One image sums up my time in the Omo Valley: the remote area in south-west Ethiopia where tribal cultures still flourish. I’m attending a wedding in a village several miles down a dusty path, barely usable by vehicles. The woman in front of me has the braided, red-dyed hair typical for women of the Hammar […]
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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 […]
FACT! Virgin XC more reliable than DB Intercity Express!!
I travel to Germany by train most years, and this year I finally realised that my major frustrations with Dutsche Bahn are not just bad luck, it really is bad. Online research quickly confirmed this: the average reliability of DB’s ICE (InterCity Express) trains has been around 75% for several years, whereas the recent figure […]
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. […]
The Spirit of Persia
The Spirit of Iran: nomads, Sufis and more… October 13-28, 2015 organised by Alan Heeks If I had a bucket list a trip to Iran would be near the top. So in October 2015 I hope to make a 2-week customised tour of Iran with a congenial group of 10-14 people. This piece explains why […]
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 […]
Too Old for This Kind of Thing?
Too Old for This Kind of Thing? – Learning from Africa: Courage and gratitude help. One reason I keep coming back to Africa is to reconnect with basic qualities which are still normal in much of society here, and much harder to find in Europe: real contact, eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart in meeting people, a more […]