You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Pamela Collett’ tag.

24 Oct 2012

revised 11 July 2018


Sorting books

moving between


Why do I choose

to keep poetry books?

Profound emotion


in a few words

Like Chinese landscape

brush paintings


intense connection

with a few strokes

Sketch of Beach at  Tucacas, Venezuela



Silence Spoken

Poems and drawings by Pamela Collett

Available with a discount on or

on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

with no discount.

Thank you for your interest.

A new blog coming soon about my novel

                                          Life Expectancy. 


Thank you for your generosity to let me read your poems and take delight in your photos and sketches.


You have the sensitivity and ability to catch the moment, in sparse words and sparse strokes.


I understand it is a joy to have  these gifts, like having a secret drawer in your desk.







Silence Spoken is available at a discount on

or full price on Amazon.

Thank you Eva and all the people who have given me feedback.

Much appreciated

Bette Hutchison Silver, photo taken November 2010

Bette Hutchison Silver, November, 2010


I wasn’t there

for her birth day

March 10 1922

How could I be?

I am her daughter

I was there

for her death day

March 1 2011


I was there

when she asked

am I dying?

I was there

to tell her

yes, she was dying

I was there

to tell her

not to worry

everything was

taken care of

She could go

leaving us behind



Bette Snidow Hutchison and Pamela, 1945

Bette Snidow Hutchison and Pamela, 1945

Bette Hutchison Silver (date 1996?)

           Bette Hutchison Silver (date? 1996)


Me and My mom at the Grand Canyon

 Me and my mom  Bette Hutchison Silver                                at the Grand Canyon


Even though you’re gone

you are still

brightening my life


What bracelets


shall I wear today?

I never thought

about it before

until my mother

left me all her


in a handwritten note

attached to her will.

She knew I had none

Had not really wanted any

Yet I enjoy choosing


from her

of her

to wear every day


My mom's jewelry

My mom’s jewelry

Happy Birthday Mom.

I miss you!

Third in a series of Memories of Lon Hutchison from his facebook page.

My brother, Lon Hutchison was hit by a bus and killed on 5 May 2014 while riding his bike in Mazatlan Mexico, where he had lived for several years.

Reposted with permission from the author

by Pamela Hutchison Collett


Heidi Kelso posted to facebook

May 9 2014 near New York, NY ·

I just heard the news. I worked with Lon in the 90’s in New York City at The Academy Theater and because of facebook we were able to reconnect. I have so many memories of him making jokes, smiling and always being a positive person to be around.

In the last year or two since we reconnected I started a side business and he would like all my photos from my travels. Although it sounds like a small thing it showed that he was still the same kind and supportive person I remember.

This is so horribly tragic and I am sending thoughts and prayers to Lon’s family and loved ones. RIP Lon.

Lon Hutchison at the Celebration of our mother Bette Hutchison Silver's life, March 2011

Lon Hutchison at the celebration of our mother Bette Hutchison Silver’s life  March 2011  Kansas City, Missouri, USA


15 Sept 2013

Tucacas, Venezuela

on the Caribbean Sea

Red Sunrise Tucacas, Venezuela

Red Sunrise Tucacas, Venezuela


I’d better write about it

Before I forget

Before I take it

for granted

Before I think life is

always like this.


Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

How do I wake up?

My bedroom

A wall of

wide open windows


over the Caribbean

light creeping under

my sleeping mask


long and flat

towering and grey


Frantic swallows

Gliding frigate birds

Scurrying beach birds


orange, red, gold

Fishing boats


Throwing out

their nets.


Sunrise with birds Tucacas Venezuela

Sunrise with birds Tucacas Venezuela

Terrace breakfast




Frigate birds



Resident pigeons


Mist over the hills

Mugs of coffee:

Strong not bitter






and strawberries

with home made yogurt.


Breeze so gentle:

body temperature

the softest caress



Alone in the ocean

Sometimes  calm as a lake

Sometimes rolling swells

Sometimes small white-capped waves

Scanning the sky

the clouds

Swallows swooping

Frigate birds hovering

Pelicans diving

With a splash.


Alone in the Caribbean sea

Unbounded space

Water meets sky

Almost imperceptible

the separation

Expansion  of self

Rather contraction

No self

Floating in a grey green sea

Staring up at bright blue sky.

Sunset reflected 136

Late afternoon

on the roof



Palm trees




Fishing boats


Always birds

Long lines of pelicans

Streams of swallows


trying to capture

the essence

the most basic

with brushes

and black ink

from China.

Sketch Tucacas 139

Terrace dinner


Staring at clouds

Looking for


without rain


that light up the sky.


Red Sunset, hills beyond Tucacas Venezuela

Red Sunset, hills beyond Tucacas Venezuela


Foot notes:

Thank you Mom (Bette Hutchison Silver), for insisting that we get the three bedroom apartment on the top floor at Emerald Suites, Tucacas, Venezuela so that you could have a bedroom.

