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tv   Global 3000  PBS  April 21, 2018 12:30am-1:01am PDT

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special football match. pursuing your passion -- we meet blind sports enthusiasts in egypt. in rural senegal, almost all decisions are still made by village elders -- mainly men. but the mitra clubs are changing that. first though, we head to israel, to the border with syria. who's treating the young casualties of war? will this war ever end? for nearly seven years, syria has been a stage for suffering and violence. not even children are spared the horrors of it all. over five million of them are now dependent on humanitarian
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aid. an entire generation is losing out on education -- many schools have been destroyed. last year was possibly the worst so far for syrian children -- 652 were killed, and that's just the official figure. hospitals are in ruins. a few injured children have found treatment in a neighboring country that's a traditional enemy. reporter: the syrian middleman is nervous. we aren't allowed to show his face -- that could endanger his life, and the lives of his entire family, in war-torn syria. the same goes for this group that's entering israel from syria through the border fence under the cover of night. 13 mothers and grandmothers, together with their children and grandchildren. the war has maimed them -- physically and psychologically. they're coming to israel for
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the military doctor responsible for it says that beyond the official positions of the two antagonistic countries, israel has a humanitarian obligation to help neighbors in desperate need. >> over there in syria, medical care is now non-existent. it was systematically destroyed, especially during the past months. that's why there aren't any hospitals there anymore. reporter: to get to the bus, they have to cross through a military zone, a so-called death strip. anyone who enters this area unauthorized will be met with gunfire. if we could show the faces of these women, their exhaustion and fear would be evident -- but also their determination to make this journey.
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the women remain silent throughout the trip -- the children, too. eventually the sun rises, after yet another sleepless night. after about an hour's drive, we reach the city of zafed. now, outside in the daylight, we can see some of the injuries. this child's face is covered with burns. his left eye is swollen -- obviously injured. inside the hospital, two contrasting worlds briefly intermingle -- israeli mothers on their way to the children's ward, syrian mothers seeking care for their children, wounded in war. the syrian women are quickly taken to a room of their own, and given breakfast. the tension in the air eases a bit when a clown comes to lighten the mood. the children respond with shy smiles, and astonishment at the simple magic tricks. finally, they begin to relax a little. the israelis tell us that syrian
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doctors in the divided country decide which children will receive treatment here. it's not clear how the injured are selected. >> we are in constant dialogue with the doctors and medical teams there. they send us a list of the names of people who will receive treatment. we've already cared for 800 syrian children this way. by the end of the year, we'll have treated 1000. reporter: the women trust this social worker, who speaks arabic. some tell their stories. >> we'd just finished eating when a tank shell hit our house. my nine-month-old baby was hit in the head and died on the spot. my oldest daughter lost a leg. my other daughter and her brother each lost an eye. reporter: the syrian mother is in israel for the second time. her first visit was to find a
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prosthesis for her daughter. now, her son's facial burns need care. but time is short, and the doctors can only treat the most urgent injuries. the deep emotional wounds the war victims have all sustained are less obvious. >> all who come here are deeply traumatized because their lives are in constant danger in syria. that's life during war. people gradually break. because of the constant fear of bombs, the uncertainty about what will happen next. and of course, the constant fear of death. reporter: and only the syrian victims know what it feels like to have to return to their devastated country in the evening, to leave the safety of the hospital. again, they travel in silence, again, under the safety of darkness. and so ends their single day -- free of war.
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host: violence is a huge problem in central america, too. for years, the region has been terrorized by the ruthless maras -- gangs involved in drug dealing, prostitution and protection rackets. the problem started a few thousand kilometers further north in the u.s. many central american gangs were first formed in the 1990's in cities like los angeles. two of the most feared are mara salvatrucha, and the 18th street gang, better known as barrio dieciocho. for years, the u.s. authorities have deported thousands of gangsters back to countries like el salvador, where they terrorize society. the government there has tried for years to get the violence under control by locking gang members up. but that hasn't proved much of a deterrent. and the gangs continue to recruit. reporter: at the start of the shift, the young volunteers in the salvation commando pray for a safe nights' work.
