Maybe it is the writer in me. I don’t know, but in the same way as I got up in the middle of the night and scribbled Andrew William Lawton – AWL on a scrap of paper for no reason, that awful modern-day cliché, idiom or just downright lack of interest phrase “Sh** happens” has been rolling around in my head all week.

Mr AWL is clearly meant to feature in a story and he clearly needs to be heard, any similarity to a real person is unintentional and completely coincidental to the strange machinations of my feeble mind.

Sh** happens is more complex.

In my last post I rambled as ever and made a preliminary introduction to my new project here in Tanzania, Good Hope. I indicated there was an education programme currently teaching 26 children. As an aside this week the classes were closer to 33 most days due to the June school holidays and several local kids preferring to “join in” at a school rather than enjoy the free time as vacation.

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Please think about that attitude, what does it tell you?


Another part of the three mama’s work is community support, in this area they aim to help the needy, sick and HIV affected members of the community. I have had little or no contact with this area as yet, preferring to stay in the safety of the school and teach the kids rather than face coping with illness without medication, access to trained doctors, or proper nutrition. I identify trained doctors, to allow for the fact that there could be access to local witch doctors.

From the very first day I met the mamas, I was aware of and have been keeping abreast of one particular patient, Thomas. A boy, in his teens who was born with the “simple” congenital defect of a hole in the heart, I highlight the word simple as it is regularly used  in any google account of this condition. Those that know me well can hear the sarcastic sneer in my voice.

Recently the mamas arranged for this boy to travel to Dar es Salaam with his grandmother to visit a heart specialist. He has no mother or father to care for him. The doctors there prescribed medication and advised on surgery options.

India. Not even within Africa, India.

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Simple” congenital defect.


After this gruelling and difficult trip, we all had hope. The medication would stabilise his condition and we planned the life-saving trip to India  for March 2015, allowing time  to raise the considerable funding.

On Wednesday 18th June 2014 we lost Thomas unexpectedly, peacefully and tragically.

You know what?

Sh** shouldn’t happen.


Thomas, cheated out of life so young,

A warrior, in a battle too long.

His time has come. We know not why,

Taken from us with no time for goodbye,

Yet amongst the children of Good Hope we know,

Your spirit will live long, your memory never die.

For your courage is a lesson and in our hearts it is sown,

When our lives seem hard and our spirits are low,

We will remember our friend Thomas and the courage he showed.

To Bibi we can only say,

Your love for Thomas will always stay.

Remember the good times, remember the smiles,

Remember his courage as you travelled the miles.

Let the angels take charge now, for that is their role,

Sleep easy in the knowledge they will cherish his soul.

Bibi, the people of Good Hope will always be here

To offer their support and love and care.

Goodbye Thomas, you will sorely be missed

We offer our love and send you a heavenly kiss.



19th June 2014





10 thoughts on “Sh** shouldn’t happen

  1. darling Gill – shit shouldn’t happen, but you know we sometimes have no choice. Lovely poem – tears down my cheeks long before I reached the end. Your beautiful words were not just for Thomas – but for all the many special people in our lives, who have touched our hearts deeply and are no longer with us. XXXXXXX


    1. Oh Mrs Spider, that made me smile so much. Still grinning!

      Thank you for your lovely words of support, I know there’s a great guy up there who is going to show Thomas the ropes.Xxxx


  2. Gill, your words so eloquently capture the contracts and contradictions that are so much a part of the fabric of Tanzania. The sheer joy and hope in the faces of the children and directors and the anguish of an unexpected casualty of geography. Beautifully expressed, but I agree — sh*t shouldn’t happen. It didn’t have to…


    1. Thanks for very much Lyn. The support and good wishes I am receiving from all over the globe encourages me that we can help make a difference and we will. Maybe we cannot save every Thomas but we can damned well try.


  3. Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. This was a tragic and unnecessary loss but unfortunately not an isolated situation here. I will do whatever I can to help eliminate these cases. Have a great


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