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18 August 2008


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I've never got further than Mexico City and my mental pictures of South America come from youthful reading of 'The Voyage of the Beagle' and 'Lost civilisations of the Incas' so it's fascinating to see your photographs. I imagine the gifts are brightly embroidered woolen scarves and bags.

Wow, great memories and a great post. It always comes back to community building to make people feel better doesn't it? It must have felt wonderful to help.

Janet : yes a brightly coloured woven bag and a small, multi-coloured crocheted blanket but the scarf was pure white, very soft wool.

Cybill, yes being involved in those projects at first hand and seeing them at work taught me a lot. The good thing about them was that they were Bolivian (and local) in origin and the indigenous people were wholly involved in running them. Thankfully, not a case of a 'solution' being imposed by people hundreds or even thousands of miles away. For example, the driving force of the particular project I wrote about in the post was Tibursio, the man in the blue hat on the far right of the picture. He had lived his entire life in shacks in the slums that surround La Paz, so knew better than any outsider what his people needed and wanted.

One of my organisation's main tasks was training the project organisers to raise funds in their own country, taking account of local economics, customs and preferences, which they did very successfully.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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