Held dear

July 11, 2006 at 9:28 pm (America)

I’m working in Camden, New Jersey with kids from backgrounds so unlike my own. They live in streets of boarded up houses with a smell of sewers and garbage over the streets. Their parks are dangerous places, theres no regional council out here that takes sharp edges off the swings, sprays away ant infestations or does the things we take for granted in the UK. Ice cream vans swing around at 4am, selling drugs I think.
“In my neighbourhood people die for no reason”
This is Americas most dangerous city, costing the state $1million a year consistantly to jail the occupants of one street alone. Thats tied only with one nearby city Newark. There aren’t enough parents to go round with almost half of the population under 25. Abuse is rife, and its hard to see how a kid can grow up in the ghetto without turning to drugs. There are exceptions, and not every family matches the reputation, some are just like your own but this is a picture of Camden.

Today we had a basketball game with the kids. We made them special shirts with their names and numbers. I walked up to a kid called Jonel and gave him his shirt – his face lit up so bright I wanted to cry and though I smiled back I had to look away for a second. They didn’t win their game but they loved to play it, and its a thing more beautiful than I can describe to watch them smile.

Tonight we’re holding a pizza party for the third graders. We’re gonna dress up like waiters and make a show of serving them, for fun. This is my very great privelege, my real and actual heart.


Permalink Leave a Comment

mon the celts

July 6, 2006 at 2:33 am (The cardboard Apollo 6 has given the all clear)

I saw this on Bloggers4Labour’s A General Theory of Rubbish 


My blog is worth $5,645.40.
How much is your blog worth?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Philadelphia Freedom

July 5, 2006 at 6:31 pm (America)

I’m in America at the moment. I’ve seen Ocean City, Philadelphia, stripey flags and riversharks playing  baseball. I’ve written almost a new story every day and felt all the more artistic for being somewhat introverted. I’ve learned that Americans can’t play Scrabble, not even a little bit, and that Big Macs are the same wherever you go. I’ve met cool folk, scottish folk, english folk and irish folk, good folk, hypocrites, feckless folk and psychology folk.

I’ve watched Superman Returns and drank root beer. But this isn’t why I came and the trainings over – the camp has begun so too does the real excitement.

Permalink 3 Comments