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Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland Blog

Tap Tap Tapping

Tap Tap TappingAdan Abokor tapped out the book, Anna Karenina, using his finger and wrist to keep his neighbouring cell mates sane.

After 7 months in solitary confinement Adan realised he could communicate with his fellow prisoners who were also in solitary confinement. He devised a simple code of taps using his finger and wrist.

Through this code he found that his friend Mohammed, in the next cell, was going insane. He proceeded to tap out the whole of Tolstoy’s epic 800 page book. After two weeks his friend felt better and it took two months from dawn to dusk to tap out the book. For the next 7 years they “chatted” about growing up, college life etc. and kept themselves going. They were released in 1989.

After his release, when visiting the UK, Adan bought the book to read but in reality could not face it – he knew it too well and it brought back difficult memories.

You can see a picture of Adan and Mohamed and hear the story of their confinement in Somalia in a short Radio 4 feature on:

It got me thinking that what at first divides, can unite, and what is seen as an obstacle can actually be a rich means of communication. Those seemingly impossible and insurmountable barriers can, with compassion and creativity, become unexpected sources of strength and friendship. I could never do that or think like that, you may say. The secret is not in trying to be creative, clever and devise a thousand ways you may need to communicate, but in being compassionate. Love will always find a way.

It can be true in so many ways, from friendships to great discoveries, that the barrier itself becomes a rich source of life. We just need to work at it, which may involve changing attitudes and looking for ways to understand and connect.

International Workers’ Memorial Day lecture is on Friday 27th April, 12.30pm, at The Steeple Church. Amy McDonald of Headtorch will talk about mental health and wellbeing at work. Maybe that is one the barriers we need to work at? You are invited.

If you want to get in touch then you can reach

Chic on or 07814093240 orChic and Geoff 2018

Geoff on 07933167480

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