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This Week:

 A 70-year career in mountain climbing
 Teenage girls dedicated to help the homeless
 A culture thrives miles away from home
 A love language for the hard-of-hearing

A 70-year career in mountain climbing

Inderbinen
95-year-old mountain guide Ulirich Inderbinen leads people through the Alps  


The Swiss mountain village of Zermatt is one of the world's most famous ski and climbing centers. Nicknamed "The Mountain Mecca", it is nestled in a deep valley surrounded by nine of the 10 tallest European mountains. But what makes Zermatt unique is the view of the majestic pyramid of the Matterhorn, which was named after the small village.

For many years, the gracefully curved peak, 4,478 meters above sea level, was considered "unclimbable." All of the surrounding Alpine peaks had been conquered by the middle of the 19th century except the Matterhorn.

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This led to intense competition to climb the distinctive peak.

Unfortunately, the outcome of that competition was tragic.

The English climber Edward Whymper had made several unsuccessful attempts to ascend Matterhorn from the Italian side of the Alps, when, in 1865, he found out that the Rev. Charles Hudson was getting ready to attempt the peak from the village of Zermatt. Whymper hastily summoned a group of people to accompany him. The group included Lord Alfred Douglas, George Hadow, and the guides Michael Croz from Chamonix and Peter Taugwalder and his son from Zermatt.

On July 14, 1865, the Whymper group stepped on top of the Matterhorn. Their joy was indescribable.

It wasn't until they started the descent, when, just below the summit on the north face, Hadow slipped and pulled Hudson, Douglas and Croz along with him. The elder Taugwalder belayed the rope around a rock but it snapped and four out of the seven climbers fell thousands of feet down the north wall to their deaths. Three days later, Matterhorn was scaled from the Italian side by a party of men from the village of Valtournanche, led by the Italian guide Giovanni Carrel.

Ever since then, villagers from Zermatt have been guiding visitors who wish to conquer the unique Matterhorn. Among these guides, one man is considered to be the living legend of Zermatt. As CNN World Report contributor Swiss TV-SRI reports from Switzerland, the most famous mountain guide from the village, Ulrich Inderbinen, recently turned 100 years old and his birthday was celebrated by all the people of Zermatt.

Inderbinen was 21 when he climbed his first summit, Matterhorn. Since then, he has felt an inseparable connection with the majestic peak, which he considers the most beautiful mountain in the world.

He doesn't remember exactly how many times he has been on the Matterhorn, but he says it is probably about 350.

Inderbinen became a mountain guide when he was 25 years old, and led people through the Alps for 70 years, until he turned 95. He told TV-SRI that he never got bored with guiding tourists, unless they could not keep up.

Another Zermatt mountain guide, Hermann Biner, remembers Inderbinen as a great leader and a very special man:

"Not many years ago, Ulrich was about to lead a guest to the Matterhorn. He came in the overnight hut. He sat down opposite the guest. Ulrich spooned his soup. The guest spooned his soup. They looked at each other; all was quiet, no words were exchanged. The next morning, Ulrich and the guest set off. They were among the first to reach the summit. By the time they made it back to the hut, the guest was completely exhausted. He told Ulrich that he had led him with a rather brisk pace. Ulrich replied to him, "If you want to go slower next time, I suggest you hire an older guide."

Inderbinen proved he is a true adventurous soul when he took up ski racing when he was in his 80s.

And, as TV-SRI reports, years and age haven't crushed the mountain guide's spirit. At one hundred years old, he considers he has lived a full and happy life, and declares he is not afraid of dying. His ageless name will always be mentioned together with the love of his life -- the ageless Matterhorn.

Teenage girls dedicated to help the homeless

teens
Jamaican teen-agers carry boxes of donated goods  

A number of high school students are taking the time to assist the homeless and mentally ill on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica.

The Caribbean island country has made great strides in economic development since its independence in 1962. Furthermore, the national motto, "Out of many, one people," describes a multiracial society whose integration can be described as profound. It is perhaps this sense of integration that drove a few teen-age girls from Holy Childhood High School to start a program to help the needy in their city.

