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A hand-made easel, a mango tree, and a goat: resilience training in rural Ethiopia

A hand-made easel, a mango tree, and a goat: resilience training in rural Ethiopia: I feel so honoured and touched that this flipchart easel has been hand-made locally for me: square section steel, painted grey, with a big panel of wood bolted to its front. Its two coat hooks just about fit with the brass […]

Face-offs with cows, and flying chickens. Lessons in community from Ethiopian roads

Face-offs with cows, and flying chickens. Lessons in community from Ethiopian roads. It happens so often, you suspect the animals must enjoy it: why else do they spread the full width of the tarmac, instead of using the broad gravel verges? The cows are the worst: they glower balefully as if they might charge, and […]

Cracking resilience problems on Eigg

Eigg is a small island in the Hebrides: five miles by three, with 100 inhabitants.  Try adding to your resilience challenges: harsh climate, high transport costs, poor soil, and … a series of despotic landlords. However the gift was in the problem: the despots provoked Eigg’s people into creating the first community land buyout in […]

Where does peace begin?

My recent trip to Scotland included a stay at Allanton Peace Sanctuary: Allanton is a beautiful retreat centre with spacious grounds in a rural location near Dumfries, easily reached from Central Scotland, Northern England and elsewhere. Allanton Sanctuary is the European Sanctuary of the World Peace Prayer Society.  The Society was founded in 1955 by […]

Pragmatic Nomadism: Mongolian-Style Resilience

I have learned from nomads as a role model for modern-day resilience for many years, drawing mainly on my experience leading twelve groups with Bedouin in the Tunisian Sahara.  Kate Humble’s recent BBC2 series on nomads offers vivid insights from across the world, and I enjoyed her programme on nomads in the Gobi desert, Mongolia. […]

Pilgrim Without Map or Boots – New lifeskills for uncertain times

I aim to have a retreat time of 3 – 4 days every quarter: it’s a good way to rest, renew, and review my direction. This time, I’m doing a self-guided retreat at the Northumbria Community, a centre in rural mid-Northumberland, inspired by the Celtic Christian monasteries which once flourished in this area. A spiritual […]