I’m not a person for romantic comedies. Or historical dramas, or soap operas. Or unlikely murder mysteries in unlikely English villages.

My favourite Christmas movie is Die Hard and my favourite series are The Sopranos and The Wire. I just love that tough nitty-grittiness. So – just as I had somehow missed Beethoven – it is surprising that I managed not to watch ‘Narcos’, even though everyone who knows me told me I’d love it. So what better to do in the time of Corona that start to watch that magnificent series. We had already talked about Escobar, or rather his hippos, in a lesson last term:

Once, I had a student from Colombia and all that I knew about his country was drugs.

It was a bit like the time when a group of ladies, refugees, knocked on our door and asked if they could pick up the walnuts lying around on our grass. Well yes of course they could and since then they turn up every autumn and fill four or five huge sacks with walnuts. The first year I asked them where they were from, and they said “Syria”, and all I could say was that I was so sorry about what was happening in their country.

The following years the ladies came again, bringing Cookies for us to try.

You all know I have the best students in the world, who kindly give me presents for my birthday, and Christmas, and end of term. Well, a few years ago Student K asked if, instead of another gift, I wouldn’t like money, to donate to a charity of my choice. What a brilliant idea, yes I certainly would.

Since that time we – they – have funded so many projects in so many different part of the world. We had a lesson about Botswana a few years ago and that led to us sponsoring long-term a child in an SOS children’s village in Botswana. We – they – have paid for toilets to be built in India, orang utans to be saved on Borneo, books to be delivered by bike in Rwanda, polio vaccinations in Afghanistan, and loads and loads of Micro-Financing via KIVA.

Yesterday KIVA sent me an email saying that I had $32 repaid, and would I like to re-lend it? It’s always such fun to choose a KIVA Project – by region, by area (agriculture/education/retail) – and yesterday I knew that I wanted to make a loan to somebody in Colombia.

I had spent the evening before chatting with my daughter in law about tiles in the bathroom for the old house she and my son are doing up.

Follow their progress here: https://www.instagram.com/bremerhaus_79

So it was an easy choice when I read about Maria, in Colombia, who was applying for a loan to

“buy tiles, adhesive, bathroom tiles and paint, among other items, to make improvements to apartments she rents to others.”

And here’s Maria in Colombia, loan now completed in part thanks to VHS students in Landkreis Verden 🙂

Nothing’s gonna bring us down!

The Cabin Fever part




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