Unexpected, on the way to work

As I queued to get on the train this morning I noticed that the man in front of me had a question in English printed on the back of his shirt.

It said:

Does it matter how you were baptised?

How very unexpected!

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Signs of life

Life has taken over and I’ve not made blogging a priority.

But that’s not to say interesting things haven’t been happening.

One was the following conversation in the queue for a taxi at the supermarket.

The older lady beside received a phone call on her mobile from someone who was obviously concerned about her.

I’m fine, she said, I’m just getting my toenails done. Don’t worry, I’m absolutely fine. Thank you for caring but I’m fine.

When she hung up, she turned to me and said,

Oh, why can’t people just leave me alone. A whole life of being with people and now I just want some peace and quiet. My son, my daughter-in-law, even my ex-husband all phoning because I’m not at home. On a little innocent outing. Imagine if it was something not so innocent. Forty-eight and half years of marriage and I never went anywhere and now I just want a little freedom. Is it too much to ask?

Forty-eight and half years is a long time, I said.

Yes, but it had died a long time before. I could say it was born dead. We were just two tourists trying to get along. And now I’m 73 and I feel my life has gone by in a flash.

PS Tonight I head off to the Coast for a camp with our children’s club leaders. Two buses and a motorbike-ride away. Now doubt there will be lots to report on my return, early next week.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

I can’t believe I saw this

On my way to work, I walk down a steep hill. It’s one of the main roads into Medellín from the south, called Las Palmas.

Today, I saw a man on a motorbike tootling down the hill, singing at the top of his voice.


Not for a milli-second either, for at least several seconds, until he swung round the corner out of my sight.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

Back in Medellín

I got back to Medellín on Tuesday evening. Everything went like clockwork on the trip, if you don’t count my dad’s car getting a flat tyre on the way to the airport.

Yesterday evening I got a taxi to meet my flatmate as she finished work so we could go out for a belated birthday meal.

It was rush hour.

The driver was one of the very aggressive, lane-changing, foot-on-the brake jamming, horn-tooting breed.

I lived on my nerves the whole way. People stepped out in front of us. Motor-bikes wove in and out of the lanes of traffic. Buses pulled by, perilously close.

It’s amazing what five months in sedate wee Scotland can do to one’s perceptions.

“I get used to this, every time,” I had to remind myself, as I got out of the taxi, knees trembling.

I didn’t quite kiss the ground.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

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.

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin

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.”

Share this post:Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin