Cute baby clothes

I had this idea for designs for baby clothes based on simple rhymes and my wonderful colleague Johan Márquez made them happen.

You can buy them over on my zazzle page – click here for the UK and here for the rest of the world. I think you would be in time for Christmas if you bought in the next couple of days.

Here’s my favourite design:

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Really good news

The homicide rate in Medellin has fallen dramatically over the last few years.

The first year I lived here (2008) murder rates in Medellín were climbing again after 20 years of progress from the war-zone levels of the early nineties (6349 homicides in 1991). In 2010 there were 2019 murders, and this year, with three weeks to go, there have been “only” 456.

Of course, there is a dark side. This reduction may be in part to a treaty between two of the big gangs that control the crime in the city in which they agreed not to kill each other.

But in a way, who cares? These figures means there are several thousand young men walking around who might otherwise not be, and even if they are selling drugs and extorting money at least they have the chance to change.

Pray that they will.

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I love this!

They wanted to bury us but they didn’t know that we were seeds of life.

More street art, this time in Rio Negro, Antioquia, Colombia.

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Treasure Trove

Did you catch this news story from Colombia? For once, it has nothing to do with its current conflict but rather with an older one.

A wrecked ship, fabulously laden with treasure, has been found off the Coast of Colombia.

It was the British that sunk it.

But I’m not apologizing.

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Back in Peru

I got the chance to spend 10 days back in Peru in November.

I had a great time but I caught a little third-culture-kid-itis, again.

Here’s what I wrote the first day I was in Lima, the city where I was born, but which I hardly know:

I’m in Lima. I’m in the place where I was born. I’m from here, and yet so patently not. The last time I returned, two years ago, I sobbed as the plane landed, but this time I just feel a calm satisfaction as I hand my [Peruvian] passport to official.

“Returning, or do you live abroad?”he asks.

“I live in in Colombia,” I say.

“Welcome,” he says and I am in, as a citizen.

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Rainbow Weather

Thank you to everyone who has bought my book this year. It’s all been great fun – getting it published and sold, and getting positive feedback.

When I launched it on 1st April, I had two goals in mind, one for a certain number of sales in the first week and one for the sales by the end of the year. I made the first goal easily and with a month to go I am within sight of the second.

In fact all I need to happen for me to reach my goal for the year is for HALF the people who bought it to buy it for a friend or recommend it so enthusiastically that someone else buys it.

Remember you can get it on Amazon (UK), Amazon (Worldwide), Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

Go on, make my year!

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89-year old graduate

Here’s a great story from Medellín: an 89-year old man has just graduated from secondary school.

Gildardo de Jesús Jaramillo, the father of seven children who are all university graduates, reached 9th grade (of 11) as a youngster, and was able to get by his whole life with that, but decided at the beginning of the year that he wanted to complete his secondary education.

“I thought I might be discriminated against for being old,” he said, “But it has all been very pleasant.”

Now his thoughts are turning to whether he can continue his studies.

“I’d like to study law,” he says, laughing, “because I like litigation and fighting a little.”

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Journey home

It’s getting harder and harder to get home any time after about 5pm.

Yesterday, the taxi driver asked me where I was going and reluctantly let me get in and only then realized that he had mixed my hill with another less congested one but by that time I was in the taxi and i wasn’t going anywhere.

“Look at that,” he grumbled, as we passed the gridlocked traffic on the way down the hill.

“How about you let me off at the filling station and you can keep going up rather than getting stuck coming down?” I (most magnanimously) offered. “I don’t live very far up the hill, it’s quite easy for me to walk.”

“OK, then,” he agreed.

But then I realized he was turning up my hill.

“So you are taking me home,” I said.

“Oh, the princess has to get home,” he said.

Tonight, the metro was closed when I go to my station, there were no taxis when I got off the metro (once it opened), the bus got stuck at the bottom of my hill because of an accident and when I got home, the power was out.

It’s December in Medellín.

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I’m back!

I think it’s high time I re-emerged from the swamp of busyness and tiredness that was threatening to overwhelm me, but by God’s grace is turning to solid ground beneath my feet with every day that passes.

Happy 1st December, which in Medellín marks the beginning of the Christmas period and is celebrated by a great deal of noise at midnight.

Below, one of the funniest things I’ve seen for a long time, taken in Lima, Peru.


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