Internet access is somewhat sporadic around here. Actually electricity is fairly sporadic around here, so it is probably a miracle that we have internet at all. So, if you are writing interesting stuff on your blog and I’m not reading it, then send me a copy by email. And if you’ve sent me a mail and I didn’t reply yet please be patient.
Hospital appointment went well yesterday, the doctor was more enthuseastic than last week, and the stitches have been removed. He still has to wear the imobilizer, and keep resting and icing it for a couple of weeks and then they are going to send him to a physio-terrorist for some cruel and unusual punishment. The good news is that our house in San Francisco is nearly ready, and we are hoping to move into it this weekend, with the help of some willing slaves from the church who have offered to shift furniture for us.

Our kid goes around in bare feet, I do try and put socks on him sometimes just to make people think that I’m not a terrible mother, but he takes them off in three seconds, so I am fast gaining a reputation as a terrible mother. Lots of people tell me that I will make him ill. I haven’t yet found anyone who can explain the mechanism by which viruses enter through the feet and travel to the nose and throat, but I am assured it is so. This week two people have told me that if I don’t put shoes on him soon, then he will never learn to walk. Apparently shoes prepare the feet to be walked on. Yesterday someone told me that if I don’t put shoes on him soon then his feet will grow enormous. I’m not sure there’s an answer to that, I think I’ll just get used to being a terrible mother.

We are compiling a collection of T-shirt slogans written in English seen on people who presumably don’t know what they are wearing. Yesterday was our favourite so far. In the hospital, a little old white-haired lady, 85 if she was a day, leaning on someone’s arm; wearing a fleece jacket, emblazoned accross the back with “street rebel pitbull”. Wished we’d had a camera.

Happy Birthday Joni

Imagine a party where the host stands at the door in order to ask the guests their names on the way in? The original story can be found in Luke 14:15-24. Here is an alternative:
A certain family were preparing a party so they could invite their friends and neighbours to celebrate their son’s first birthday. When the day came for the party, they found themselves stuck in the wrong city, in a neighbourhood where they didn’t know anybody. “What shall we do?” They asked themselves. “We can’t let this occasion pass unmarked”. So they went out to the highways and byways, and they said to the children who were playing out in the road, “Come in and share a cake with us”. And verily, the children did come in, and the candle was lit and blown out a few times, and some songs were sung, and the cake was eaten, and the balloons were popped, and everyone went home happy.

joni's first birthdayCutting the cake

And now every time we go out with the pushchair, the neighbours say hello to us! As for Daddy’s leg, it is coming along, albeit more slowly than we would have liked. He has been ordered to rest up until next Monday when hopefully the stitches will be taken out.

Best laid plans

Martin had his operation yesterday, and we have moved house again. He had to be at the hospital at 7 in the morning yesterday, so Joni and I booked him in and then we went off to the cafe for breakfast while they were chopping him up. We were allowed in to see him in the recovery area by lunch-time, and we were all home in the middle of the afternoon. He is supposed to rest it for the next two weeks, and they want to see him this Tuesday. Hence we are grounded in Cordoba which we hadn’t planned. I’m trying to figure out what we should do about Joni’s birthday on Monday, because we had planned to celebrate it in San Francisco, only we won’t be there. At the moment we are thinking we would still like to celebrate with the folk at San Fran, so we would just have to postpone it a bit. We also found ourselves homeless, having not planned to be in Cordoba after last Wednesday, so we are staying at the YWAM house for now (YWAM being another mission org). YWAM are fairly newly establishing themselves in Cordoba, there’s a team of six living in the house with various other hangers on at different times. The neighbourhood here is “interesting”. YWAM run a kids club sometimes here at the house, which we went to last night. The plan was to present the story of the “Good Samaritan” in fairly traditional Sunday School style; i.e.”don’t walk by if you see someone in need”. What actually happened was an emergency piece of improvised discussion on how you might take a stand and be different when it is your friends/ family who would have robbed the guy in the first place!

