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August 09, 2007


A baseball game in Cambodia
Joe Cook

Bringing Baseball To Cambodia

Bringing Baseball To Cambodia

In Cambodia, a U.N.-backed tribunal has charged Kang Kek Ieu, alias Duch, with crimes against humanity. It's the first time a high-ranking official has been held responsible for atrocities committed during Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime.

Joe Cook was in Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge. His father was a high-ranking military official, and one of many who died in the violence. Joe survived the killing fields and eventually made it to the U.S., where he settled with his family in Chattanooga, Tenn.

It was there that Joe first saw kids playing baseball. He was about 12, and he spoke no English. He joined a little league team, and was never a great player - but he fell in love with the game.

Today, Joe works as a chef in Alabama, but he has maintained his connection with Cambodia - oddly enough through baseball. Joe talks with guest host Aaron Henkin about how and why he came to establish baseball leagues in a country with no tradition of the game. Joe is currently at work preparing players on the Cambodian National Team for their first international tournament in December.

 Editor's Note: Since this story aired, an ESPN investigative story has raised questions about Joe Cook and his organization.


Pen Pals for Life

When she was in 7th grade, Tirzah Peterson was assigned a pen pal in Italy. Elena Ferrario received Tirzah's first letter and wrote back - and the correspondence never stopped. When the two girls got older, they wrote to each other about boyfriends and the stresses of adolescence. They met for the first time when Elena came to the U.S. to meet Tirzah's daughter. Tirzah then went to Milan and met Elena's family. Tirzah and Elena talk to Aaron about what has kept their correspondence going for more than 20 years - and their delight that Tirzah's daughter and Elena's nephew are now pen pals.

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