A politician who keeps his word? Who would’ve thought! But after a whole decade as Ecuador’s head of state, Rafael Correa is stepping down. Like, actually. Unlike his buddy Evo Morales, who felt a fourth term to be far too tempting to give up that he tried to change the constitution to make it legal for him to continue as president. Correa’s chosen heir, Lenin* … Continue reading Election reflections: Ecuador and Bolivia
I wasn’t procrastinating – I actually wasn’t planning on ever reading the book. It was going to be one for the mantelpiece, to adorn the bookshelf. After all, I spent a year working for the organisation founded by the author, so I didn’t just know the content – I was living right amongst it.
It was a surprise, then, how much the opening chapters of The Locust Effect moved me. Two months back on board with International Justice Mission (IJM), now in Australia, and we’ve talked on a number of occasions about vicarious trauma. I’ve shared with my colleagues some of what I went through that year in Bolivia. They’ve shared about how advocating against cybersex trafficking has had a toxic personal effect on them. Continue reading Re-entering the darkness
People always ask me about my time in South America. Some are genuinely interested, while for others it’s the polite and logical thing to ask. In either case, the truth is that these conversations have started to get a bit repetitive and I’m often left wishing I could say more than: that Latinos are warmer; that Andean dishes contain too many carbs; that working with survivors of child sexual abuse was hard as you’d imagine but so rewarding; that I’m not sure how to answer your question about how good my Spanish is.
The worst thing is that I can’t seem to do Bolivia and Ecuador justice – not in a brief conversation that could turn to a different topic at any given moment.
So below are a few noteworthy things I don’t generally get to share about the impact that my time in South America has had on me as a person and who I am now. Continue reading How South America messed me up good
In honour of IJM Bolivia’s incredible month of July (4 convictions, a long-awaited arrest, 60 therapies completed, churches uniting for justice), our team went to see Tom Cruise hang off the side of a military plane, in a business suit, as it takes off into the chilly London air. During the week, our Field Office Director made a number of references to how our work … Continue reading Mission made possible
One month from today I say goodbye to La Paz and Bolivia. And I’m feeling pretty good about it; I’m ready to go home. Bolivia: please take this as a compliment. “Seeya” with a smile? In the last week or so people have started registering that I am going away “soon”; I’m beginning to get questions about what I want to do before and what my plans … Continue reading What makes a goodbye good?
Hello! Here’s a quick post to give you the low-down on visiting Torotoro National Park, Bolivia. We did a 3-day tour over the 6 de agosto public holiday, and what I’ll say is this: never before have rocks looked so fabulous. Day 1: Cascada de Golondrinas Day 2: Umajalanta Day 2: Ciudad de Itas Day 3: Cerro Waylas Day 3: El Vergel General advice for visiting Torotoro … Continue reading Torotoro: Dinosaurs and rocks that rock
How do you like the idea of spending an entire workday alone to chill, pray, meditate, read, and generally just be on your own? One of the many cool things about IJM as an organisation is that all staff, interns and fellows get a Day of Solitude. It’s pretty much compulsory. Busy people fear it – but they’re probably the ones who need it the most. I … Continue reading An attempt at solitude
Step 1: Be Asian. Step 2: Move to La Paz. That’s it, folks. In two simple steps you can get yourself on the path to fame. My acting experience consists of high school Shakespeare plays in English class and Christmas presentations at church. My modelling experience consists of catwalking fashion design students’ work more than a decade ago. And yet, publicists have asked me to audition … Continue reading How to kickstart your acting career
IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law (my piece from the IJM Newsroom) LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, June 25, 2015 Thanks to a new law, IJM Bolivia has seen “miraculous” developments in the past eight months, according to Greg Tarrant, IJM Bolivia field office director. The Law to “Decongest and Effectivise” Criminal Procedures stole the media spotlight when passed at the end of October … Continue reading IJM Bolivia Cases Progress at ‘Rapid Pace’ Following New Law
It was perfect in a bittersweet way
The overcast day
The fresh flowers
The shades of black and grey
The Padre Nuestro
The father’s chanting
They ushered him through a maze
of flagstones well-polished by the varnish of water
and the heavy footsteps of generations of mourners.
For fifty pesos a stranger sang
as we showered him with rose petals and rain.
Amidst her wailing and her brothers’ silent despair
and the cement mixed and laid thick to immortalise him,
the sky stops crying and its blue eyes blink
and I, for a moment, stare into eternity,
into sorrow, into loss, into hope.
Avenues upon avenues of memories
in this city of the departed;
yards and yards of carnations
doing their best to defy time –
but who can resist?
Grief made her embrace linger, made us angels
without wings, and stranded on earth,
but angels nonetheless.
Another Padre Nuestro
Another moment without him
The first of too many. Continue reading Victor