Last night I dreamt that the compost toilet bucket in my en-suite was overflowing! Not the happiest dream to wake up to, and a relief when I went in to find my fears were unfounded.

The morning was spent firstly meeting two kids heading off to school for the first time (thanks to a family at Christ Church) and their very grateful mother, then some R&R catching up on my blog and writing.

The afternoon was totally different and I’ve resorted to poetry and pictures to try and tell a bit of it:

Balloons Burst, Bubbles Pop

(for Emily, after a harrowing afternoon in the field)

2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000065Balloons burst, bubbles pop

Beneath plantation fields.

Boys gasp as rubber inflates

Unleashed, dances to their heels


Two boys abandoned by their Mum2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000063

Their father unable to cope

The responsibility makes him choke

And totally lost all hope


Alone abandoned day by day

Until their Mum returns at last

But leaves behind a near weaned girl

And speeds away as fast


The oldest boy a natural first,

Concerned, protective, trying.

Too young to wash his face as well

But stops his sister crying.


A man called ‘Deus’ brings us there

Concerned at the boys’ plight

Their father, and uncle here this time

They’ve given up the fight

The boys, pot-bellied, catch my gaze

And gradually come to my side,

The younger boy, a natural friend

Grows smiles twice as wide


Faces recorded on a cellular screen

Confuse, amaze, delight

One boy taps his own reflection

Can’t believe it’s right
Balloons filled up and bubbles blown

The children start to play2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000065

Other children from the village emerge

They’re going to want to stay


Distraction secure the adults talk2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000068

And Emily does the rest

Taking the infant in her arms

She hugs her to her chest


2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000069We march up to the clinic next,

Pied pippering at the back

The children follow released balloons

And what’s inside my sack.


IMG_2560At the clinic Simon makes a friend

The medic who is on call

Is someone he has helped before

He grateful, does his all.
Balloons burst and bubbles pop,

Children in disarray

As the prancing priest distracts the crowd

And the others get away


Shop done, and English clothes secured

We bid our friends adieu

It wasn’t the saddest thing we’ve seen today2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000045

But I’ll keep that bit from you


A sombre mood on journey home

But Deus seems upbeat

Your visit, my friends, gives them fresh hope

That Dad’s no more dead beat.


Can it really be that bubbles burst

And some floating balloon filled cheer

Could really make a difference to

Young lives whose end is near?


The smallest money that sits at home

Beneath my sofa covers

Or unthinking passes by my feet

Feeds children and their mothers.


2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000054A little love from milk-faced strangers

May brighten up a day

And perhaps with a prayer or two

Help a parent on their way


I cannot think what it must be

To sit on God’s great throne

And look at tragedies all day long

When our hearts may be of stone


But all around the world he has

Little heroes hardly known

The sponsors for an orphanage

The ones who make love shown


And all around the world he looksIMG_2555

For people like this daughter

Who when she hears of little ones

Tries to bring them to the water


And prays for them, and takes them food,

And pays for books for school

She doesn’t want a lot for her

But gives her work her all


If you could come here and could see2018-02-05-PHOTO-00000037

Her work, her joy, her love

You would get on your knees I think

And praise her Father up above.


It has been an emotional day, finishing with a team meal, and gradual unwind telling old stories, and writing and reading out this poem.

Thank you all for your prayers for Emily and others doing similar works around the world… if you know the old Starfish poem it really is true… what you do for one person makes a difference for them, and sometimes a knock on difference to those around them.