I moved to Lewisham, London in June, and much has happened since then.
I got job as a supply teaching assistant with vibe. Then term ended. But luckily I got a part-time job as a courtyard curator at The Artworks UK, Elephant & Castle. This job and busking help me offset my financial losses and keep me going until September when I'll star teaching again. Its still a net loss in savings, since I've been rather lazy when it comes to buksing, and I only worl Friday and Saturday night, but, I'm suriving somehow.
The Artworls is a great place to work, and sometimes I get to do a few tunes on the stage or serenade people at their tables. Who could ask for a nicer job? Shame its Friday and Saturday nights when I want to be doing gigs.
I also started displaying my artwork in the Easles Art Market every Saturday at the Artworks.
I met a proffessional busker and promoter called Steve Broe, and he's lent me his busking amp and given me a lot of support, including getting me some gigs in the Silver Bullet, Finsbury park, The Old Dispensary and a few other places. We've had good days busking in Shoreditch, Bromley and elsewere.
Somewhere I have a photo of us jamming at a Somwereto party in the Grow Elephant Community Garden, but I can't find it!
Another great person and abolutely world class musician I've me is Shem Jarrold, aka Tamarugo, a violinist who is also learning Indian classical on the zaringy. He came to the first Worldwide Welshman Guerilla Street Jam on South Bank which happened this summer (in July?).
The best thing about being in London has been getting back with my old band, Timestealers. We got together again to prepare for the wedding of our friends Dave and Emma, for which we prepared a multi-lingual, transglobal, two hour set of popular covers and our own Timestealers 'classics' from our uni days. The wedding, in a beautiful family home in the countryside near Towbridge, went really well! Here is a picture of us shaking it like a polaroid picture, in a polaroid picture.
Clockwise from top right: Nick Wood - bass, Jess Rubio - flute, Beccy Swinn - vocals, Paul Murray - vocals, trumpet, guitar, Liam Rickard - vocals, guitar, keyboard, Adam Brown - drums
Just over a week later (last Tuesday night, 18th August) Paul, Nick, Adam and I played a cracking set in Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, as a "featured artist" in the Plugged in Switched On open mic.
Then on August 22nd Paul organised a jam/gig in Hyde Park and we invited lots of friends, including the newlyweds Dave & Emma!! The music and crowd drew passers by too. The other musicians were my regular bandmates and collaborators Paul, Sion and Nick, and Paul's new friends Fraser (cahon) and Simon (beatbox).
Another memorable music moment was when the Timestealers and I went back to Nottingham for a gig supporting Cheshire & the Cat. The gig was good and the crowd reacted very positively, and Cheshire and the Cat were excellent too! But the best part was after the gig when I walked past a Roma accordion player. He was brilliant! He was playing Lambada a.k.a Llorando Se Fue which is one of my standards. I passed him again after eating a kebab with Nick and Paul, and he started playing Hava Nagila, so I had to get out my guitar and join in. He was very welcoming and invited me to plug into his PA, and we got a bit of a crowd. Paul joined us on trumpet. We did a lot of great gypsy pop classics. He's called Sebasitain, check him out if you go to Nottingham High Street. Lovely guy, great musician.
So that's just a few highlights of the life of Worldwide Welshman. Now I'm going off with Paul Murray to the Small World Festival in Kent to play in the Tribal Voices area. Exciting times ahead!
The shorter version and Spanish translation of this blog can be found on http://childfund.internationalservice.org/ translated by my Bolivian teammate, Emma.
Written on Thursday 5th Feb 2015
Overview of ICS Bolivia structure:
There are 24 short-term British volunteers (one who is Polish actually) split into four teams who work with different project partners: Childhood & Youth Empowerment (with Childfund); Volunteer for Inclusion (with Best Buddies), Urban Agriculture (with Focapaci) and the project formerly known as Zebras for a Silent La Paz (although they’re no longer working with the government’s zebras scheme as far as I know).
