DO supplies

Food being distributed at a DP Camp in Germany

There was always the threat of trouble, fighting, and deaths.  While he was there, there were several lynchings.  My father-in-law was part of the British Army of Occupation in Germany for two years.  On Displaced Persons camp control.  There were thousands of people in these camps, mainly Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Byelo-Russians, Ukrainians.  And a few French.  There was trouble in these camps and the soldiers were to keep order.

There were quite a few ex-SS men, and this led to considerable recrimination, violence and occasional murder.  The ex-SS men were identified where possible, and put in PoW camps for de-Nazification, and later release/or trial.  Some ex-SS were zealots, others had been just opportunists trying to get by during the war years. Read the rest of this entry »

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The men listen carefully, if sometimes noisily

In Haiti they say “Age and marriage tame the beast”.    But by the time I stood to speak to over 470 Haitian men on this, I knew that was only partially the case.  The Beast still lurked.  Perhaps it still lurks in all of us.

Getting Asked
British Aid is supporting the Hospital’s women’s reproductive health programme in the community.  As part of that, the Hospital organised a Men’s Conference – how men can support their wives and partners.  It covered antenatal care, supporting your wife/partner in the early months after birth, birth control, relationships.

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Gained in translation

Posted: 1 April 2017 in Business Systems, Haiti
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What on earth has Bill written here?

Lost in translation.  So much is.  The geographic and cultural distance is just so so great.  From my English-English into their schooled Haitian-French to mother tongue Creole thinking.

  • From their cash bookkeeping that is authorisation and fraud-control focussed
  • into my patterns of management accounting and forecasts. (Quite frankly my financial projections based on their figures must seem to them as just so much fiction. Leaps of Bill’s imagination.)

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Cinderella Service

Posted: 25 March 2017 in Haiti
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WanHCBH Chaplains.JPGt a hospital service that can: help the cure; needs no equipment, nor medicines, needs no electricity or internet, and runs on very little money?  Well I’m standing with them in the picture.  These are the Hospital Chaplains. A Cinderella service.

The Poor Relation
Here am I, in Hôpital Convention Baptiste d’Haiti, in Cap-Haïtien. Standing alongside the chaplains.  Pastor Yousvel (one of the senior administrators), Pastor Sadak, and Pastor Samuel (in the wheelchair- not a fashion statement).  Chaplaincy tends to be seen as a poor relation.

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Facing the Killers

Posted: 19 March 2017 in Prisons
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Chris Donovan

Chris Donovan was murdered on a suburban street one evening by people he did not know.  Not an attack by a hysterical lover.  Not a robbery gone wrong.  Not hit be crossfire in gang warfare.  Not a spiteful but unintentionally forceful punch.  This death is in the premier league of pointless killings.

Keep him alive
The parents keep him alive in the eyes of others who needed to meet the memory of him.  They told the tragic story to prisoners in HMP Millbank*.  I was there, helping lead a victim awareness course there (Sycamore Tree).

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The Crime Makes The Man?

Posted: 12 March 2017 in Prisons
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Chris Donovan

The late Chris Donovan

Like an Ian McEwan novel, one single event changes lives, utterly, forever.  But this is not fiction.  Two young men, brothers Chris and Phil go out to see their sister after a hard day at work.  They don’t come home that night.  One never comes back.

Chris and Phil were walking along a main road on their way, when they came face to face with a group of around fourteen youngsters, male and female. With no prior warning, no conversation, the boys started to punch, pushing the brothers to the ground.  Kicking, stamping on their heads. Phil was unconscious with a broken nose.  Chris unconscious was left deliberately in the main road. Cars swerved to avoid, but not all could.  Chris was hit by car and his mangled body dragged 40 feet down the road.  Chris died in hospital. Phil’s injuries still impact his life, even after all this time.  Chris’s body was so badly damaged that the mortician had to strap the body like an Egyptian mummy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Old girl Liz in old nick Newgate

I was handed a bag of cocaine this week.  Stuff that was being smuggled into prison, and in this case caught before sale. (I didn’t keep it). Cocaine, spice, mobile phones, even fast food.  Thrown over prison walls.  Smuggled it.  Or brought in by a few corrupt staff.  Prisoners – crooked and unredeemable?  And today an acquaintance piled it on.

Bill, aren’t your prisoners pulling the wool over your eyes when you go in?  Don’t you feel that they are conning you? Aren’t they just seeking to get “a good report” back to the prison authorities?

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