Carol Francis of Television Jamaica has filed a report on the positive message behind the food and clothing drive. In the last three years, the program has fed and clothed more than 2,000 of the homeless and mentally ill people on the streets of Kingston.

The students are between 10 and 17 years old. They collect clothing and dig in their pockets to fund the feeding program. Every month, they prepare food, pack it, and load it into school buses as they sing happy tunes. Then, they settle in for the drive to selected locations.

In their school uniforms on Saturdays, the girls climb into manmade waterways or gullies seeking out the needy. Now as the teen-agers get more attention at their school, they are using that to encourage peers to find time to help or donate to those in need.

For more stories on unique perspectives on news and features like this story, please watch CNN World Report.

A culture thrives miles away from home

culture
The Hakka arts festival helps to integrate Taiwan's many cultures  

Tables lined with delicious ethnic foods and backdrops of traditional artwork invite the viewer to this report by Formosa TV. It takes a closer look at the Hakka people who make up the second largest ethnic group in Taiwan as they navigate the bumpy road of assimilation into the mainstream culture.

The Taipei City Government, in an attempt to heighten the visibility of its Hakka people, was instrumental in organizing the Hakka arts festival for the second consecutive year.

Taiwan is one of the countries to which the early Hakka people migrated after being embroiled in bitter land feuds with their neighbors several centuries ago. Today, these industrious, clannish people can be found in other scattered regions from Singapore to Jamaica.

Among the highlights of the Hakka arts festival that lined the streets of Taipei was an interpretation of the first and only Hakka musical, "The Love Song of the Tea Mountain," shot in Taiwan and produced 30 years ago.

The Taipei City government was hopeful that everyone who attended the festival had a rich cultural experience. Organizers included special TV reports on Hakka culture, Hakka theater performances and exhibitions on the unique Hakka lifestyle.

The Hakka are a group of northern Chinese people who fled to South China to escape warfare and domination of Inner Asian tribesmen during the fall of the Southern Sung dynasty in the 1270s. They are believed to have initially lived in the Yellow River Valley.

The word "Hakka" is Cantonese meaning "guest people." After they settled in their own communities in southern China, the early Hakka never became fully integrated into the native population however much of their language is a combination of Mandarin and Cantonese.

The Hakka Arts Festival is an effort by the Taipei government to help in the integration of Taiwan's many cultures.

For more information on the Hakka people, please visit:

The Hakka People
TAIWANESE HAKKA
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Hakka

A love language for the hard-of-hearing

Hamood, left, greets Sheikha, right, with a gift
Hamood, left, greets Sheikha, right, with a gift  

A love language for the hard-of-hearing

There are countless ways to show and express love for another person. The most common and effective way is to simply say "I love you." But for the hard of hearing, uttering those three words is not an option.

In a report for the CNN World Report special for Valentine's Day, Zawan al-Said of Oman Television explained some of the methods the deaf use to express their love.

In the report, al-Said introduces us to a deaf couple, Hamood and Sheikha, who have three children and a fourth due in three months. Although the children are not deaf, they are fluent in sign language. They have learned to gently slap their parents as a way of calling them when they need their attention. They have also learned to answer the doorbell and telephone calls. But how do the couple themselves communicate when they are apart? Sheikha explains how Hamood carries an electronic pager, through which they use their own number-coded language. In this special language, the number 3 means "come back home," the number 2 means "I am going out," and number 33 means "Come back home. I miss you."

Hamood and Sheikha are more comfortable mixing and socializing with friends who are also hard of hearing. One of them is Hafedh, who is engaged to a young woman who declared her love to him seven years ago.

"I always tell her that she is like the blood in my veins, " Hafedh signals. "When she is around me, I feel alive."

After a day of hanging out with such loving couples, al-Said reflects, "Some might say that epitomizes direct honest love for more than words can ever say."



 
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