Saturday, 19 February 2011

My Colombia

Just in case you didn't know... I really love this place

 It is hard to put into words what it is that has endeared this country to my heart.  So instead I will share some pictures of my first few days...

The Stuff -
    I love to shop, and to be able to go and buy stuff as gifts for the different organizations in Colombia is SO much fun - in fact, it is much more fun than buying for myself because I know how much good it will do for these people with so little.  A box of crayons, a rolling pin and a stack of construction paper seems like peanuts to us, but so precious to these.

First Impressions -
   I remember well the first time I came to Colombia and landed at this very door of our home for 10 days, only to find ourselves locked out.  We were a little freaked out to say the least.  Well, this year, we were back at this guest house and ... yup - were locked out.  This time the panic was not as severe - at least in me, but I did enjoy the "deer in the headlights" looks on the faces of others.

Familiar faces -
    To see the smiling faces of those that have become good friends over the last 4 years is such an amazing feeling.  Evencio has been our driver for the past 3 years, but unfortunately wasn't able to do it this year. I was so glad to at least be able to see him.

Little faces -
   Looking into the eyes of these sweet ones, is bitter sweet.  I can't help but fall in love with these kids and even consider the notion of smuggling one of them home in my suitcase.  They have a hard time understanding why you can't talk to them, but eventually they rely on the universal language of love and all is good.

The food -
    This is from one of the coolest restaurants in the world - La Mazorca - an outdoor barbeque restaurant that serves up grilled...beef, chicken, corn, non-descript meat stuffed in pig intestines, arepas, fresh salsa and guacamole.  So good - well, except for the pig intestine part...

My new house -
   Last year I saw this sign on this house down in the valley below La Mazorca and I told Dan we should buy it.  Well, it's still for sale!!  It's a sign I tell you!  I think it would be great to live here in the winter and just have some of our Colombian friends stay here the rest of the year to look after it!  After I win the lottery of course...

This is my Colombia.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Colombia - the prelude

26 hours...

In 26 hours I will be strapped into my puny little blue vinyl seat, embarking on the first miles of my pilgrimage back to a country that has become like a second home to me.  I remember so well 4 years ago when I first was presented with the crazy idea to take a bunch of kids to this mysterious land.  Every one I told just looked at me like I was nuts.  I mean really - didn't you watch Blow or Collateral Damage or Romancing the Stone??  This is a DANGEROUS place!!

That's what I thought ... until I got there.  Within the first 24 hours the beauty of that country became so evident.  Colombia's richest resource is its people.  I have never met a group of people that were warmer and showed love to strangers so effortlessly.  We were welcomed into homes, fed until we could barely move,  hugged, and kissed constantly.  These people that have so little, give and give to those of us that have so much.

I love this place. 

 Although I will be doing the official team blog on the PCA website, this will be "my space" to show you MY Colombia.  Stay tuned and fasten your seatbelts!

Hasta luego!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

What is Love?

I get a daily email that includes a joke or "hmmm" thought, and I really like the one that came today.  Gearing up for Valentines, I wanted to share it with you.  Out of the mouths of babes...

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4-8 year olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.   See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore so my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca - age 8.

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay." Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss." Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka - age 6

"There are two kinds of love, Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them." Jenny - age 8

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day." Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine - age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt." Chris - age 7

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 5

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age