Another experience on a bus


On the same bus route as before,

a man gets on to ask for money

for medicine for his sick child.

His pitch is slightly different:

he argues that it’s better to beg than to steal,

that nobody got poor giving away a coin,

and that any small act of kindness

will be rewarded by God.


Then he sings a Christian chorus

in a tuneful, unembarrassed way.


Would you have given him something?

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It’s a bit of a stretch to say that I see life

as rummaging through rubbish for treasure

(see yesterday’s post below)

but sometimes it feels a bit like that.


And the frantic rush of the recycler

made me think that one day

the searching will be over,

and all that will matter

is having found

the greatest treasure of all.

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The dustbin lorry of life


Yesterday was bin day, as we would call it in Scotland,

(the day the garbage is removed)

and the recyclers were busy rummaging through the rubbish

as I walked down the hill at 7 in the morning.


In one place, the bin lorry (garbage truck)

had just arrived, and it was clear

the recycler had not finished his work.


Frantically he tried to open the bags in the remaining bins

to see what he could salvage,

but it was too late. The rubbish had to be collected

and he had missed his chance.

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When the conflict breaks in


Last week I was at a wedding,

chatting to a pastor over our supper,

when he got up to take a call on his mobile phone.


A while later he returned, concern on his face.

He told us that there had been a displacement of people

by an armed group (not the guerrilla)

in an area about 120 kilometres away from where we were.


We all looked equally concerned,

then returned to our meal.

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Another stressful bus ride today.

The bus was so full that I got jammed in the door.

I literally couldn’t squeeze past all the people

wedged on the bus, to get off.


A kind gentleman, who had got off to let me off,

gave me his arm, and I finally popped out.


This is like being born, I gasped, melodramatically.

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The Cost of Cartagena


If you read news of this scandal,

(US Secret Service agents in Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas

in a row with Colombian prostitutes over money)

did it make you think worse of the US or Colombia? Or both?

And anyway, should an entire nation ever be judged on the behaviour

of a tiny handful of its citizens?


My flatmate, a Colombian, used her blog to reflect on the hypocrisy of it all,

and called for some serious personal soul-searching.

If you know Spanish, you can read her article here.

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The scene: one of our pilot clubs.

We have asked the children to draw a picture

of what they like best about the club.

(Answer: playing).


The children are busy with their drawings,

and I am chatting to my colleague when this happens:


Child: Miss, miss, Diana is singing a wordly song.


*Clipe – a Scots word meaning to tell or snitch on someone.

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I am back in Medellín

after 3 intense days on the Coast

and 18 hours on air-conditioned buses.


Air-conditioned=freezing cold.


I need long socks.

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I am about to set off on my 10th trip to the Coast!

With my three Colombian colleagues, I will be visiting

another of our pilot children’s clubs.


I should be home early next week, all being well.

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Update on Demo the donkey


The story is that there were four rings of security

around President Obama,

and Demo’s owners didn’t get past the first.

So they gave her to a local man who had won

an Obama look-a-like competition.

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