I spent all of Friday afternoon handwriting Christmas cards to people I don’t know. A regular day at work now involves, at some point, printing and folding receipt letters, stamping and manually addressing envelopes. To be honest, so much of what we do at my new job seems primitive. It’s not something we’re unaware of; we’ve spoken about the website and the way we process donations. Some of that … Continue reading Old people push up charity overheads
Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is so much “normal” in that one sentence it’s not even funny. Don’t pretend you’re not disappointed. I’m trying not to be. “So when are you going back to South America?” “What are you doing here? Just here for a break?” These are things people have actually, literally, … Continue reading Next stop: Sydney
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
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
Strong Sentencing for Bolivian Uncle Indicates Crackdown on Family Abuse (my piece from the IJM Newsroom) LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, May 31, 2015 After two years of relentless effort by the IJM team, a Bolivian man has been sentenced to 22.5 years for abusing his 7-year-old niece. Throughout the legal process, the family faced multiple roadblocks, including threats to their safety and an uphill battle in the Bolivian justice system. However, … Continue reading Strong Sentencing for Bolivian Uncle Indicates Crackdown on Family Abuse
Filing photos is an emotionally taxing task. It’s not easy flicking through the faces of kids who have been sexually abused. Equally powerful are pictures of the parents determined to have justice for their son or daughter. Smiles. Frowns. Joy. Sadness. Hope. Despair. Courage. Fear. Our image archive spans a wide spectrum of emotions. It’s beautiful, but in a way that makes you ache inside. Most of these are photos … Continue reading The kids that break your heart
I have a friend who used to say that there’s no such thing as luck, only statistics.
It’s all just a matter of chance and probability. What we’re really saying when we say something that happened was bad luck is that the improbable (but not impossible) negative outcome happened. What we’re really saying when we wish someone good luck is that we hope probabilities work in their favour.
Then there are those moments when you really see how the stars have aligned. Yes, it’s still probability at play – but I don’t believe statistics preclude God’s involvement; indeed I believe God can work with probabilities and against them.
B, one of our clients, was diagnosed with cancer and given a 60-70% of responding to treatment and a 40% chance overall of recovering. Hospital A doesn’t generally provide chemotherapy. They were going to send B home to free up a bed, and put her on the three-month waiting list at another hospital. It’s Monday. Continue reading Coincidence vs Providence