4,000m above sea level and 400,000m from the closest shore of the Pacific Ocean, playing beach volleyball every Sunday afternoon in the park somehow became one of the defining elements of my life in La Paz.
Now, at sea level and right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, playing beach volleyball every Monday evening in Manly is becoming an anchor, a touchpoint, to each week here in Sydney.
It’s funny, the unlikely things that make me feel at home. Continue reading What feels like home
The highest point in all of Australia sits at about the same altitude as the average for the whole province of Loja, Ecuador. It doesn’t even come close to the lowest point in the entire city of La Paz, Bolivia, let alone the altitude of any of the surrounding mountains. I like to tout these little trivia tidbits but am increasingly conscious of coming off as … Continue reading It’s not your fault, Australia
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?
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
External link to A day in the life of … Jeshika – IJM aftercare worker
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
My article about a colleague of mine Jeshika, an IJM Bolivia social worker, is on page 6 🙂 Continue reading A day in the life of … Jeshika – IJM aftercare worker
Reproduced from the IJM Newsroom/Blog: http://news.ijm.org/ijm-internsfellows-top-ten-moments-from-2014 WASHINGTON, DC, December 31, 2014 IJM teams around the world are celebrating the end of a very big year. To recap, we asked some of our interns and fellows to share ten moments they’ll never forget: 1. Sharing Harriet’s incredible story. EMILY, UGANDA: When I met Harriet and her children, they were entering a new season of hope. IJM had built her … Continue reading IJM Interns/Fellows: Top Ten Moments From 2014
The concrete walls soar straight up towards the sunny sky. It’s just like a fortress should be – a fortress founded smack bam in the middle of the city. San Pedro Penitentiary. IJM lawyer D says it’s a nasty place. “Horrible!” she affirms. Meanwhile, minibuses and motorbikes rumble past in the mid-morning traffic. The small side entrance opens and the unlit room we find ourselves in seems to … Continue reading Today I went to jail
Seca y fría. Dry and cold. No, I’m not describing La Paz (though I could be). I’m describing myself. Dry and cold. I guess my new home and I have that in common. But I think I am melting. I knew that working with IJM Bolivia would be intense, confronting. But I also know that I am better suited than many to face and deal … Continue reading Dry and cold in La Paz
That dress Off the plane and into foreign arms Heart aflame with remembered love This greeting is polite yet cool But you – You and your sequined dress Upon those hills, your hills You lie there, beautiful But my mind is elsewhere I wake to your blue eyes Your limitlessly sunny smile You are beaming Oh you – You and your dust red dress Upon … Continue reading That dress / Know Delay