Always something to see

Well, that’s me safely back from my trip to Urabá.

One of the great things about these trips to the Coast is that they give me loads of ideas for this blog!

Just looking out of the window of the bus is entertaining.

As we sped through a small town I caught a glimpse of a woman sitting on a chair holding a baby on her lap with one hand and while cutting the grass beside her with a machete!

How’s that for female multitasking!?

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Church and state

Here’s a photo taken last Sunday of a religious procession that I stumbled across on my way to church:20150614_111915

What’s interesting to me is the participation of a military (or maybe police) band in a country where constitutionally the church and state are meant to be separate.

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On the road again

Today I am heading off to a new – to me – part of Colombia: Urabá. It’s the part of Antioquia (the region I live in) that reaches up to the sea. It’s fertile, hot and historically, deeply affected by the armed conflict. Many people in my church in Medellín are from this area and I am looking forward to getting to know it.

I’ll be giving talks on healthy relationships at a youth event organised by the Presbyterian church in that area.

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Why I write

One time when I was living in Germany, I got sick and had some days at home and I remember reading two books, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. I can’t remember very much about the plots of either novel but I remember how they made me feel.

How wonderful, I remember thinking as I finished the two books, to be able to move people with words as I have been moved, to make them laugh and cry and sigh, to create an emotional response in them.

Thank you to everybody who has bought Rainbow Weather and particularly to those of you who have written to say you liked it. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to know that even in a small way, my words moved you.

Now, I need you to help me to sell more “copies”. If you liked it, you could write a little review on the platform where you bought it or give it a rating. Or you could recommend it to 5 of your friends. Or suggest it to your Book Club…

Remember, Rainbow Weather is now available to buy on, and Kobo.

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Update on Paloma and the snake

You’ll be pleased to hear that Paloma has now been thoroughly checked over by our friendly technician, Don Mauricio, and there isn’t a snake living inside her!

In fact, the eggs were thought to have been laid by a gecko.

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What is truth?

I looked for more information on the 13-year-old lad murdered last week and found a story online that must surely be based on the same incident I saw reported on the television news but with a different twist.

Online, the story was of a gang war and the 13-year-old – a model student and athlete – picked out and murdered in a case of mistaken identity.

As is so often the case in Colombia, it’s very hard if not impossible to get to the facts.

So I don’t know if he died heroically resisting pressure to join a gang or unwittingly took the place of someone else, deemed to be an enemy by a rival gang.

Either way, he shouldn’t have died.

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Hero of the resistance

Yesterday’s news included the story of a thirteen-year-old boy in Medellín, murdered because he wouldn’t join the local gang. He was being pressurized by gang members to get involved with their activities when he tried to run away and was shot as he ran. Local people tried to give him first aid but he died later in hospital.

He wasn’t named, possibly to keep his family safe.

I thought about him all day. He will never be famous. He will never have a statue erected in his memory or have a school named after him. He will live on only in the memory of a few people who knew him.

But he died resisting evil, and is a hero, nonetheless.

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Since the beginning of the year my flatmate and I have been trying to pray together for a few minutes every evening. We started praying for Venezuela but now we pray for all sorts of things – sick babies, our hopes and dreams, the Colombian peace process…any need that comes along.

My birthday was over 6 weeks ago and last Sunday I said, “Would it be very selfish to pray that my birthday parcels would start to arrive?”

“Not at all,” my flatmate said. “You’re thinking of the people who sent you your parcels, too.”

On Tuesday I was just about to leave the office when my flatmate got in touch to say “You’ve got a parcel.”

And so I did – a great big box, all the way from Germany with lots of goodies and the greatest present ever – a cushion with the German and Colombian flags, made by my German god-daughter.

There are still one or two more presents to come, though.

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Something is living in our photocopier!

Our photocopier (whom we call Paloma) was running slow all day and finally the orange warning light came on and I opened the front cover and took out the toner unit and there, in a little slot were two little round white balls that looked as if they were made of polystyrene.

But when my colleague dropped one on the floor by mistake, it broke, and we realized they were actually eggs.

Now I don’t want to use the photocopier anymore because I imagine a snake coiled somewhere in the works.

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