Wednesday, 20 August 2008


I guess, in truth, it was selfish.
I have a wife and kids who haven't had a proper holiday this year.
The dates that the guys from McKinney return to DR is not in my kids holidays, so it would therefore involve taking Jemma out of school.

So last night I had a long chat with Debbie, and it was agreed that there was no way forward and that I was not going to be returning to DR this year.

But it hurts.

But I love Debbie

So that's it. However I am convinced that I'm 'on call' 52 weeks of the year, advocating for the poor in DR, and that can be done alongside being a Husband & a Father. Keeping this blog going is part of that advocacy.

But it still hurts..

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Jason - Cause for concern

A wonderful lady who was part of our team is back out to DR, and has sent this worrying email about Jason.

'Here are some pictures of Jason that I took last week. He is such a happy little boy. He has an infection in his leg, in the incision area. He is sleeping in a bed with at least 2 others. The infection is from urine. He comes to the clinic soaked in urine, and they need to bathe him. They don't know if it is his urine, or someone else in that bed. The GRACE group is going to get him bunk beds, to help with some of that problem, and at least to give his leg a little more protection from others kicking him in their sleep. His mother is never around, and is negligent mother. The dad is good at taking care of him. However, Dave and Sandy have to feed him breakfast most mornings when he comes. He is in need of protein.

Jason was really happy, and I played baseball with him, he throw the ball, and I hit it. His big needs are therapy, nutrition and clearing up the infection, for which he does have antibiotics, but just keeping the wound clean is the problem. The good news with that is, that last Wed. was the first open clinic they had. They now have a General Practice DR. coming to the clinic every Wed. So Jason will be seen by him at least once a week. '

So there continues to be hope, but it just goes to show the daily struggle so many of these people have to face. The kid has a major operation one week and is having to share a urine soaked bed a week later! I find this just incomprehensible! I'm angry with his Mum. He's such a lovely boy Mum, why aren't you there for him???

And then I think it through, in the comfort of my own space in my air conditioned office on a day where i found £40 stuffed in a sidepocket of a wallet that I hardly ever use.

She is poor. Poor to a level no one who is reading this is ever likely to be. She is hungry, she has the weight of responsibility of looking after all her children in a slum and she has no prospects. In the cold (hot) light of day, Jason is a drain. I don't know how she is really feeling, and I think that I have the right to judge her from a distance?? It may well eat her up that its tough for him, and that she's not able to meet his needs.

Perhaps in that kind of pressure, If I were her, I would be tempted to seek relief in the arms of other men, drink, drugs...
Lady, I apologise for judging you. We love Jason to bits, but we need to think of showing YOU ways that we love you to.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


I heard this fantastic awards speech from Bono. Its only 6 minutes long, but incredibly, I feel it says much of what I have tried to articulate through this blog. (Bare with it, he builds up to a creschendo!)

Have a watch ....

If you heard that from the pulpit on Sunday, maybe you'd be more inclined to go to Church. More importantly, maybe you'd feel inclined to go out there and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

I personally don't give a monkey's with regards to whether Bono's a Christian or not, in the sense that that would add or devalue his comments. His comments are true, and Christians should be at the forefront fighting the injustices of the world, including the injustice of World Poverty.

As Bono says 'Love thy neighbour' is not advice, its a Command!

What are YOU doing about it?

Rant over.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Update on Jason.

Well, Jason's had his operation. I think the photo's say more than words ever can. However here's the technical bit:

Jasein has a type of cerebral palsy which is a short circuiting between the brain and the muscles. There are all types and variations of this. Different types of the body can be affected as well as various muscle manifestations and levels of intelligence. Pre operatively Jasein was a minimal ambulator. He has problems with balance and involuntary movements (athetosis) that can not be significantly improved by any types of procedures. These typically are static – not improving or worsening over time. However some of his deficits can be overcome by training therapy etc. just as any of the rest of us would learn to do a new sport. He was noted to have an internal torsion of his Left femur and a contracture of the Left knee. These both can be improved with surgery which we performed on July 22.

The surgery went well as planned. The femur was cut and derotated and securely fixed in a position 40 degrees externally rotated from where he was. As well some tendons behind his knee were lengthened. The hardware is strong and can tolerate weight bearing. He is to keep his knee immobilizer on full time for 4 weeks then may remove it in the day time only for another 4 weeks after which time he does not need it. He also was given a plastic brace to help align the L foot which can be used as needed. He does not need anything special in the weeks to come and can begin some short distance (in house) walking with assistance as his pain permits. Starting in 4 weeks we can begin a more aggressive program of exercises and mobilization.

Thank you Dr Scott Nelson, you're in my debt.