Thank you Mom for helping me build the kitchen, decorate and buy the furniture for the Tucacas apartment.

Thank you Paulo wherever you are, for doing all the paper work and bank transfers in the days before internet, when everything was done by fax.

Sunrise Tucacas Venezuela

Sunrise Tucacas Venezuela

9 October 2012, Tucacas, Venezuela

First Sorting, Culling

How can I?

Sitting at a large

wooden rustic table

made in Mexico

Purchased by my mother

in the year 2000

half price

at a shop in Valencia Venezuela

specializing in Mexican and Thai

furniture and decorations

Shipped to Tucacas.

I would like to take

the table to Australia

but that is not possible.

And is it possible

to take all these fat files

With me?

Should I carry the past onward?

To what purpose?

How can I?

Sitting at a large wooden table

in the sea breeze

Listening to the triumph

of the Revolucion Bolivariana

on the television

and wading through

20 years of my life

files upon files

The fat heavy thick ones

are about women

in Afghanistan.

The ones I easily discard

are about gender training

which somehow never worked

seems useless now.

Yet women are far from equal

anywhere in the world

as if the world stopped.

Did I give up?

Did I decide to go with the flow?



Let others decide.

Don’t push so hard.

Reigned in by



in a Nairobi slum

with young people

mostly male.

Far removed from

working with

mature Afghan women

mostly professional,

with Somali radio team

full of contradictions

and  betrayal.

I tried to overlook

while I concentrated on

well-paid international

do-nothing officials

as the main enemy.

But others were lurking

to ensure the work

or at least myself

was undermined.

Is that why I am tired?


but not bored.

Jumping up to

eat dark chocolate

for renewed energy

to face the past

And sort it out .


Tucacas Beach at Sunset

Tucacas Beach at Sunset

8 Sept 2013 Tucacas, Venezuela 

Papers sorted

with a scanner

In one week

Reliving 20 years










Dual citizenship

Friends since lost

or found again

Packing stuff







to send to Australia

Narrabundah house

Walls covered

With paintings, photos.

Floors covered

with rugs.

Walking through rooms

walking through my life

Making room for everything

and everyone.


Portrait of Bette Hutchison Silver  at what age? not sure

Portrait of Bette Hutchison Silver at what age?   not sure

Her house is no more.  The house still stands in Kansas City, Missouri,  623 Greenway Terrace, but sold and transformed by paint, redecorating, bearing no traces of Bette Hutchison Silver, the wild and wonderful woman who entertained so many people on her screened-in front porch.

Now I am in my mother’s house. Not in Kansas City, Missouri, USA but in Narrabundah, Canberra, Australia.  My mother is everywhere in this house.

21 Carnegie Crescent, Narrabundah, Canberra, Australia

21 Carnegie Crescent, Narrabundah, Canberra, Australia

Over the front door, a metal parrot swings in the wind.  Open the door, a punched tin pie cupboard my mom picked up at a farm sale somewhere.  On top, her Australian hat, with the badges from her trip here in 1992. Next to the hat, the cigar box collage by friend and Kansas City artist Maria Vasquez Boyd.

By the large front windows, a small wooden step stool, a wooden cocktail table, pillows, including a toucan pillow, from my mom.  Nearby a cabinet of treasures from Mexico and Venezuela.

Moving on, small boxes, an antique globe, another footstool with needlepoint mushrooms.  Above my desk scenes of the Kansas prairie, Missouri farm houses in watercolor a long thin horizontal view of a new England town.  To the right of the desk a sisal fibre giraffe from Kenya.

Pie Cupboard near front door. Bette's Aussie hat with badges

Pie Cupboard near front door. Bette’s Aussie hat with badges

Over Jim’s desk, a Missouri landscape by Wilbur Neiwald. Jim’s desk is my mom’s kitchen table, where her grandsons  Lawrence and JJ and then great grandson  Henry decorated Christmas sugar cookies every year.

In the front bedroom, three shelves full of dolls from all over the world, the bed covered by an early American Crazy Quilt.  A wall with her sketches of Mazatlan, Mexico.

In the middle bedroom, an antique humped back trunk, full of memorabilia, family photos, my grade school, high school and university yearbooks.

In the kitchen four hand decorated brown ceramic plates that hung in my mom’s kitchen. I bought them for her in 1968 at Taylor & Ng in San Francisco.

Bette's kitchen table, now a desk

Bette’s kitchen table, now a desk

On the far wall, Mexican ceramic tiles showing a boy with his donkey.  Next to the tiles, a woven hanging of birds in a geometric design.  In the corner cabinet,  family photos of my mom, dad, aunt, grandparents.

In my bedroom closet,  some clothes my mom wore, her shoes (we are the same size),  and clothes she and I picked out together for me on our annual shopping trips to Macy’s in Prairie Village, Kansas.

