Monday, 25 May 2009

Questions, dilemmas and privileges

To own or not to own land that is the question! Well actually it isn't at the moment as we don't qualify yet. The law in Latvia is foreigners cannot own Latvian agricultural land - yet! EU citizens maybe able to in a couple of years time or after a qualifying period of three years in agriculture or if the local authorities agree or.... something like that. What it does do though is raise some interesting questions regarding ownership. Ownership of land and land rights are a contentious issue all over the world. Ownership rights are being fought for for vulnerable groups like indigenous populations and for women as they get excluded from land because they are not powerful enough in their society; that then means they can't access wood for fuel or land to grow crops to support themselves. Ownership rights are quite new in historical terms even if there have always been different ways of distributing access to land. Ownership rights in England meant the loss of common land for the poor to graze their animals on several hundred years ago. More recently ownership rights just meant that big businesses and the rich could buy up what they wanted leaving the poor hunting for work in the low paid factories or as poorly paid farm workers instead of raising food for themselves. So is ownership a good thing or a bad thing? I am sure there will be much discussion on that in the future in the corridors of power and in the desperate circumstances of others regarding the subject. As for us, the time is not yet.

What it also means for us is that we are going to take on the responsibility of a piece of land, to steward it for the foreseeable future and invest in it as a piece of land that belongs to God not to us. That requires trust on our part and our friends, who own the piece of land, which is quite an alien concept these days, so I think that is significant in itself. So the next few months should prove interesting as we try and find out what we can and can't do with the piece of land, and we will enjoy the process while we are it, bringing the land back into use. 
These pictures are of the land from April when it had just got rid of all the snow. The lake unfortunately was temporary as it has now dried up and there wasn't really meant to be a lake there anyway. Mind you it looked so nice we are seriously tempted to make it a permanent feature - now just have to convince the authorities that it would be perfect.

One thing we can own here in Latvia is an apartment so we had the apartment that we have lived in for the last year finally signed across to us. Again that was on trust as we have been doing up the place and just about completed it apart from some minor details without our name being on any papers. The reason for not doing it before has been time, as our friends are so busy with preparing for camps and raising two small boys. At least finally we got around to getting it done and we got to spend time with the family too. Many of the antics of the little ones I find quite amusing now I don't have to deal with my own kids and their quirky little ways when they want something (hmmm maybe somethings don't change - only kidding!). 

We had a bit of a disaster with the truck whilst ferrying some stuff about this week as our rear window on the truck cover smashed to smithereens. The stuff we were ferrying about was sticking out of the rear of the truck and we couldn't fasten the rear window down, so just left it up as we normally do in those circumstances, but Ian forgot about it and hit a bump which the window decided it didn't like, so disintegrated in protest. The most galling thing for Ian was he had only just got the window to lock properly and cleaned the back out the other day, but today after a short drive down the gravel roads it was filled with dust again. Do you like his temporary repair job? He is hero of the week as he made this despite feeling not so good.


  1. hahaha.....bodge it and scarper at it again!!!

  2. The land looks beautiful and full of promise although I suspect that it will take some time to pull round.

    Good luck. There's nothing like working on the land to restore calm and peace.

  3. It certainly is a lovely piece, glad you can see the promise in it to, I must get some photos this weekend. We rather suspected it would take time and we plan to try and do things slowly but thoroughly that way we learn as we go along.


I love to hear your comments and will always reply, so go ahead, ask a question or just say hi