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a moment later, the first call comes in. the salvation commando is a volunteer rescue service that attracts young people who want to do good. the work also helps keep bryan and his friends from getting caught up in gang violence, like so many other young people in el salvador. bryan: it's a unique feeling, a very special and deep sense of satisfaction. it's hard to put into words, but helping others makes me happy. reporter: they've already been called out to two brutal attacks tonight. two rival gangs are warring, and el salvador is caught in the crossfire. the gangs will do anything to win over new recruits.
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eber: they've offered me money, weapons, women -- anything to get me to join. reporter: eber refused. he hopes the paramedic uniform will protect him. it's a risky decision. life in the gangs is deadly, but doing without their protection is dangerous, too. the police accompany us to one of the city's more dangerous neighborhoods. on a friday evening, it's only a matter of time until the first murder is called in. the two gangs -- mara salvatrucha and barrio dieciocho -- have divided up the city into rival territories. if a gang member sets foot into the wrong neighborhood, he usually pays with his life. even living in the wrong area can be deadly. the police are hunting for gang members, looking for clues on the suspects' hair and skin. one of the men has a tattoo -- the number 18. that's a clear sign he's a member of barrio dieciocho.
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>> it's a game of cat and mouse. but eventually we always get them, even if they run and hide. reporter: another call comes in. the first death of the evening is a young man, just 18 years old. gang members entered the restaurant, and shot him. it's a daily event in san salvador. at the same time, the volunteer medics are trying to save a life. a young woman and her child were hit by a car. but apart from offering comfort to the family, there's nothing they can do. we return to the station. one of the young volunteers, yensi, is sitting by herself. she tells us she's worried about her brother, who's a gang member. yensi: i love my brother and wish that he'd never chosen this
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life. reporter: so you're worried you might be working one day and -- yensi: and find my own brother? yes, that's happened to people. reporter: the next morning, the city seems busy, vibrant, routine. but in san salvador, the days are as dangerous as the nights. right in the center of the city, we're able to get an interview with a gang member. >> we say, you have to kill to survive. it's kill or be killed. reporter: these young members of barrio dieciocho flash the gang's hand signs. they live from extortion. once you join a gang, the only way to leave is in a coffin. membership offers power, respect, and fun. >> being a gangster, that's it. it's the coolest thing that can happen to you.
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>> it's in your blood, from when you're a child. the love you don't get from your family, you fi on the street, in the gang. it's the coolest thing that can happen to you. reporter: they swagger, drink, take drugs, and try to look cool. but when they get an order to kill, they do it, no questions asked. >> you don't feel anything, you just do the job. afterwards, you chill out with your friends, have a drink. you can't think about it. it's done. finished. reporter: time for a break. bryan is a skilled soccer player, but at 20, he has no job training. he moved out of his parents' home after an argument. young people like bryan are often lured by the gangs' promises of money and power -- but he isn't. bryan: they give you all of that, but then what? death, prison -- i don't want that. i'm fine the way things are now. reporter: sometimes the team is
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called out to dangerous situations, such as shootings. when they're caught between warring gangs, the volunteers often don't know whether they'll be greeted with guns, or allowed to help. eber has only been on the job for two months, and still isn't used to it. eber: in el salvador, not everything is bad. there are also people who want to help. sure, we don't make any money, but we want to help, with all our hearts. we want to help people. reporter: evening is approaching. the gang members are getting high. tonight, like every night, san salvador will not rest easy. and the young volunteers from the salvation commando will be our reporter thomas mandlmeier wanted to learn more about a
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development called dimitra clubs. these organizations give women and young people in rural areas a voice, by involving them in decision-making processes, which in turn provides an avenue for environmental activism. there are now dimitra clubs in six african countries. they were set up by the un's food and agriculture organization. we went to senegal to find out more. thomas: it's a big day for these young residents of sare boubou village. they're going on air for the first time at the community radio station in koussanar. they've been invited to take part in a chat show. everyone here speaks "pulaar" -- a regional language in eastern senegal. rou gui ba and her colleague are the leaders of the village discussion group, part of the dimitra network of clubs. konate deme speaks about the
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f rainy season and his the leaders of the village discdried-up corn fields. the rou gui ba, a mother of four, explains how the rain swept garbage into their homes, and how they had to clean everything in the village. she hopes that local radio stations will help spread their ideas and efforts to other villages. konate: our discussion groups have carried out a lot of important projects, most of them concerning climate change. what we're doing affects the whole community, but one person on their own can't solve the problems. these clubs have become a vital part of how we put our plans into effect, because we can mobilize and motivate so many residents. thomas: the leader of sare boubou village invited us to a meeting. they now have four dimitra clubs here. there are 2000 across africa --
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set up and funded by the un's food and agriculture organization and other development agencies. the clubs help to promote participation and initiative within village communities. rou gui ba encourages women to speak openly. it's still unusual for them to have a say on anything. today they're discussing a proposal from the young men to erect stone dams in order to stop soil erosion. the children always come along. it's good practice for when they're older. rou gui ba: we talk about everything that affects the village, with younger and older men equally. and even more importantly, we present our point of view at the village assembly, along with other dimitra clubs. our opinion is taken into consideration for decisions about the village community. that's the biggest change. before, we had no say at all on matters in the village.
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thomas: sare boubou has around 160 residents and is some distance away from the big cities. many of the crops are ready for harvesting. but once again, there wasn't enough rain, which means not enough corn. when it does rain, the water rushes over the barren soil. and deforestation makes the soil loose and easily washed away. that's the topic of discussion at this meeting, opened by the village leader. the opinions and suggestions of the four dimitra clubs are presented in turn. not all villages in the region are involved in the project. some village leaders are worried about their position, and prefer traditional structures where the oldest members have the say. but young men, like konate deme, have made a lot of progress.
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boubou: the environment has become an important issue in the village since the clubs started. we have to keep everything in and around our homes clean. without hygiene, there's no health. and as a community, we've made sure we keep our wells in better condition, otherwise we have no water during periods of drought. not for us, nor for the communal gardens. look, we've already found solutions to these issues. thomas: the next day they build small stone levees to retain the rainwater that flows through. the aim is to make the ground around the village fertile again. amdiatou diallo supervises the 60 plus dimitra clubs in the region. he managed to enlist the local farmers' association to help villagers build the system.
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amdiatou: nearly all the small channels that collect rainwater from the surroundings end up here -- it's like a delta. at this point the water has enough force to wash away the fertile soil from the cultivated land. thomas: old, used oil stops termites from eating the wooden constructions, so the dams last longer. it'll take them four or five days to prepare the trenches and fill them with stones. soon, they'll plant trees here to restore the areas around the village and make them farmable again. the leader of the dimitra project in senegal says that would be ideal. not all project villages manage to generate a profit from their
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communal garden. the two biggest challenges are getting local organizations to help, and sourcing materials. makhfousse: in the long term, there has to be a direct exchange of information between the village communities and the authorities, so they can also find out what's happening on the ground. that's also a challenge for the dimitra clubs -- making themselves known to authorities and pushing their ideas and plans, without us coordinators. thomas: bringing traditional village life into the modern world is also the vision of rapper negger dou tamba from the nearby provincial capital tambacounda. this rap is about the new ideas coming from dimitra clubs, and
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their service to the entire village community. for the young men and women from sare boubou, these discussion groups are a step towards independence and autonomy. host: independence and autonomy are what people with physical disabilities around the world want too, including the visually impaired. for many, sport -- from skateboarding to baseball -- is both a form of self-expression and a way of coping with limitations. we went to egypt to meet one man in particular who won't let his condition stop him enjoying his sport. reporter: ali ghandoor is delighted. the new balls have arrived, and they're even easier to hear than the old ones. ali: i played soccer while i could still see -- with a regular ball, of course, with no bells. later at school, after i'd gone blind, we put the ball in a
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plastic bag so that we could hear it. reporter: even then, locating a ball using only your ears is no easy feat. the players here are either completely blind or have severely impaired eyesight. those who do have limited vision are required to wear a blind-fold. but some cheat. the only people here who can see everything are the goalkeepers and the coach. after graduating in sports management, ali abul nasr worked as an agent, marketing professional egyptian soccer players to clubs in europe. but he wanted to do something more fulfilling. three years ago he and a friend set up the country's first team with blind players. the coach pays for the blind-folds, customized balls, and pitch rental from his own
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pocket. his search for a sponsor has not borne fruit so far. ali ghandoor went blind gradually. he compares it to puttinon weight. atirst you don't notice it, then suddenly you have a paunch. ali's blindness was triggered by an illness. by the age of 10, he had lost his eyesight completely. he copes pretty well with his disability. the only thing he can't do is cook -- something he was ner keen on anyway. his wife, who he'd met after he'd gone blind, is a huge help here and elsewhere. is there anything he misses seeing? ali: my wife and my kids, of course. it would be lovely to see my family, although i can picture them. wife tells me what my children look like -- what color their skin is, for example. something that you can imagine. reporter: ali's now on his way to work. he has a chauffeur -- something most people with disabilities in egypt can't afford.
