Monday, 15 June 2009

Wonderful Latvia

Ian spotted a rather lovely news story about Latvia this week, makes a change from the usual doom and gloom. It was a story of hope, of Latvians smiling and looking on the bright side. Seems rather fitting after finding the flowering twigs last week, by the way one of them is still flowering.

For those who like statistics and just to see what the actual wages are for those who live here in Latvia here is a link. If you thought that the wages were high here before the crash it helps you to see what little the Latvians were living on beforehand. It does seem strange to see folks who are travelling around in brand new cars when they earn so little but some of it has been borrowed against houses that were inflated in price due to the easy money or against land returned after the Soviet Union collapsed. This article by New Europe actually shows what a difficult position the new Prime Minister of Latvia is in as he explains how it is the conditions imposed on the country by the donors that is setting the depths of the cuts and finally it seems that a journalist has noticed that the Swedish Finance Minister is preaching at Latvia when really he is only concerned with Swedish bank investments. You may have noticed how little respect I have got for this guy, and for all those who talk about Latvia and forget it is only a young country with a poor population who have had to learn some tough lessons in the last 18 years. It has got its faults but it is learning fast, unfortunately I have also heard that many Latvians just wish someone would take them over again and tell them what to do. Come on Latvia! You can do it! You have come such a long way in 18 years and you have some bright inspiring people don't give up now.

On a different note (excuse the pun- cheesy link alert!) I read the following on a blog recently.
Consider the analogy of a father who has seven children. One Christmas day, he gives his oldest son a trumpet. He gives his youngest son a trombone. For his oldest daughter, he gives a violin. He gives another child a drum kit. Another he gives a bass. Another he gives a flute. And another he gives a piano.Each child learns to play their instrument. The years pass, and each loves playing their individual instruments. It’s a joy to them.

One day the father sits down with all of his children and says, “I am so happy you have mastered your instruments. Each instrument was given to you as a free gift. And I’m glad that you have come to enjoy and treasure your gifts. But I didn’t give you these instruments to enjoy by yourselves. I’m creating an orchestra that will produce music that this world has never before heard. And I’ve invited you to be part of it. That is why I gave you these gifts.

It is amazing how we can get so wrapped up in our giftings and our ministries and our place in life that we forget we are supposed to be part of a body, or an orchestra or whatever other illustration we care to use. God uses some pretty strange instruments in his orchestras and sometimes it is hard to see how they could possibly work together but if he brought the orchestra together he is going to make it work but he does need our co-operation. Challenging!

Favourite song of the week must surely be
I'm Strimming in the rain
Just strimming in the rain
what a glorious feeling
I'm happy again!

I'm sure Ian must have been singing away as he tackled the ground elder on the land that is running rampant. I know I did pray for rain here in Latvia as we had a very dry Spring so I must own up but errr I think that is enough now, could you please put the sprinkler away God now that the potatoes have got a good start as they do need some sunshine now. There are times that getting what you pray for isn't such a good idea. I do honestly pray though for good weather over this summer both sunshine and rain as many of the Latvians are going to be relying on their plots of land to produce their food to sustain them in the difficult months ahead when the employment money runs out.

This next week I have to write an assignment the title is "Compare and contrast the challenges to development managers identified by Chambers (2005), Hirschmann (1999) and Wallace and Mordaunt (2007). To what extent do these authors suggest feasible ways of improving practice of development agencies in response to these challenges?" There I knew you would find it riveting and I have to manage all that in 1000 words about a page and a half, which is concise to say the least, not much good if you are wordsmith then! I also get my results back for the last unit of my course I finished in April, I do hope I have passed.

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