Each team has two team-leaders, one “Bolivian” and one “British”… I use “” because the team leaders are actually from Spain, Italy, El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia and the UK but are all based in the UK or Bolivia. Each team also has two long-term local volunteers, who are mostly from La Paz, who are students around our age. They are called “coperantes” and they play leading roles in the projects. Since the start of this cohort, more Bolivian volunteers have joined the ICS programme, including my host-cousin who lives in my district, Bolognia.
Every week, one member of each of the four project groups has to create a blog. This week is my turn! In our introductory week, an Oxford educated journalist from Bolivia Express came to the office to give us a communication workshop to help us make better blogs. It was very interesting and inspiring. He said that writing methodically about what you’ve been doing may be interesting for you, your friends and your family, but it isn’t really going to make your article stand out. He said you should think of a subject and write about that. I thought of many interesting topics. Here are a few:-
Blog idea 1: Is the image of a socialist and green Bolivia, projected by Morales´s government, correct?
“Suma K’amaña” is an Aymara saying which roughly translates as “live well”. Some people have attributed socialist and ‘green’ ideas to this phrase, suggesting it means to live in a modest way that doesn’t take too much from the planet or from your fellow humans. The other ancient idea that goes together with modern environmentalist thinking is the idea of respecting “pacha mama” – mother earth.
The left-wing Bolivian government talk a lot about these ideas, but of course some people believe it is only talk and that the government doesn’t act on what they say, or they’re not honest. Others would say that they are doing all they can and that it takes a long time to undo the damage of the previous right-wing or neo-liberal governments. I cannot comment because ICS is impartial, and also I have no idea; it’s all perspective and opinion. But a good article could be written discussing these points:-
–Is Pacha Mama being respected in modern Bolivia, in reality? Most of the country’s income is from selling natural gas (unsustainable), and people rely heavily on cars to get around the city (there are virtually no pedal bikes).
–The Bolivian government claims to be socialist, but how true is this? There is very high inequality, and unfortunately there isn’t a decent affordable public healthcare system (so I’m told). I was interested to learn that there is a new class of wealthy Aymara who live in colourful mansions…once you’re rich, do the “traditional, indigenous” ideals of living well but not too extravagantly go out of the window somewhat (did the ancient Amerindians even have these ideals or has it been attributed to them later)? After-all, whatever our ethnicity, all humans are pretty much the same.
I don’t know any of the answers, I can only speculate. I´d need to do research and interview people, and even then all I’d end up with are a lot of different points of view. And ICS is impartial, so it would be hard to write about this even if I had done the research.
Blog idea 2: Islam in Bolivia
There are two mosques in La Paz, and at least one in El Alto. At a time when a lot of Muslims are being attacked and discriminated against (by radical Islamophobic groups and ‘Islamic’ extremists like Daeash) I thought it would be interesting to find out how the small Islamic community in La Paz are getting on (and I’d conceived other questions such as “what disagreements led to there being two mosques in La Paz?”). But when I rang the bell of Mezquita As-Salam this morning, there was nobody in. So this is not the topic of my blog (but maybe a future blog).
Enough about what I’m not writing about. How about I write about what work I’ve done with International Service, which is probably what you wanted to know in the first place.
Overview of the “Childhood & Youth Empowerment” group’s work
The team I’m in is working in three after-school education centres, funded and part-managed by the Bolivia contingent of the United States based charity, Childfund. After school, many children in La Paz have nowhere to go, and some are locked in their homes for safety. These centres provide a safe learning environment where the children can go after school for further classes, games and fun, educational activities. Some centres even provide day care for pre-school children.
The task of this cohort is to design learning modules for each centre addressing areas specified by the centre. These are: Citizen Security, Leadership & Empowerment, and Nutrition & Sport (this is the one I’m doing with Las Lomas centre). As well as delivering the classes, we should try and package & present them in a way that can be reused easily in the future. We’ve also been asked to do this for the modules that previous cohorts have designed. It’s not sustainable if it can only be delivered once by one set of individuals.
My group´s work so far (Las Lomas Centre – Nutrition & Sport)
I’m working with two young women, one Scottish and one Bolivian, and they both live very near me in our neighbourhood, Bolognia, in the Zona Sur of La Paz. Since we started, another Bolognia girl has joined our team, my host family’s cousin. She’s a vegetarian, which is a little tricky here in La Paz (most people seem to include meat/chicken in every meal, but there are some vegetarian restaurants, and I assume that, like in the UK, food consciousness is growing). It´s a good team and we seem to be quite productive (especially the long-term Bolivian volunteer who is a powerhouse – she studies for her University degree every evening on top of her ICS work).
We’ve written a script about a sweet potato who gets bullied in school by the other potatoes for being different. But she’s helped by a friendly carrot. In episode 2 the carrot gets kidnapped by some gangster onions. This is a puppet show to teach 4 – 6 year old children about “peace culture” values and the benefits of different fruits & vegetables. We made the puppets from card, foam and other bits & bobs. We also came up with some songs, and there will be a dance which the children will perform in a final event. The theme song is currently “Me gusta la [verdura], Me gustas tu” – a new fruit & vegetable version of the famous Manu Chao song. We are focusing on fruit & veg because they are the foods most lacking in people’s diets.
The final event will be a sports day, “The Hungry Games,” which the 8-12 year old group will help plan. The 15-18 year olds will be in charge of preparing healthy snacks and smoothies. The lessons also include games, talking about sports people, drawing activities, planting vegetables, meditation & stretches, and of course practicing sports for the sports day.
We were supposed to deliver our first class in Las Lomas on Monday afternoon but there were only two children so the centre said there was no point giving the class. It was the first day back at school so families were only just enlisting, and there will be more next week. They told us to return the following day and deliver a special two our session. The very productive Bolivian girl in our team planned the session and we arrived on Tuesday afternoon to deliver it, but again there were not enough children – only four and they all had other things to do. So we will have to cram our five sessions into four or just drop the last session. The sports day is going ahead though!
Other than the classes, the whole team finished off a mural done by the previous cohort in Las Lomas on the Monday morning. On Wendesday I went with some of our group to the Avance centre in Chasquipampa (even further out than Bolognia) to draw a mural about citizen security on an inside wall of the centre. I had help from a fellow artist who we drafted from the Urban Agriculture group. He also lives in, guess where: Bolognia! He stays with the other Welshman and the mother of my host-father, in the same complex as our host-cousin who I mentioned before. She helped with the drawing too, and so did a little girl from the centre.
On our Action Friday, coming tomorrow as I write this, volunteers from all four project groups, and lots of local kids, will attempt to paint my wall sketches. The other artist(s) and I do our best to ensure it turns out well, and I’ll try not to be too much of a perfectionist! It´ll be good fun.
And that´s what I wrote for the official blog, although I edited out the "blog ideas 1 & 2" in case they were too political.
The poster for our Action Friday - "the first values fair"
While I was sketching the mural, I popped into the class to play a few songs spanish language songs for the kids
Part of the mural I drew
On Friday 6th, after I wrote the blog, we had our team's action Friday. I was the master-painter of the Citizen Security mural in the Avance Centre. Lots of children and volunteers took part. Everyone came to me to ask what colour to use and where they should paint. I was mixing colours and assingning parts to different children and volunteers. Everyone did an excellent job, and they were very careful and thorough. Their bits were better than mine to be honest!
Day 3. 13th Jan 2015
This morning, I went to the Teleferico with Myles and Joe. We were flowed by some friendly street dogs. Myles said that they look like "proper dogs"....they´re such mongrels that they are the most efficient and sensibly shaped dogs you can get. I agree, all dogs should be mongrels, all that breeding nonsense is inhumane. Yeah, they look cool and have useful skills, but they also get all sorts of genetic diseases because they are products of a small gene pool!
