Primera Vez en la Costa

En 2008, mientras enseñaba inglés en el Seminario en Medellín, yo fui a una misión de un mes (con Simón y Leo, entre otros) a la Costa Atlántica de Colombia.

Era la primera vez que me confrontaba con el tamaño e impacto del desplazamiento forzado. Había cientas de personas desesperadas (y acogedoras), con hambre, viviendo en ranchitos pequeños. Por primera vez, los desplazados tenían nombres e historias por contar.

En el primer lugar donde llegamos, la carpa de circo, otra vez tomó su lugar en los eventos para niños y adultos, pero de hecho, opté por no ayudar con el evento de Rana Bacana con los niños (hubiera tenido que saltar demasiado en el calor de la Costa!) más bien, encontré mi lugar tratando a niños con piojos.

El viaje me impactó muchísimo y sembró la semilla para que siguiera colaborando con la Fundación Vive y los Clubes Rana Bacana que en este momento ni existían.

Haz clic aquí para donar con una tarjeta de crédito por la página de la misión Latin Link. O consigna a la cuenta de la Fundación: Fundación Comunidad Vive, Bancolombia Cuenta de Ahorros No. 00934997212, NIT. 900797943.

Si decides hacerlo, me cuentas, a esta drección


Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin


Last weekend I was away on one of the Funky Frog camps for leaders.

As the first Funky Frog Clubs were established back in 2011/12, we realised that the leaders could use ongoing training and support both to expand their knowledge and skills but also to encourage them to persevere in their work with the children. We came up with the idea of an annual camp for the leaders and the first camps were held in 2013. At first there were two, then three and now there are four, held in all the areas where we have clusters of Clubs.

This weekend’s camp was in an area called La Mojana, a region of outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity (one of the most biodiverse areas in Colombia, which makes it one of the most biodiverse on the planet).

The theme was Returning Home, encouraging the leaders to experience and enjoy their relationship as sons and daughters (not servants!) in their heavenly Father’s house. We also held workshops on keeping children safe on the internet, making resources out of easily obtained materials, being constructors of peace and working with children aged 9 to 11, the oldest children in the Club.

Apart from two huge thunderstorms with associated powercuts, all went well.

A big thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered The First Colombian in Space, my short story imagining the life of a child in a Funky Frog Club, and donated to the work of Vive. With the pound strengthening against the peso, every donation has just that litte more value!

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

A tent

Communities full of children, local churches, a visionary leader and seminary students eager to serve in part of their country affected by the conflict: all key elements of the early years of the Vive story.

What was missing? A circus tent, of course!

In 2005 Simon was able to buy one, in which,  thousands of children have since heard the good news of salvation in Jesus presented in an accessible way.

Displaced adults have sheltered in it; it was used in the relief effort in Mocoa; nights of peace and reconciliation have been held in it and I once helped to wash it.

PS If you are wondering why am I telling the story of the Vive Foundation,  click here and here to find out and come back tomorrow to learn the origin story of the Funky Frog. And click here to support the work we are doing here in Colombia.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Here’s one young man who hasn’t joined an armed group

At the circus in January, I spotted a young lad who looked familiar.

“¿Miguel?” I asked.

And so it was. Miguel had his photo taken by a photographer who visited his Vive Kids Club in 2012 and is now 17 years old, an active member of his church group and a service-hearted and friendly young man.



This is what it’s all about.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Hello world!

After several extremely pleasant weeks in Scotland and Germany, I am now back in Colombia.


I got to my flat last Tuesday morning and within six hours I was off again, this time to the Coast, for our annual Circus (crazy, I know!). At the Circus, we invite three leaders from each of our Clubs to spend five days together learning how to run an event for children. After three days of preparation, the leaders put on the event for the children in the community in which we are based, before taking the ideas home for the children of their club. This year, about 140 leaders came, and we had a wonderful time, preparing and then delivering an action-packed day-and-a half’s activty for about 350 children.


We chose “Peace” as this year’s topic: how to have peace with God and how to be an agent of peace in the world. To see the Bible’s message of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness unfold in an area that suffered terribly in the conflict of the past, was very moving.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

The Coast enchants again

I was on the Coast last week, literally, for a change (I got a wee dip in the Caribbean) and it was great fun, as usual.

It’s always just so unexpected.

In the ladies’ toilets at the airport in Montería, there was a workman perched on the toilet seat, working on the cistern and singing unselfconsciously along to his radio.

On the bus on the way to the town where our event was being held, there was a drunk man, and no seat for him so he held on to the bar, but occasionally one hand flopped down and patted me on the head. “Hold on with both hands,” someone told him. Finally, a young country lad (complete with machete strapped to his thigh) let him have his seat where he promptly fell asleep.

And on the plane home, I listened in to a grandfather and grandson finding shapes in the clouds:

“It’s an elephant! No, a crocoelephant! No, a crocophelantceros! A car! No, a cake!”

In between we had a successful camp for 30 Children’s Club leaders. The highlight of that was when two of them, older women who are neighbours, received a phone call to tell them that they were going to get materials to build a house. They actually jumped for joy!

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Saturday morning on the Coast


A sleepy cat.

A stack of plastic chairs. (In the evening, the family will sit on their porch and greet the people going by with a cry of “Adios”.)

The shoes left outside while the lady of the house sweeps the floor.

And on television, El Chavo del 8, a Mexican sitcom from the 70s, which is on every Saturday.

An ordinary Saturday on the Colombian Coast.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

In your element

You know how in English we say, “I was in my element,” to mean, “I felt really at home, I felt comfortable”?

Well, today I found out how to say this in Spanish.

My colleague was telling us about a trip he had made at the weekend to a gold-mining town in the north of Colombia. The trip involved hours on bad roads and river-crossings in boats, basically all the things we love.

“I was in my sauce,” he said.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Something that happened

For a variety of reasons I travelled on my own to the camp on the Coast this weekend.

The highlight of the journey was being called “patroncita” by the taxi driver on the last leg of the journey. This is pretty much untranslatable but if you know “patrona” means boss and the “ita” ending is a diminutive, you can maybe work it out.

Anyway, my plan was to travel back to Medellin by bus with my colleague Maria, who had bought her return ticket when she set off for the Coast on Thursday night. Someone “de confianza” (=trustworthy) was dispatched to buy my ticket on Saturday afternoon.

When we got to the bus station on Sunday afternoon we met one of our Children’s Club leaders, who was travelling to Medellin to sit an entrance exam at the public university here. He was from an indigenous background and this was the first time he had ever travelled outside his local area.

On my way to the bus station I had started to fret about our seats, would someone be kind enough to move seats so my colleague and I could sit together because what were the chances of our seats being near each other, right? (This may give you a bit of an insight into the way my mind works!)

“What number is your ticket?” I asked Maria.

“18. Yours?”


Our indigenous friend’s, 16.

Oh, and the camp was great.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Context is all

Last weekend I was at a camp for our Children’s Club leaders on the Coast in a town I usually associate with smothering heat.

But God was gracious and it was relatively cool, allowing us to complete our activities with less sweat than usual.

It was so cool for the locals that they sat shivering, huddled up in all the clothes they could find.

Would you like to guess what temperature it was?

A chilly 26 degrees celsius.

I told them that 26 degrees was a rare and roasting hot day in Scotland and they could hardly believe it!

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin