Saturday, December 31, 2011

Over and over, it’s over, all over

As the last few hours of the year draw to a close, the house falls strangely quiet as I await the arrival of family and friends. My mind gets distracted with what might come in the next twelve months, although 2011 is not quite over.

I am reminded of that life-saving device in São Paulo: the GPS. It is extremely good at pin-pointing a location on its digitally stored map of the city, but unless it knows your current position, it cannot guide you to your intended destination. It becomes a useless piece of plastic bleeping on your dashboard.

My current position is a very happy one, after experiencing a challenging but altogether exceptional year.

The French have a phrase – reculer pour mieux sauter – which means to step back in order to spring forward and in many ways the beginning of the year saw just that. Some of our boys were returned to their homes, and we were able to plan and pray for the year ahead. The start of the year also saw the regretful closure of the rescue house for girls and the consolidation of the adolescent boys’ house (known as the Republica) with the main rescue house (known as Casa Elohim) as a result of insufficient volunteers.

Three sets of brothers and a (sometimes rowdy) bunch of others. Shown above are just some of the boys (from 5 to 15 years old) who we have had the privilege of helping this year.

The stories we tell cannot always be happy ones. Between April and October, seven different boys who had stayed with us for varying amounts of time (some, months - others, days) ran away. One particular sadness came with the young man known simply as “W” - who you may remember from here - who returned to us for the third time, only to run away back to the street, for the third time. Sometimes, it tears at the heart.

But onwards we press and into the new year we go. Thank you for your continued reading - I wish you every blessing for the coming year.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

on the road

Reviews of the Year

I guess it’s around this time when the media start posting their lists of the “Top” moments of the year. The Top Films of 2011, The Top 10 Illegally Downloaded Songs, The Top 5 Countries That Needed a Bailout - that sort of thing.

Well, no such review here, although the year has been heavy on highlights, to mix a metaphor. What a year 2011 has been! (More on this between Christmas and New Year, if I can order my jumbled head between now and then).

I shared some photos last night at the little Christmas Party we put on at the rescue house for the boys. To a captivated audience and to the strains of what I might call the best electro beats (but what the boys universally call my putz, putz, putz music), I projected onto the wall my own Review of 2011. I posted a few months back about how if the eyes never see light, you will be blind. Looking at the images again - all together in one place - was liking seeing again for the very first time. I didn’t mean it to be overtly sentimental (hence the electro) or even necessarily thought-provoking (for Christmas isn’t a time for melancholy) but this review served to refresh my pathetic memory and awaken me to the amazing stories of these boys. Stories in which I have had the privilege to participate, if only for just one chapter.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

(In) transit

Tunnels, bridges and six lanes all blocked-up.
Even the skies seem crowded of late.

It must be getting near Christmas.
The rain doesn’t help too.

This city’s infrastructure is so beyond redemption that the moment a drop hits the ground the lights are aflickering, the internet gets knocked-out for a week and all the TV stations post reporters on the highways to film the floating cars.

At such moments I long for simple leaves on the line to delay the commute.

Ah, São Paulo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Keeping track

Today I am an uncle, again.
Welcome into the world, Lilia!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Unreported until now (more because I found it too difficult than because of laziness in the composition), three brothers returned to their family.

A short - but very joyful - period has come to an abrupt end and now only photographs remain to sustain happy memories that would otherwise fade. The brothers have returned to their proper place.

No flies

I recall an afternoon with my elderly grandmother in her small garden in Surrey, not long before her death. As we walked slowly, purposefully, arm-in-arm on that early summer day we didn’t say very much, but instead enjoyed the simple pleasures of the spongy grass (avoiding the sodden patch where my sister and I used to catch tiny frogs as children) and flowers.

I remember a fly buzzing close to us for a moment and then darting away. She stopped, gave me a knowing glance and said “No flies on granny!”

Well, I am acutely aware that I have in recent weeks let flies land on this blog. I have excuses (of course, who doesn’t?): a much-needed break away from the house for a week, followed by preparation and participation in a “family camp” which I'll explain shortly (I promise). To be honest, my mind feels totally unsynched right now (to use a tech expression probably patented by Apple). A bank of thoughts and unshared emotions. Like a computer with lots of inputs but no output. 

Now where did I put that cable?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


back next week