Please, if you have the time, listen to the following story. You can do it as a family activity. You can put it on as you're going to bed (which is what I did last night). You can listen to it at work if you have that sort of job. It is so worth listening to because it's quite possibly the most fascinating story I have heard in years.
If you're unfamiliar with This American Life, let me tell you what I know about it. It's a public radio program in Chicago that airs once a week, I think. Then, they put their broadcasts online the week after they air. I usually go through the archives looking for episodes where David Sedaris has read one of his essays (if you've only read him in print, you're missing out on half the show). Lately, I've been having a hard time getting to sleep at night, so I've been choosing shows from their "Favorite Shows" section to listen to as I go to sleep.
This is a story about a ten-year-old girl named Sara York who was pen pals with Manuel Noriega, "a man who was considered an enemy of the United States, a dictator, a drug trafficker, and a murderer." No, but seriously. It happened in the 80s when he was dictator of Panama. She wrote him a letter because her family saw him on TV and her dad liked his hat and thought that if a ten-year-old girl wrote him and asked him for a hat like his, he'd send it to her. So she wrote him. And he wrote back, asking her to tell him about herself and about her city in northern Michigan. So they kept on corresponding! The host, Ira Glass, compares this to carrying on a pen-pal relationship with Saddam Hussein.
Anyway. Like I said: If you have the time, it's worth listening to.