If you go down to the woods today

Things have been somewhat tense in Cordoba of late. Depending on one’s political allegiance, the explanation is that the provincial government have overspent, or that the national government is withholding money belonging to the province; either way the net result is that Cordoba has run out of money. Trips to town involve dodging demonstrations and riot-police, winding around road-blocks and crash barriers, sometimes finding that the shops have closed anyway, and then trying to figure out where the bus home might have been re-located to this time. Yesterday we heard that some sort of agreement might have been reached, so there is hope that progress might yet be made.
On Tuesday Joni and I went to the children’s home in San Marcos. We nearly didn’t go, we didn’t decide until late on Monday and it felt like a lot of hassle at short notice, but the opportunity came up so we took it. In the end it was a really nice day, catching up with the kids and the adults. One of the adolescents said “Hazel trajó la alegría” (Hazel brought joy!). Joni spent the day in the middle of a mêlée making mud pies; he came home exhausted and it took me ages to clean the mud out of his nose. There is a part of me that regrets that we haven’t gone to live in San Marcos, but we had two full-time job offers 400 kms apart so it is just a feature of life that saying yes to one of them would mean saying no to the other. I played with the idea of building in a program of visits to San Marcos from San Francisco, but the distance is too far really to develop anything meaningful, and I also believe in principle that mission partners need to be working more strongly in the communities where we are living rather than flitting in and out of places like a flock of seagulls, but I am already working on another blog about that subject.

The saga of Martin’s latest mishap rumbles on. He went for a scan yesterday which revealed that the tendon which allows normal folk to bend at the knee is no longer attached, which explains why his leg no longer works. The plan is that tomorrow they will have him in for day surgery to reattach the tendon. Our distrust of our insurance company (it’s justified; they’re rubbish) is sufficient that we are organising ourselves to pay up front via Visa (hooray for Visa) and to claim it back whenever the insurers decide to pay up some (considerable) time after the event. The insurer have embarked on their usual round of not-returning phone calls, while emailing us their usual stack of irrelevant forms “Write the numbers of your inbound and outbound flights”, while requiring us to prove that this wasn’t an existing condition “Well, I did used to be able to walk normally but unfortunately I don’t any video to demonstrate…” Luckily this surgery is only a fraction of the cost of Martin’s previous mis-adventure so we are able to circumvent the insurer with only a few minor squeaks from our bank. Meanwhile my job today is to purchase two biodegradable bone anchors in this season’s colours. I think I have located a source, but we need to go and talk to the company this afternoon.


I like this photo, confident baby taking over the world. It was taken by our friend Diego, whose family we were staying with in Cordoba. Diego himself has just left for “the north”, to have a mission experience working in a children’s home for a few months.
And so here we are in San Francisco, so I thought I’d just write a quick update. We don’t have internet access very easily at the moment so I’m grabbing space in Wifi cafes whenever the chance comes along.

We spent some frustrating time in Cordoba, apart from Martin damaging himself. Can’t really go into details without causing offense, except that it wasn’t at all the fault of the people we were staying with. Ana and Oscar’s family are lovely and we really appreciated them and their hospitality.

Then we went to San Francisco and things started improving. The church have been very welcoming, we stayed three days with a sweet old lady, and the last three days we have been with a family with lots of kids who have an ongoing competition to make Joni laugh.

Folk from the church have been helping us to look for a house to rent. We have seen four, and have chosen one that we think we have closed a deal on. It’s too big for us really, but we really like the location, it’s in a working class area, the same neighbourhood where some of our friends live, in fact just round the corner from the family who are looking after our dog, and it is just in front of a plaza which has a children’s play area complete with baby-swings. We are hoping to sign paper-work within the next 24 hours. At the moment it is being “sympathetically modernised”, (pretty much everything has been ripped out) so we can’t have it yet. The builder says two weeks, although looking at it I would think more like a month; further developments to follow as they unfold.