Jesus – the real thing?


I was at a Christian concert at the weekend,

and I was amused (disconcerted? disturbed? disgusted? impressed?

you can pick your own reaction.)

to note that the volunteers at the event

were wearing T-shirts with the name of Jesus

in the script of the Coca-Cola logo.

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Of course, you really want to know about the football


In case you haven’t been paying attention

Colombia beat Uruguay 2-0 in the 2nd round of the World Cup.


As it happened, I was in a car, being driven through the deserted city

for the last 20 minutes of the match. But there were still

street performers and vendors at the traffic lights,

a reminder that however happy and united Colombia’s football team

is making the country, its fundamental inequalities remain.


At the final whistle, the city exploded into life.

Some young men ran out to the street to bang huge pots and pans,

fireworks went off, grannies stood on street corners

waving huge Colombian flags, our driver tooted the horn

as we passed all the big screens showing the match;

I waved my flag out the window and everybody cheered back.


Bring on Brazil!

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A better day


So after Thursday’s battle,

Friday was a much smoother day

and by 6pm I had everything printed for next week’s camp,

thanks to four fantastic volunteers who folded, stapled

and wrapped up bundles of a little colouring book

which all the children who attend our clubs

will receive, showing them different ways

to protect themselves from sexual abuse.


A very satisfying end to the week.

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How it went


OK, so yesterday was meant to be the big day,

printing at least half of the materials we need for the camps

we will be holding over the next few weeks,

but I got an idea about how the day was going to turn out

when I discovered that I’d mislaid the key to the room where we keep the printer.

Half an hour and five people later, I was able to find a spare one.


Things staggered along all morning, my two lovely volunteers

doing their valiant best to keep everything moving forward,

and finally ground to a halt at about 2pm when the toner run out.


So we’ll try it all again today.

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My day


So today is a big printing day, getting materials ready

for our camps, the first of which starts a week tomorrow.


We’ve been working on materials to promote

the prevention of child sexual abuse.


Over the next few months, about 1200 children will get some training

on how to recognise situations of risk

and things they can do to keep themselves safe.


But I think if just one child is saved from a situation of abuse

as a consequence of what I do today, I can go to bed happy.

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Watching the football


Ah, the great social occasion that is watching the football in Colombia.

The streets are empty. Families and friends gather.

Children, wildly excited but too small to sit for 10 seconds at a time

to watch a football match, dash to and fro.


We watch the match with great intensity.

Some of those present leap to their feet at moments of tension

and when Colombia scores we all leap up.


We worked out that someone near by had a TV signal

that was seconds ahead of us and we could tell by the noise they made

when Colombia had scored.

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A one-sided conversation in a taxi


A routine taxi-ride to the cinema

(to see How to Train your Dragon 2).


The taxi driver starts telling me something

and I can’t understand a word he is saying.


But that doesn’t stop me nodding and saying “uhuh”

and generally keeping my end of the conversation up.


Half way through I had a guilty thought

that I should be asking the taxi driver

to repeat himself, paying him the courtesy

of really trying to understand what he was saying.


But I didn’t.

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Some misplaced ire


The taxi driver spotted a Range Rover Evoque in front of us and said:

Look at that car! It’s hideous.

Look at the back. Disgusting!

And it comes like that. Imagine.

So, so ugly.


It does have a very small rear window, was all I could

manage to contribute to this random conversation.

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Inspired marketing?


Coming out of the metro the other day, someone handed me a flyer.

It said Tu piensas que aprender inglés es peace of cake?

(Do you think that learning English is peace of cake?)


Underneath it said in Spanish:

Did you translate it? You don’t know English.

We us you will learn. In only 9 months.

Learn English…practising NOT studying.


I went back to the person who had given me the flyer,

who turned out to be the owner of the language school

and pointed out the mistake.


That’s the point, she said.


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I bought a Colombian football shirt


I hummed and hawed about the colour (home: yellow, away: red),

the style: (long sleeves or short), the quality

(believe it or not, the replicas come at different level of quality)

before settling on a short sleeved, yellow shirt


Very good, the vendor said. That’s the best quality after the original.

And because you are one of my customers, I’ll give you a discount.


Now, I am sure I have never bought anything from him

and perhaps he saw the doubt in my face because he added:

Well, I once sold something to someone who looked like you, a foreigner with light eyes.

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