24 October, 2014

Enjoy the trip!

Dear one and all! I've been doing a lot of writing in the last couple of months and I thought I may as well publish some of it. You never know, people might like it! I have loads of content but perhaps the most interesting is the stuff I've written since I left Sadhana, the reforestation project, two weeks ago. I decided to walk along the south coast and do some camping, cooking for myself and generally being free for a bit. It was fun!

Also, I'm so pleased to announce that the fundraising for Wood is going amazing! Please check it out and support it here.

... The thrum of a hummingbird in flight is indescribably gorgeous to witness but I will try. It's somewhere between beautifully delicate and impressively industrial in it's character. I was blessed to have one centimetres above my head I thought, at the time, eyeing up my glistening forehead for a drink. In reality she was hovering over her nest on the tip of a cactus, 'standing' guard.

I set off after dawn on Saturday, and it seems like an age ago. The solitude has gifted me huge expanses of time and pleasure, each minute hours of joy.

I was awake at 3:50 raring to go but perhaps a little keen as revellers were still chanting and stumbling home. Naturally I then drifted off and missed sunrise. It is a hot one and I'm sweating profusely already before half seven. I am determined to get further than my previous expedition before setting up camp, so I am retracing my westbound route for 3-4 hours. 

I stop regularly to cool off in the sea and rest my shoulders often. The pack seems hellishly heavy now, with 10 litres of water, pan and other items hanging off it. The cliffs are undoubtedly beautiful but seem duller today. I know it's only my mind striving for more, further, better. I push on.

Finally I pass my previous furthest mark and gleefully advance into cactus canyon, a little too hastily. Ten minutes later and I am dripping with sweat under the relentless spotlight and blood under the ruthless cactii fingers. This place is a cauldron of mindbending repetition and panic but I don't allow myself to. It is bloody hot though and I am advancing through walls of thorns without slowing at this point. 

I need any form of shade and to get this pack off me, but the plants are packed so murderously tight I cannot even squat in their slithering shadows. There is no breeze.

I bumslide down an outrageously sharp rock face and finally I'm out of it. I decide to stick closer to the ocean's side from now on, where cactii are fewer and walking is simpler!

I make a fire in the beach and cook lunch under the shade of a sheet I rig up to savey skin (and bodily fluid) from the glare. Salty sea driftwood spits horribly, in case you're interested. I swim read and make myself do a mental cliff drop of about eight metres which scares me senseless. I touch the top of a jelly fish the size of a football which terrifies and fascinates. It later stings me, bringing me up to four wasps stings and four jelly stings. It won't be the last! Haha.

That evening I drink a hot chocolate on the rocks and share the sunset with a lone bird who's silhouette clips the tops of the waves. To bed.

I wake to pain in my nipple, foot, and the crunching of stones. A man with a blazing torch is curiously poking at my ashes outside...

09 October, 2014

Help a Haitian get an Education

This is Wilner Rébéca, Wood to his friends. Wood is 25 years old and lives in Anse-a-Pitres, a large village on the south-east coast of Haiti on the border with the Dominican Republic. He speaks Creole, French, English and some Spanish and is a super positive, friendly guy.

Here in Anse-à-Pitres the houses are woven shacks clothed with rags or clay, the occasional unfinished concrete structure making an appearance. Water comes via a concrete channel which splits evermore scarcely and is dammed by rancid clothes and leaves. Food is, more often than not, US supplied rice and beans with a smattering of vegetables. Money earnt at sunrise is spent by sunset. In short - Haiti is a trap.

Until two years ago all Wood wanted was a way out: "Haiti is a poor country and there are no jobs here. When I am old and I can't work physical jobs anymore, what will I do?" 

But now he has a different stance: "To leave Haiti would be like seeing someone starting a fire, a fire which will harm many people, and just walking away." Wood wants to give back and help his people because, as he rightly says, Haiti has a lot of problems. His aim is to help through law, and for this he needs a degree.

His university of choice is in the capital, Port au Prince and the cost is 20,000 pesos a year, around £260, and he will need to cover the costs of supplies and transport. So we need to raise £400 per year to send him to university. And yet the ability to earn that kind of money here is extremely difficult. To do so whilst attending school every morning and studying at night - an impossibility. I am, with your help, going to get Wood to university.

I have never been one to mindlessly promote things I don't fully condone. The fact that I'm writing this is proof that I completely trust and believe in this man. He is undoubtedly very intelligent, we are the same age, and yet he is being held back only by the circumstances he was born into.

Yes, it's only one person. Yes, the problems are huge and far reaching here. But every journey starts with a single step and I won't be cowed by the bigger picture. I'm not asking for huge donations, I'm aware that people are barraged with monetary requests these days, but understand this : If everyone who reads this gives between £2-3 we can fund Wood through four years of law school.

How amazing would that be, what we could achieve together! An amount of money which can't even get you a cup of decent coffee in England will transform this man into a lawyer. A lawyer who can change things here.