The photo above is of my dear friend John Huizinga praying for the little guy before his operation. I'm so thankful that this tough hunk of a Canadian has a heart of a Saint. I know he loves Jason as much as I do. We also both share in our belief that God is a healing God.

This is Jason coming home after the op. Its too small an image, so what you can't see is that little Jason has obviously been crying. I got these photos sent to me whilst at work and I confess that I had to retire to the loo to have 'a moment'

I received an email last night from John which gave me the latest: I was in the village yesterday afternoon and checked in with our little buddy and thought I would send over a couple of pics. He is doing fine but will need some serious additional TLC for the next couple of weeks. Right now one of the most important things is to keep his redirected foot and leg in a somewhat straight position.

I can't do TLC from England. The frustration builds daily to return.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Little Jason

Yeah, that's right. There's no God.

See this extract from a wonderful friend in DR called John Huizinga

"Tomorrow morning we are leaving with Jason to Santo Domingo along with his mother and a few others. I feel so sorry for this little guy, his life is going to change so much in such a little time. We had a container arrive here last week with school and medical supplies on it and God is so GOOD, on it was a walker that has a seat in it that is used for people learning to walk and it is just Jason’s size. Blow me away! Please remember him in your prayers as he will be the one most affected. I will keep you in the loop and send pics when possible."

He feels the suffering of His children even more accutely than we do. But he's given us freedom of choice. Its us that's messed up this world, not Him. But with His help, we can do our bit to change it. Go on, brighten up someones day today!

Just an update on the playground: I've been able to wire the first £3,000 out to DR. Just another £3,000 to go! Can you help??

Monday, 7 July 2008

The School

We're like a couple of proud parents!

I've been back two weeks now and I still miss the DR so much. I find myself looking at photos, and emailing my new American friends. Even music which I heard whilst out there is being played on the CD. Just something, anything to keep the link going.

OK, So I'll have to focus on raising the funds to get our school accredited. So far I have raised £2,350 which has broken the back of it. Much of this down to the wonderful generosity of a dear lady client, friend and true exponant of generous giving! (You know who you are!)

Anyway, here's some great news which we have had from the USA. Remember little Jason. Well, if not, here's a photo of the lad!

Jason's getting his operation and the cost of both this and the rehab has been covered by our U.S. friends. Bless you guys!

Its these acts of kindness which so strike me. I often need reminding of that which is important to me, as my spending habits do not always reflect this. Take yesterday, I was up in London running in the 10k marathon, and afterwards I saw that there was a sale in Selfridges. I'm not averse to spending £70 on a nice shirt, yet I know that that £70 could buy so much more than a bit of false status. Its interesting that the 'pressure' of clothes is just not a problem for the children of los Algadones.
'Hand me downs' serve just as well as Armani's!

I gave Selfridges a miss. Remind me of this at the start of the football season when I'm looking at turning the event into a fashion show. Will I still be as strong!

Saturday, 28 June 2008


Touched down at Manchester Airport at around 4am Thursday morning. Was in the arms of the woman I love by 7.30. So lovely to see her lovely smile, to feel her close to me, to see those sparkling eyes! And my kids, and my dog! (in roughly that order!)

I have to say that before this trip I was ready to 'pass the baton' on to the Americans and move on to a country closer to home. However, I leave with an even greater love for the Haitian and Dominican people. I cannot let this country go and God has obviously placed it on my heart for a reason. Truthfully, I would up sticks and move there tomorrow, but I know this is not right. I know this for three reasons: Debbies current Mormon faith, my sense of calling about my business and most importantly because I don't hear God telling me to go. I feel like an inverse of Jonah. I want to be called to go to the city of Ninevah! However I also believe in God's perfect timing, so don't completely write it off.

I consider the trip a success because the Americans (to a man and woman) embraced the country. As a church, they have committed to the DR for the next three years which means valuable financial input as well as wise counsel and manpower.

I was inspired by the individual acts of kindness which I witnessed by the Americans. These included the offering of payment for treatment of two different patients at the Hospital for the poor in Puerta Plata by two women moved by their plight. Christ in action at a personal level. Nothing to do with Church.

So what's next for me? I have a little project to keep me going. Its not as big as raising the £55,000 for the school, but its still important: Although anyone can set up a school, so people can learn to read and write, a school that is accredited by the government carries much more weight and gives the pupils who finish, something 'official' to show a potential employer. For a school to be accredited, what our school needs is a place for recreation (a playground to you and me) and a secure fence around the perimeter. All this for a mere £6,000.

This is my next challenge!

Would you like to help me in this? All donations gratefully received. Send me your cheques to 'Trinity Ministries' at the office address (Block 6c, Cedar Court, Parkway, Porters Wood, St Albans, Herts, AL3 6PA)

Nice one!