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ali: there are no special provisions for blind people on the road. there are no specially-equipped cars or taxis or buses. when i'm waiting at the bus-stop, i don't know which bus is coming or where it's going. so i'm dependent on what other people tell me. reporter: ali teaches english at the helwan university in cairo. he's one of just five blind lecturers in the entire country. it's an achievement he had to fight very hard for. ali: the dean was at first reluctant to give me the job, despite me being the best in my graduating class. but then some other lecturers put pressure on him. they insisted they needed me, because i would be very good. israa: dr. ali takes a lot of interest in us. the other lecturers just give us instructions.
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and if we don't understand, they don't help us. but dr. ali knows us. whenever one of us speaks up, he recognizes us from our voices. reporter: before kick-off, it's time to check the ball. ali: playing soccer is a real challenge. we want to play like sighted people -- running, passing, and scoring. we want to feel like normal people, and not like we're somehow worth less than others. after a game, i feel as if nothing could stop me from achieving what i want.
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reporter: well, almost nothing. ali: it is not allowed. it should be counted as penalty. reporter: ali gandhoor doesn't get one this time. but to enjoy football, you have to put up with bad calls, and keep pressing ahead. host: that's all for today. don't forget, though, to send us your views. write to us at global3000@dw.com. and visit us on facebook, too. we're back next week. see you then. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: opportunity. prosperity. optimism.
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steves: while dedicating a month of your life to walk the camino may be admirable, it doesn't work for everyone. but any traveler can use this route as a sightseeing spine and as an opportunity to appreciate some of the joys and lessons
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that come with being a pilgrim. just 5 miles before the spanish border stands the french basque town of st. jean-pied-de-port. traditionally, santiago-bound pilgrims would gather here to cross the pyrenees and continue their march through spain. visitors to this popular town are a mix of tourists and pilgrims. at the camino office, pilgrims check in before their long journey to santiago. they pick up a kind of pilgrim's passport. they'll get it stamped at each stop to prove they walked the whole way and earned their compostela certificate. walking the entire 500-mile-long route takes about five weeks. that's about 15 miles a day, with an occasional day of rest. the route is well-marked with yellow arrows and scallop shells. the scallop shell is the symbol of both st. james and the camino. common on the galician coast, the shells were worn by medieval pilgrims as a badge of honor to prove they made it.
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the traditional gear has barely changed -- a gourd for drinking water, just the right walking stick, and a scallop shell dangling from each backpack. the slow pace and need for frequent rest breaks provide plenty of opportunity for reflection, religious and otherwise. for some, leaving behind a stone symbolizes unloading a personal burden. the first person to make this journey was st. james himself. after the death and resurrection of christ, the apostles traveled far and wide to spread the christian message. supposedly, st. james went on a missionary trip from the holy land all the way to this remote corner of northwest spain. according to legend, in the year 813, st. james' remains were discovered in the town that would soon bear his name. people began walking there to pay homage to his relics. after a 12th-century pope decreed that the pilgrimage
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could earn forgiveness for your sins, the popularity of the camino de santiago soared. the camino also served a political purpose. it's no coincidence that the discovery of st. james' remains happened when muslim moors controlled most of spain. the whole phenomenon of the camino helped fuel the european passion to retake spain and push the moors back into africa. but by about 1500, with the dawn of the renaissance and the reformation, interest in the camino died almost completely. then, in the 1960s, a handful of priests re-established the tradition. the route has since enjoyed a huge resurgence, with 100,000 pilgrims trekking the santiago each year.
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- [female voice over]: this program is made possible in part by the town of marion, home of the wayne henderson school of appalachian arts, celebrating 21 years as a certified virginia main street community. the historic general francis marion hotel and the speak easy restaurant and lounge, providing accommodations and casual fine dining. in downtown marion, virginia. the bank of marion. technology powered, service driven. wbrf 98.1 fm. and bryant label, a proud supporter of our region's musical heritage. ("cherokee shuffle" by gerald anderson) ♪

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