Street wise dogs! They know how to cross the road.
On the green line of "Mi Teleferico". I love it. It connects the generally poorer El Alto with the wealthier Zona Sur. The majority of El Alto´s population are the indeginous Aymara people - "indios" - who previously tended to be poorer, and in Zona Sur there are more people classed as "blancos" or "mixtos" who are generally more wealthy. It would have previously taken hours to travel from El Alto to Zona Sur (across La Paz) but on the cable car it is about 45 mins (I think, I haven´t yet travelled the full length of it).
Its a shame, but not unsurprising, to learn that there has historically been a divide between majority indeginous peoples and the mixed and white population in Bolivia. Of course it was the Spanish collonisers and their decendents who had the most wealth, and the Aymara, Quechua and other indeginous people who suffered racial discrimination (like in North America, Australia & NZ, Israel, the Western Chinese provinces, and plenty of other places).
President Evo Morales, the first American president of indeginous decent, has made it illegal to discriminate against the indeginous people, and now there is a growing class of more well off and empowered indegionus people. The teleferico has allowed the poorer people of El Alto access to the fancy middle class mall in the south (obviously I think the Mall is horrible....but I guess if I was Bolivian I´d see it as a modern, interesting, international, sophisticated, North American style place; and it provides jobs too). This has caused some people (probably an angry minority) to get annoyed that their fancy, middle-class bit of sophistication is now being invaded by dirty, unsophisticated, uneducated poor people. But the prejudice isn´t one sided. I´m told that the indegionus people are racist against the people of white and mixed discent, and some of them now have the power to act on their racism and negatively discriminate! In conclusion, all racisim is totally frustrating and unwelcome in the world, and even putting people into racial groups and social classes (which even I do) is a lot of unhelpful, arbitrary nonsense.
To me, the teleferico is a great idea, because it´s a sustainable and energy-efficient way to get around the city (although I haven´t looked at the maths), and because it allows the ´poor´ and ´rich´areas to mix. But the criticisms are thus:
1. Pres. Morales spend all that money on this shiny, andvery visible, infrastructure project that will win a lot of votes, but the average Bolivian still doesn´t have access to decent state health care (apparently, you have to go private if you want to live, and that´s very expensive). Similar with the schools, so I´m told.
2. You can see into people´s yards and houses. Especially in the rich district. There is a modernist glass and concrete mansion whose occupants had to put curtains on all of their enormous floor to roof windows, because you could see through the whole house from the teleferico. I know it must have been awful for that family, but on the whole, I´m with benefiting the majority at the exense of a few wealthy people´s abundance of natural light, view and privacy. Because they have that house I assume that they must generally be lucky in life and live comfortably, so a bit of bad luck which meant they had to always have the curtains down in their house isn´t going to do them too much harm.
Hey, what do I know? I am speculating based on only snippets of information! Make your own minds up.
This day we went on a city tour with the Bolivian volunteers in our group. It was good fun. They thought it would be funny to see us feed the pigeons. It was.
Cultural day & ´treasure hunt´ in the city! It was a race to arrive at different places, do challenges and get back to the office. My team came last actually, haha! This was a super fun day.
Had a kind of a date (but not quite, just kind of a few mates at a viewpoint really) with a beautiful young woman UK volunteer! I felt a bit like, "oh what should I say, I need to get her to talk" which is the sort of thing I might think on a date, so that´s why I say it was kind of a date. But she might disagree, who knows! And there were actually 4 of us. OK, I am using wishful thinking to stretch the definition of date. Hmmm I don´t think I should include this bit in the blog, what if she reads it!!! Or any other women for that matter. But all you lads out there will find it funny I hope.
