Friday, July 24, 2009


It's good to be home

Saturday, July 18, 2009


No, I haven't succumbed to the temptation of mega-corporate sponsorship. IF ONLY!

Today I return to England to renew my visa, recharge my batteries and see family and friends.

I am incredibly excited (or, as the Americans say, psyched) to be going home and to have a much-needed break (I haven't had a weekend off in five months and I feel ground down).

I will continue to post when I can and will return to Casa Elohim very soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Saying Goodbye

G left this week. After three years at Casa Elohim he was reintegrated with his family. His is a turbulent story, but the most disturbing aspects of his family life have now subsided to such an extent to allow his return.

Forever mischievous, a perennial joker and never without drama was G. If his time here was marked by exhuberance and frivolity, his leaving couldn't have been more different. His mother arrived, he finished helping me with the washing-up...and he left. As I closed the front gate, W shouted "Tchau G!" from somewhere in the grounds. He didn't even collect together the few belongings he had.

I've never been good at saying goodbye. At work, I had a tendency to dodge leaving parties and tearful farewells - even with colleagues I was close to - preferring instead to share a word of encouragement in private. Here though, saying goodbye (or even goodnight) in any meaningful sense is very rare. I used to get offended at first, but now I have become accustomed to it, and have accepted it, not necessarily because omitting to say goodbye is socially (or morally) more acceptable than not saying hello but rather because a word of departure confirms the end of a person's presence. As if by saying goodbye you are colluding in that person's departure. In law, there is no contract until there is an offer and an acceptance. In life, these little guys have already experienced too many departures (fathers, mothers, homes) to want to accept any more.

Goodbye, G

Thursday, July 9, 2009


S punched this out on my iPod today.
He had been asking me to translate and spell random words throughout the afternoon, but what he wrote in the end choked me up when I read it.

Go, fly your kite

Yesterday and today I took the boys to the lake to fly their kites. It's winter now (and the school holidays), so it's officially kite flying season.

we had to pass the old dog with the scary eye

I don't recall ever flying a kite in my life, but the sheer exhilaration one feels when launching the fragile device into the air and watching it saw effortlessly to dizzying heights helps explain the craze among the children here (the cost does too -- a typical model is just 15p).

no wind required!

If you're going to play a little rough, the kids coat the lines in glue mixed with ground glass to (literally) cut out the competition. The practice was recently made illegal in São Paulo (not for the kids, but for their parents/guardians - i.e. me!) due to motorcycle riders being garrotted by stray lines.

intense concentration from W

L - a well orchestrated performance