Now I know…


whose job it is to check that the people who live on the street haven’t died in the night.

Yesterday from the bus I saw a young policeman gently kick the ankle of a man

sleeping under a bridge in the centre of town

(a kind of wake-up call for the poor).

The man wearily raised his head.

He had survived the night and was alive to struggle on another day.

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Tragic Colombia (2)


On my way to work, I often listen to a Bible meditation on my iPod.

Yesterday, the passage was Isaiah 2 verses 1 to 5.


The words took on a particular poignancy

as they competed with the discussion on the bus radio,

about how much the government and the army were to blame

for the death of the four hostages at the hands of the FARC:


They will beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

(or against their own fellow-citizens)

nor will they train for war anymore.

Isaiah 2 v 4b

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Tales from the Coast (3)


A teacher told me this story:

She caught a 13-year-old girl texting in class

so confiscated the mobile phone.

I’ll spare you the lewd message she found on it.

But her reaction was revealing.


She said, We have all sorts of children from all sorts of backgrounds,

and I was scared that her father might be in an armed group

and that he might come after me.

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Tales from the Coast (2)


I got a real kick from seeing materials that we worked on in the office in Medellín

being used by the children’s club’s leaders in a church on the Coast.

And I smiled to hear a little boy retelling the story of Samuel like this:

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Samuel,

and there was another little boy called Eli.

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Regional anthems


Last night, the graduation ceremony in the Seminary I used to work in,

opened with the singing of the Colombian national anthem (which I know),

as well as the anthem of Antioquia, the region in which the Seminary is located (which I don’t).


As far as I know, every region in Colombia has its own anthem.


One of the funniest moments on this June’s trip to El Salado,

was an informal competition to see which region

could sing its anthem the loudest.

There were only five or six regions represented

(out of a possible 32)

but they still made quite a din.

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You may have discovered that this site was unavailable yesterday.

Sorry and thank you for trying again today.

The reason was that most modern and ubiquitous excuses for a technological malady,

(a bit like a virus in medicine)

the server was down.

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Tales from the Coast (1)


I was told this story on my recent trip:


A pastor in a rural area was murdered recently.

On investigation it seems that this crime was connected

to the murder of two youths a short time before.


The pastor lent his mobile phone to the mother of one of them,

so that she could phone the police.

He seems to have paid for that simple act of neighbourliness with his life.

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