The Romantic Viewpoint
Outside the office in the late morning
Lots of the volunteers started going to the clinic with altitude sickness of other things! This is when we started dropping like flies. One lovely fella from South Wales had a mysterious leg infection, and his roommate (who I´ve already mentioned) had appendixitis! They live in my district, Bolognia. Eveyone in our district has been ill and in the clinic except my roomate, Joe.
Today I ate Salteneas (pasties) for lunch with my team. My host family told me on Friday when I was ill "oh, salteneas, oh no!!" cos apparently they can make you ill (if eaten after midday).
The team and I went to meet the Childfund Bolivia coordinator. On the way back my teammate Kendall and I bumped into my host mum and two of my host brothers, so we got a lift home with them.
Day 6, Friday 16th Jan 2015
Had a very inspiring and interesting talk from an Oxford educated Bolivian Jounralist who spoke English with a perfect English accent. He taught us about hunting for a good story, and using that for your blog, and using yourself as one of the characters. I am certainly one of the characters in my blog, but he did say that simply writting a daily journal of what you´ve done isn´t going to get you noticed. So, I need a story! He said that you could get interviews with seemly hard to get people if you are confident and ask in a certain way. Today I decided I would interview Evo Morales.
At lunch time I met some local people in the Plaza Espana. The first was the shoe shiner who came up and started doing my shoes, although I didn´t ask him too. He asked for "diez dollares" which was nonsense. I gave him 10Bs. Then the street-seller lady on her break said "solo es 1 Boliviano" and she said he was a bad man, and God would judge him. She told me to take care. She said it was the Puruvians who were the badly behaved ones that rob you (hahaha, people, eh!). And we conversed in Spanish, and I got the gist of it more or less!! My Spanish is coming on well.
On the telifrico, got sick into a bag. After arriving home, went to the clinic. Had a painful injection into my backside. We get very good treatment with out Health Insurance paid for by the UK government. Thanks everyone.
Day 7, Saturday
Dance practice with my Bolivian family and the volunteers who live nearby with my host father´s mother and sister. Everyone is out of hospital!
I felt better, so I went with the others to the city centre and we walked through a super cool veg market!!
We met some of the other volunteers by Iglise San Fransisco. We were brousing touristy shops and I ended up buying a nice alpaca hoodie for 100BS (ten quid...probably should have bargained that one down a bit). Had a spot of lunch. Only rice for me, sadly, to help my recovering stomach.
After lunch I got out my guitar, of course, and played "VOLARE, OH OH" (the Gypsy Kings version).
Dead stuffed llama
We met a friendly world-trotting Hungarian and played music with him, loudly, with the help of Myles on drums and Ellie on maracas, and everyone else on backing vocals (but I think it was mainly me singing, in Spanish and Welsh). He sells bracelettes, charms and things like that on the street. And he had just started learning to play the charango. I will get one of them for sure.
In the evening, myslef and the Bolognia crew met our host families and went shopping for costume´s to hire for our performance the following day.
It took ages but we had a good laugh. I ended up playing my guitar on the street again and we all sang "Valerie" by the Zuttons. We went for dinner in the megacentre, and my poor host family had to cope with me winging about it (not badly winging, but I did mention a few times that I´m not keen on eating junk food in overpriced mall-type places). Hey, the food was fine, and we had a lot of fun!
Day 8, Sunday, the family induction day
A really fun day where we met all the other host families, ate nice food, chatted, filled in a few forms, heard some important lectures and saw performances from each family. The best bit for me, of course, was when we did our dance! After we´d repeated the only two steps we´s learnt for about half the song, I decided we should branch out and improvise a bit, so we got into a circle, and I signalled to Myles to throw his hat in the air. He thought I meant "dance in the middle" so he did a bit of freestyle in the centre of the circle. Then I threw my hat to him and we all started throwing hats. I guess some people thought it was all planned. Man, that was a tiring dance at such high altitude!!