So this IS my mother’s house.  More than anywhere else in the world, she is still present through all the love and care expressed in the objects she collected and shared with everyone.

Bette's Doll Collection

Bette’s Doll Collection

What’s missing?  No screened-in front porch.

We miss you Bette.



The first part of my walk home from Hot Sun Foundation on one side of the sprawling urban slum of Kibera stopped at the railroad tracks.

The railroad was built by British colonial power using imported labor from the Indian subcontinent. Construction began in 1896

The railroad goes from the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to Kampala.

People from Kibera use the train to commute to downtown Nairobi.  It is cheaper than the mini-buses.

The railroad cars are crowded, dirty, dusty, unchanged from colonial times.

Rail traffic has not been expanded despite the fact that Mombasa is becoming more and more important as a port for East Africa.

Sometimes I have to wait for the train to pass. There is no barrier, but the train is very slow so there is no real danger.  We all wait while the crowded cars pass by with people staring at us from open windows.

Pamela near railroad tracks looking out over Kibera

Pamela near railroad tracks looking out over Kibera

Next part of the walk is into the “interior” of Kibera, that is where there are only footpaths, with open trenches of “agua sucia” , dirty water, containing filth, human waste, trash running along side. I am walking down hill now.

As you walk by, tiny children call out “How are you?” with a curious singsong  rhythm that ends on a high note.  They call out again and again whether you answer or not.

Children have no space to play, but the walkways and the dirt roads.  They make their own toys out of recycled plastics and small juice boxes.

WTK 7 Path 563 web

I walk by small shops that are just a shelf outside a window of a homemade  dwelling, (usually of packed mud with corrogated tin roof). The shops sell tomatoes, potatoes, mangos, shredded kale (sukuma wiki), a staple food, along with ugali.

I continue my walk, almost always looking down at my feet so as not to stumble or step in dirty water or mud.

WTK 8 Path tree 567 web

I  come out at the filthy, polluted Nairobi river, with a concrete pedestrian bridge over it. Two generations ago, I am told, people could fish and swim in this river.  It now is a greasy grey color, full of trash, plastic bags, rags.

WTK 8 Bridge 569 web

Nairobi river

Nairobi river



Now my walk starts uphill.  Through a very steep section next to a pig pen.  Yes there are pigs and chickens in Kibera, with people living right next to them.





I continue upward to a “road” which is a bumpy, never graded dirt track, which passes through an area of Kibera known as “Soweto”. Children play on the road.  Women cook on the road.  People sell on the road.  Trying to drive a car on the road is a challenge.  If there is a truck, usually delivery charcoal, then the car may have to back up because there is no room to pass.  The road has so many deep pot holes that often it is muddy even if there has been no rain for some time.  If you get stuck, there are always plenty of people around to help you get out, for a small tip.

Kibera has its own waterfall: run off from construction of overpass above

Kibera has its own waterfall: run off from construction of overpass above



Now I have reached an amazing structure: the new overpass.  Getting from one side of town to another in Nairobi can take 3 hours.  The government with Chinese money and machines, is building by passes through Nairobi,  so cars can get from one side to the other.

Under the overpass, Kibera

Under the overpass, Kibera







The photos stop here, although I still have quite a long up hill walk to get home.  My  companion, Charles, a trainee at Kibera Film School, who has been taking the photos of me, goes in a different direction to get to his home in Soweto.

WTK 11 Road 582 web

What  is Kibera?  A sprawling urban slum in East Africa, home to several hundred thousand people.

Where is Kibera?  In Nairobi, Kenya.

Why do I walk through Kibera every day?

I live on one side of Kibera and work on the other side.  There is no public transport through Kibera.  There is one very bumpy, often impassable single dirt road which vehicles use only if they must make a delivery to some small shop.  Motorcycles do go through regularly delivering, bread, milk and people.

Here is part one of photos of my daily walk through Kibera.  I am walking home from Hot Sun Foundation (, where I work as a volunteer.

I usually wear gum boots because it is quite muddy in spots, even when it hasn’t rained recently.  During the rainy season, gumboots are a must.

Let’s go 

Pamela at the gate of Hot Sun Foundation in Kibera, starting her walk home

Pamela at the gate of Hot Sun Foundation in Kibera, starting her walk home. Son Nathan Collett in background

On the street, near our office, with school children, small shops

On the street, near our office, with school children, small shops

WTK 4 RR 556 web


Walking towards the railroad tracks.  The railroad runs 
through Kibera, from Mombasa, Kenya on the coast
to Kampala, Uganda 
Trash heap near railroad tracks.  No regular services in Kibera.  Occasional pickup by train or truck.

Trash heap near railroad tracks. No regular services in Kibera. Occasional pickup by train or truck.


To be continued.


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