What about Post A Week didn’t I understand?

I’ve steered off course and now have too many balls in the air. I’m exhausted physically and back to my old ways of not enjoying and appreciating the precious moments I have. I should be ashamed.

Fortunately, I find that doing these “reviews” of my progress generally prevents me from going too far in the wrong direction. The symptoms have amplified over the last few weeks. When I’m reading to catch up on my studies, my mind strays to the possibilities of my next blog post. When I’m writing my next post, my head does permutations of strategic options for my current marketing campaigns at work. I worry that I’ve taken on too much and I see no escape in sight. Therefore, I’ve revisited my application for Post A Week on WordPress. Since I started in January, I have been posting at least 2 times a week consistently because of my impulse to give 110% to everything. I don’t regret it– it got me closer to my readers. However, it’s post a week, ladies and gentlemen. I will only post a week from now on.

I may be talking rubbish. You may indeed find me posting thrice a week at some point. It will mean that I’m back to my old self-frustrating ways. Most people run on blood but once in a while, I get a drum of diesel. Like a wind-up doll, I can be impulsive, energetic and unstoppable until of course, the wind gets knock out of me.  I want to be reaffirmed in who I am not what I do or achieve.Welcome to an instalment of one of those times when I run out of my diesel and reach for a pint of blood.

“Te Amo” means I love you- Giving warmth to the children of Peru (Part 2)

“I interviewed Alison Mcquillin a week ago. The first part of the interview describes how Te Amo came to be. The second part below describes what her vision is for the International outreach. Although Alison is clearly modest in her aspirations, it is glaring that Te Amo is a tremendous blessing and that the effect of that blessing will remain for generations to come….”

—-INTERVIEW Cont’d—-

Kemi. What does it feel like to be able to provide this gift to those kids?

Alison. Providing the simple gift of a jumper stirs up so many feelings! It breaks my heart that children suffer in this way, but it also fires and slightly angers me that this is the case. Honestly, I wish that there was more that I could do, I just want to give each of them the biggest hug and tell them that it’ll all be ok.  But the thought of them wearing the little jumpers gives me peace that these vulnerable children will experience love.

Kemi. How long has Te Amo existed? Where do you see Te Amo going in the next few years?

Alison. Project Te Amo has only been going since February but I hope that it will continue as a form of outreach at City Church. We hope to expand to other parts of Peru, for example the mountain children in Cusco as well as other countries in South America. Next stop, the World!

Kemi. How can folks get involved? Do they need any special skills?

Alison. Anyone can get involved from novice knitters to those who could do it standing on their heads with their eyes closed! Any willing volunteers can get in touch with myself, Kathleen or James Gregory. Kathleen or myself will set you up with a very simple pattern as well as wool and needles if you need. We have just been donated a whole load of wool and need more keen knitters to pick up those needles! If you really can’t/won’t knit but would like to help out, we will be sending the jumpers out this summer and would be extremely grateful for donations towards postage!

Kemi. What is your one wish for those kids?

Alison. Above all else, I wish the children to be safe. Safe from having to sleep alone in dark alleys; safe from crime; safe from drug addictions; safe from fear.

Kemi. Do you believe your kindness will change their lives? How?

Alison. Almost all of the children living rough have been forced in some way or another to abandon their homes with parents, brothers and sisters and fend for themselves. Most of them have lost their childhoods by becoming glue sniffers, beggars, prostitutes…and now associate adults with pain and fear. I hope that Te Amo will remind them that there are people in the world that see them and want to show that they care. I may never know the impact that the jumpers will have on the lives of the children that will wear them, but I would like to think that they will believe the message that will be stitched to the collar of each one…te amo.

——

 

I'm halfway through the front of a jumper. Yaay!

 

I’m one of 15 knitters that will bless the life of a child with a beautiful jumper. I’m making space in my schedule to do this because I believe in children all over the world. I’m making progress as you can see above. Hopefully, I will get it all done by July when it gets sent off to Peru. So exciting!!

Thanks for reading about Te Amo- it is close to my heart- Muaaah! 🙂

Project Te Amo can also be found on Twitter –

@ProjTeAmo or on Facebook.

“Te Amo” means I love you- Giving warmth to the children of Peru (Part 1)

“Alison Mcquillin is a beautiful young lady at my Church in Aberdeen. I recently got to talk to her about the charity, Te Amo that she established and runs. The interview with her was emotional for her and even as I go through it, it brings me close to tears. She is an inspiration to everyone who cannot sit by and watch innocent children suffer…..”

—INTERVIEW—

Kemi. What is the goal of Te Amo?

Alison. Project Te Amo is an international outreach which specialises in knitting jumpers for street children in Lima, Peru. It is a practical way of reaching out to those children who never or very rarely hear the words “te amo (I love you)”.

 
Kemi. What gave you the idea?

Alison. I was inspired by what someone told me at a conference for Latin Link, the charity that Te Amo supports. A lady told me: “you might be the only Jesus that these people will ever meet”.

Something clicked inside of me then…about just how true that statement was and I felt as though I was to start something to help children living on the streets of Lima, Peru. 