I stayed well within my character and got out my guitar after lunch (I got it out after the midmorning snack too). I pretended to be a local musician called Pedri and played a Puruvian and a Bolivian song. Then we went outside and did spanish Kareoke with a whole host of polular latin billboard hits from yesteryear!
Now finally we start the work that I was sent here to do! Induction and settling in was important and fun, but we´re actually here to help International Service carry out its mission of building a better world by "capacity building" i.e. empowering people with various social projects. Sustainable development.
Of course before we could really get into it there were some flippin´ risk assessments to fill in, and a fun icebreaker where we all got to tell a brief version of our life story. And we met out new Bolivian team member!
There was a public holiday coming up on Thursday, and we had Friday off because of the family induction day on Sunday, so we all arranged to go to the salt flats. That meant two days of work, Tuesday and Wednesday, then off for a three day tour of Salar de Uyuni and the surrounding deserts, mountains, lagoons and flamingos. I will do a post about this at some point. But I assure you that now we are in week 3 and the projects are taking shape.
My group (3 of us from the Childhood and Youth Empowerment project) will have part one of our musical puppet show about nutrition and sport for 4-6 yr olds ready in time to perfrom it this coming Monday in our centre, Las Lomas. And we have all 5 lessons planned out for the 4-6, 8-12 and 15-18 yr olds. We aim to work towards a sports day and teach them about nutrition and healthy living along the way, with a lot of songs and games.
As well as designing and delivering these classes (the others are doing the same for two more centres), we must try to package our lessons and previous lessons into easily repeatable material that can be delivered yearly by the permenant staff.
So lots to be getting on with! My next blog entry will be for the official Int.Service page, and it will be about a topic rather than just "what I did". Maybe I'll interview Evo (not realistic) or go to La Paz's mosque and find out about the small Muslim community here (could be done). Or maybe I'll just write about our puppet show. Good night from La Paz!
Thanks for reading,
Liam 29/01/2015, 12.23a.m
All views are the views of the author, not of ICS or International Service. This is a personal blog and has not been accredited or supported by ICS or International Service. All photos are by Liam Rickard except the photos of him, which were taken from facebook.
The 11th cohort of International Citizen Service volunteers arrives in El Alto, a city which is connected to the capitol of Bolivia, La Paz. We had arrived in Santa Cruz after a long-haul overnight flight from Madrid.
El Alto looks completely different to La Paz. It is completely flat. There are many shaby and unfinished buildings, and it seemed quiet (it was a Sunday morning). We were met at the airport by the head of the ICS programme at Servicio International Britanico and one of the Bolivian volunteers.
We stopped to look at the view and I picked up a 20 Boliviano note from the floor! (about 2quid)
We arrived at the office, met everyone, had coca tea, then were met by our host families. Joe and I went by car with our host mother to her home in Bolognia. There we met the rest of the family; her husband, their three sons, 17, 12 and 5, and their 2 dogs and 2 cats. We all went round the corner for dinner in our host father´s mother´s house where our fellow volunteers, Lloyd, Myles, Jules and Taylor live. We met cousins, aunties and uncles. The food was good too. Pasta, rice, potatos, some new root veg, plantain, chicken and a small amount of veg. The qunatity of veg in meals has since gone up. It was low at the start because the host families had been told we should avoid fruit and veg for the first 2 weeks. Despite following all the advice, I still got ill in the first week and was in the clinic on Friday! Most of the other volunteers got ill too. My roommate Joe is the only volunteer in Bolognia, our little area, not to get ill! Our mate Myles got appendixitis of all things and was in the clinic for 3 days!!!
But I´m jumping ahead...
Day 2, Monday
We were accompanied to the office by two local volunteers, Adri and Alijandro who live in our district. Minibus to the Amarillo Teleferico on Obrajes 1 (MI TELEFERICO is the name of La Paz´s BRAND NEW CABLE CAR!!). Then a 5 min hop up the hill, skipping lots of winding roads, over buildings, past an army barracks all the way to the office, which is literaly across the road from the teleferico stop. The young women who work on the teleferico are gorgeous! And everyone is so friendly (sorry for commenting on women´s looks, I guess that could be taken as derogatory, but I don´t mean to be).
