Monday, 3 August 2009

Inspiring events

Finally there was agreement this week and the loan from the IMF was secured late on Monday night (if you are wondering what I am going on about read a few of my more recent posts about Latvia and the IMF). Not sure whether it is a good thing or not as it obviously means a huge debt repayment in the future but for now the country is at least stable, kind of! I still believe that there needs to many questions asked of the IMF who stand to gain so much from the plights of countries who sought to emulate the dream of wealth from banking without much in the way of manufacturing. I wonder where the advisors are now who encouraged the madness?

A proper good piece of news this week to come out of the Baltics is that the Baltic Way demonstration from 1989 has been entered into UNESCO's Memory of the World for its importance to the world. The Baltic Way involved a 600 km chain of people stretching from Tallin in Estonia, through Riga in Latvia to Vilnius in Lithuania in a peaceful demonstration against the annexing of their countries by Russia in a pact agreed between Russia and Nazi Germany in 1939. This demonstration is significant for being a peaceful demonstration by three small nations against the might of Soviet power. 1989 was a remarkable year when much of the political landscape was changed and much of it was peaceful but not all. For a breathtaking overview of the year read the article by Neal Ascherson to get a grasp of those immense changes that occurred (I know it's long but stick with it, it was an incredible year). It was all a bit vague for me as I was pregnant with our youngest and he was born in the last few days of that year, he couldn't wait like the other two and had to be born into an exciting year of change. A quoted phrase from the article made me feel a bit poetic so I wrote a poem called:When the wind of history blew, which is a corruption of a poem title "When the wind of history blows" by the Polish poet Galczynski and you can read my version here

Had one of those "wish I had my camera with me and ready" moments this week. We were on our way back from Madona (the nearest large town) having just paid for the tractor when we spotted an eagle at the side of the road with its recent kill, as we drove up close to it it took off and we had to slow down to give it a chance to get away without hitting it. It was an impressive sight! So amazing to be up so close to a bird of prey. We are quite used to making sure we don't hit storks as they stand by the side of the road and take off with slow flaps of wings and they always appear a bit dopey really. Speaking of storks they are starting to congregate now in larger numbers, another sign of the the end of summer coming but did you know that a collection of storks is called either a muster or a phalanx? Well you do now!

Sad news this week was hearing of the resignation of the British Ambassador to Latvia after the death of his wife from cancer. I may not have agreed with all of his politics but I certainly agreed with his positive outlook on life, his lack of stuffiness as an ambassador and his seeming interest in people of all kinds - a wonderful attribute for any ambassador. I am not sure that the powers that be will read this, but if they are, please do send a successor with an equal interest in people, a true ambassador for the people of Britain.

Earlier this year I mentioned we had strange plants growing in our manure heap and we didn't know how they had got there or what they were. Well we have solved the mystery of what they are, they are watermelons the other half of the mystery of how they got there is still unsolved but it does leave the question of ownership. In England, ownership would be simple, we rent the piece of land, we bought the manure from the farmer, so anything planted in it would be ours. Here I am not so sure, if we were daft enough to not use the manure heap for growing plants as they usually do here then I could believe that someone would take advantage of that and they would consider the plants theirs, I could be wrong, after all assumptions can get you into trouble but ownership is more flexible here and probably a legacy of a communist past. The real question though should be, "should ownership be so settled?" Should ownership in communities be more fluid? There is a danger of abuse and sometimes with ownership comes a sense of responsibility so it is not such a straightforward thought process. Would be interested to know what others think, especially if you live somewhere other than England or the US, in places where ownership does not have such definite boundaries.

Well I am going to round up this blog with a collection of inspiring posts this week that lifted my week and I hope lifts yours. The first one is a guy who had the guts to persevere in pursuing a dream, he left school at 16 to train as a chef and then opened a chip shop (as in a fish and chip shop my American friends) but then decided he wanted to become a doctor. Now the gulf academically between a chip shop owner and a doctor is wide but he made it and good for him and it sure makes a great story from what sounds like quite a humble guy.

The next story is what can happen in community when it works together and involves a teacher whose plans to marry were wrecked when her fiancé was made redundant, the headteacher heard of it and helped out along with others from the school community to make a most memorable wedding, with so many people pitching in to make it a real community event. It reminds me a bit of our wedding where folks pitched in to help us, not that our plans were wrecked or anything, as we didn't have much in the way of plans to wreck, we were more bothered about just getting married than any hype around it. A friend made my wedding dress, my gran made my cake, another friend lent their car which they were really thrilled about, another friend took the photos, and others contributed food for our reception which was at our house they even stayed to help make sandwiches. I thoroughly enjoyed our wedding day and wouldn't have swapped it for a grand do any day.

The last piece of inspiration I read was a Southern Baptist Church who are selling their premises in order to release more money into local and international mission and apparently they are not the only ones, more and more congregations are moving out of their buildings into homes, and all I can say to that is fantastic! More Lord!

The first two pictures this week are taken from the hill that I would love to build a home on. One day! Maybe! The rest are flowers from the land which we are working on.

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