers who were demobilized in the 90s without any. It's either that, it seems, or they might start signing up to a nascent but sinister-sounding paramilitary movement that's beginning to flex some muscle.

It's not clear where its loyalities lie, or if they're just up for rent.

In the meantime, Dispatches contributor Susanna Ferreira is with the former soldiers searching for a payday.

Listen to Susana's documentary

People in Instanbul enjoy the newly-revived Baklahorani Carnival. What was once a pagan Christian rite, has morphed into one of the few celebrations of Turkey's multi-cultural past and present. Dominant Turkish nationalism has made its organizers tread with caution. (Photo/Meghan MacIver)

Dancing to the tune of reconciliation

With a history of conflict dating back more than 600 years, Greeks and Turks are not often found at the same party. As recently as the 90s, they sent warships into the Aegean in a sovereignty dispute over a tiny rump of rock cherished only by goats. And don't even get them started on Cyprus.

But now it seems, times are changing, ever so slightly.

Canadian journalist Meghan MacIver has found some Greeks and Turks dancing to the same tune at an unusual, and very historic party in Istanbul.

Listen to Meghan's dispatch


Resort push could shake Sri Lanka's new peace

Fishermen need the beach for their traditional method of stringing and bringing in nets from the shore rather than from boats. New resorts would displace them. Photo/Yasmeen Qureshi

The south Asian island of Sri Lanka is in a hurry to overcome its wartime past.

Just two years since the end of a long military confrontation, it plans to bung 17 resorts along one stretch of sandy shoreline.

But with developers pre-occupied with building a better beachfront, there's growing concern among those still fishing off it.

And the situation has echoes of the conflict only recently ended as we hear from Canadian journalist Yasmeen Qureshi, on the beach. 

Listen to her dispatch

Produced with Lily Jamali in Sri Lanka.

Thanks to the CBC's Flavia Missier and Jeevan Pragasam for voicing the English translations in that report. 

A view of Sara Gomez' apartment building (Left) in Mexico City. Inside, every wall seems slanted, the floors uneven. It's a victim of the widespread sinking of the city, due to the unstable earth below. (Photo/Myles Estey)

Mexico City: a sinking metropolis, on a swamp

Italy's famous leaning tower of Pisa tilts an alarming four metres off-centre. That's a list of about four degrees. More than enough to get your attention.

But in Mexico City, that kind of architectural abberation wouldn't rate a mention.  

Because it's so commonplace.

If a house in the Mexican capital has a level surface, well, it's only a matter of time as we hear from Canadian journalist Myles Estey, in a home that would defeat even Holmes.  

Myles' documentary

Inna Shevchenko (R) and Sasha (L) are the most prominent members of FEMEN, which uses female sexuality, including nudity, to demand women's rights in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe.   (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich) 

Feminism laid bare in Ukraine

Well, the spark that ignited the Orange Revolution in Ukraine just a few years ago is more like a damp squib. Seems the days of political protest are mostly over.

Except for a small and controversial group trying to revive them in the name of women's rights. Controversial, because they use their sexuality to gain attention.

They went topless at KGB headquarters. And the Vatican. This week one of them peeled off and grabbed the Euro 2012 soccer trophy. Anything to advance the cause. They put their half-naked bodies on the line, occasionally with brutal result.

But Dispatches contributor Saroja Coelho says some wonder just what their cause is, and went to see whether their tactics help or hurt it.

Listen to Saroja's dispatch


The picture that triggered a magnificent obsession

The introductions to our stories usually tip you to the key components of what's coming up but this one's going to be a little different, because this one's a yarn, as we used to say in St. John's. 

A story that zigs and zags and asks you to lie back and enjoy a banquet of images crafted by a gifted storyteller.

All you need to know is it takes place in China, and involves two people who've never met. And yet they're about to have a reunion, all of it, set in motion by chance, and a picture.

Danielle Nerman's Visions Of Joanna


Tibetan exiles dressed as Chinese soldiers enact the killing of a Tibetan student during a protest in Dharamsala, India, in January. Tibetans are debating the best way to protest Chinese rule, and whether self-immolation is justified. (Photo: AP/Angus McDonald)

The debate over suicide by fire in Tibet protests
Tibet's New Year is normally cause for celebration, but not this year.  

A rash of suicides and protests among Tibetan Buddhists prompted the Dalai Lama to call for prayers and not parties last week.

Tibetans continue to bristle under Chinese rule, which began in 1950 when Beijing sent troops into the independent state. The anger often turns violent.

But Tibet's plight has gained new urgency lately as a growing number of monks and nuns set themselves on fire to draw attention to it.

The use of suicide is causing division in Buddhist ranks.  But Canadian journalist Edward Birnbaum watched a vivid demonstation of the reasons for in neighbouring India. 

Edward's documentary



People near Lukanga, DRC dig a trench that will divert water to provide electricity to their village.  It was all planned and built without government help.  Photo/Dennis Porter

Congo: the DIY State

If you want something done in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you've pretty much have to do it yourself.

It has some of the trappings of a state, but public services aren't one of them.

There are towns where you can't call a cop because the station has no phone.

Congo's holding elections at the end of this month.  But after three decades of a dictatorship that taught looting by example, followed by a lingering civil war, its 70-million citizens aren't expecting much change from the top down.

No, in Congo change has to come from the ground up, as we hear from Canadian journalist Dennis Porter at the outdoor grocery store.

Dennis' documentary  

A lesson in insecurity

The Romans called it "Arabia Felix".  Happy Arabia.

But Yemen, as it's known today, is anything but. Buffeted by rebellion and its own Arab Spring, political instability is on vivid display now that miltants have seized an entire province and sent its residents packing.

Today many live with the legacy of unrest that's driven them from their homes to refuge in distant schools where Canadian journalist Lindsay Mackenzie says the only lessons they learn, are the hard ones.

Listen to Lindsay's documentary


David Rocha finds wood for his instruments in vacant lots like this one in Villa Nova. (Photo: Lisa Hale)

From trash to musical treasure in Brazil

A story now, about making the best of what you've got. You know the old adage about life givng you lemons, so make lemonade. As Lisa Hale reports from Brazil, life gave David Rocha garbage. You won't believe what he makes of it.

Listen to Lisa's documentary







Peru's Bomberitos to the rescue

Bomberito means "little fireman" in Spanish and 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 them support their families.   They often help out when there are fires and natural disasters as well. 


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)


More on the film about the Bomberitos, The Little Firemen

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

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