We had an intense day. Some rather heavy intro stuff about why we´re here and what there is to do. To me Bolivia looked pretty sorted on paper, but there are infact a lot of problems (unsuprisingly, why else would we be here?) I realised that the problems here and elsewhere in the world were mainly the result of human ineptitude. This is not a fact, it´s just how it seems to me. And it´s quite annoying to me to think that if only people were thoughtful and considerate, then the world would be a much better place. We had a cracking lunch of chicken, rice, potato and plantain, then more important training and induction stuff. After leaving the office we went to the Blueberries cafe. I sat outside and sketched with Myles and a beggar came and asked us for money. I said I´d give him money if he´d let me sketch him. He kept trying to look at the sketch, which made it hard. So I asked to photograph him. But as soon as I gave him the money he ran off. Cheeky bugger. I gave him a wopping great 20Bs. (I was still thinging in British money, and I had picked up 20 the other day, so what goes around comes around. He needed it more than me.)
Bolivian smoking outside Blueberries Café
It had gotten late, and the rain caused the teleferico to stop. So we had to find another way home. Raquel and Eric from the office helped us to get the right bus. After waiting for a while for a Bolognia bus I remembered Adri´s instructions that actually a direct bus was rare and we had to change. After I remembered that I managed to lead out group home.
I had five leaving do´s:
1. Sunday 4th at the Blue Bell open mic in Conwy. Absolutely cracking as ever, and many of my North Wales friends came. My guitar was out of tune and the electrics were faulty, but nevertheless, the house band and I gave the audience a little bit of a latin-flavoured pop-rock dance party (Manu Chao, La Bamba, Livin´ La Vida Loca etc).
2. Wednesday, Sessiwn Fach at the Ealges, Penmachno. Great fun as ever, with great people.
The good people behind the Blue Bell, Eagles and Cross Keys open mics all helped me with my fundraising, thank you to all of you, organisers and punters!
3. I set off early on Thursday morning with a big suitcase, medium backpack and guitar, to catch the train to Birmingham (I cheated slightly and got a lift to Junction with my Dad). There, I saw more wonderful friends and we had lunch in a social enterprise vegetarian cafe, the Warehouse Cafe. My brther-from-another-mother Mr G came down from Sheffield too. After lunch, went into a cathedral and then to explore the amazing new library, designed by the Dutch architect Francine Houben (and an excellent team of course). It was really wonderful. My friends and I had loads of exciting ideas about starting social enterprises, hippie/artist world changing commune/organisations/bands....its all a bit messy and unclear in my head to be honest, but I´m going to do it somehow! Birmingham is well and truly on the list of possible places to live after coming back from Bolivia.
4. In the evening I went to see my brother and relatives in Hemel Hempstead. On Friday, my brother and I went to London and met Paul and his sister in Elephant & Castle (you know him, he co-writes and co-fronts the band Timestealers with me). We played music and entertained some people who were having a party in one of the bars in Artworks UK (a kind of artsy retail place for independant businesses made out of shipping containers, its our new London hang-out).
There are a lot of neat conicidences in my life (I guess there are in everyone´s). Thas night, I added one to my theoretical book of coincicences:
The party-goers were mostly doing the "National Citizen Service" which is related to the scheme I´m doing. One of their team leaders had previously been a team leader for International Citizen Service in Bolivia, working with exactly the same charity as me!
5. Rather last minute, I had arranged to meet up with my friends in Madrid. I met them in terminal 1 and we played guitar, sang, danced and chatted. It was a lovely end to a great week. Madrid went on my list of places to go after Bolivia.
Liam Rickard is a musician & illustrator from North Wales, performing multilingual, global-alt-pop, party music and comedy under the name Worldwide Welshman.