  I would consider myself as a person who cares in a practical way, so I knew that I wanted to help out the street children by doing something that they can really benefit from.

   When I was little, my grandmother regularly knitted me and my siblings jumpers for Christmas or Birthdays. My brother, sister and I loved to receive these gifts because our granny had taken so much time and care into making each one of them to fit up exactly, we had different colours reflecting our personalities, and it was her special way of saying “I love you”. This inspired me to start-up an outreach to children who very rarely, or never hear those words, “te amo”…I love you. I like to think that Te Amo is a way of showing the street children of Lima that there are people out there that love them dearly even though they cannot see us or will perhaps never meet us. Just like Jesus.

 

Left to Right: Kathleen & Alison with lovely knitted jumpers, ready to be posted to Peru.

Kemi. I know you are a student, how much time are you able to commit to it? Who works with you?

Alison. As a final year student, my timetable is quite hectic! As part of the worship and youth work teams I also find myself busy during the evenings with assessment deadlines creeping up behind me…! But I have been very blessed in that I have a large support network of people helping me. Especially Kathleen from church. She really is my Wonder Woman! As a novice knitter I really am unable to advise with patterns, or needles or wool, but Kath takes charge of that part.  We have about 15 volunteers knitting for us which is amazing! Project Te Amo is certainly not a “one woman show”, I am extremely grateful for the dedication of all who are involved.

Kemi. Have you ever visited Peru? What was it like?

 Alison. I visited Peru on short-term mission with Latin Link back in 2008. This was post-earthquake and we worked near the town of Pisco, just a few hours south of the capital, Lima. I was part of a team of 10 who helped construct a mother and child centre; ran church services and children’s work. As a town planning student, I loved the building project especially learning how to build a construction which would withstand another earthquake. It was a very humbling experience because even though the people we worked with had lost family, friends and their church in the quake, they were always so thankful and joyful.

To be continued….

 Project Te Amo can also be found on Twitter –
@ProjTeAmo or on Facebook

20 years on- Excuse my French!

I get a 4 out of 5 for effort!

When the Dailypost suggested writing about my favourite class at school, I immediately thought: French! I loved learning the language plus my teacher had a great sense of humor, which always helped tamper the irritation of those grammar mistakes. However, I wasn’t a champion French speaker. Again, it was one of those things I was average at.

My relationship with French started over 20 years ago. The language is still a challenge for me today, which is embarrassing. The words I can say, I say very well. I was in Pau, France last year and I ordered my meal in French. The waitress went off in a French paragraph for what felt like 10 minutes. I didn’t understand a word she said. Apparently, my initial French sentence was so good, she thought I was French. I have began to think about improving my French so I went into my archives to dig up the last official report from Dr. Watson dated 1992. He had this to say:

Kemi wants to do well in French and her keenness is refreshing. There are gaps in her grammar and her examination technique let her down a little. Still, broadly speaking, this is a sound start.

It’s unfortunate that almost 20 years later, I’m still broadly speaking, making a sound start. You’d think I’d be there by now. Nevermind the gaps in my currently non-existent grammar! C’est la vie (translation: This is life :)). I’m now looking for a French tutor and listening to Tony Buzan CDs for French Beginners. Anything to make Dr. Watson proud. At least, not much as changed since he last commented- my keenness is refreshing and I get a 4 for effort. I just need to get on with it and make progress- preferably in this decade.

Miss Tuck Shop- Strange dreams and the art in my living room

I had a strange dream the other day. I was walking past my old flat at University. Actually, I was skipping past, singing a song I can no more remember. I was very happy and excited about something- maybe a new boyfriend or perhaps the red sandals that were helping me skip along so swiftly. I say it was a strange dream for two reasons:

  1. I was hardly ever excited at Uni. Books were hard, life was complicated and anytime I spent being excited was time that I could use for studying.
  2. I was the girl in the dream but another me was watching.

It turned out that I was not skipping past my old flat. I didn’t live in that flat. It was a different me. This me was none-the-wiser to the pressures of being the best and leaving good impressions. In fact, the me that skipped past my old flat was the daughter of the woman who ran the tuck shop at the end of the road. Yes, I remember her.  She had no academic qualifications but she was always happy whenever I stopped by the shop.

Art in my living room (painted by D Agboola, 2007)

A painting in my living room remains me of her. Everyone who visits thinks it’s a painting of me. I take it as a compliment and then I smile and say, ‘No, it isn’t me.’ There’s something about her, isn’t there? She lures you in and keeps you there. I admire her stance. I love her trinkets and the confidence she exudes in her eyes. I often stare at the painting, trying to see me in her.  But like I said- she isn’t me. And pictures are static. It’s alright for her to always look confident. In the movement of life, confidence may fail. I aspire to confidence that is core who I am, what I represent and what I’m on earth for. I have a couple of ideas about what the grand plan might be and I’ve been thinking about these lately. Maybe that’s why I dreamt about Miss Tuck Shop. Perhaps any day now I’ll be skipping past my old failures, enthused about something new and exciting. There may even be a pair of lovely red sandals to look forward to!

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