The Retail Vortex

For the sake of a rug, the sofa was lost.

For the sake of the sofa the wall was lost.

For the sake of the wall, the curtains were lost….

Recently I found myself caught in the centre of a retail vortex, utterly unable to get out.

A year or so ago, I had my floors done downstairs, and replaced all that cat-piss stinking carpet with beautiful engineered oak, making the downstairs lovely and clean and cosy and inviting. However, having not actually lived in my house much over the last two years, what with being in the Philippines and Iraq, I hadn’t realised how much I would miss the warmth of carpets in the winter!

“That’s easily fixed”, thought I….. “I shall get a nice rug for the living room”.

I began the great online rug hunt, searching for the most perfect, the most fetching, the most reasonably-priced occasional rug that the internet could provide. Continue reading

The Extrovert…

I spent a week at a Global team meeting in Oxford, at which several things happened which made me laugh. Naturally I intend to give you the full blow-by-blow account…

First off we did a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) exercise, in which you answer a series of questions and then do some very complicated scoring to find out which 4 of 8 preferences you have.

The options are:

  • Introvert (I) vs Extrovert (E)
  • Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P)
  • Intuitive (N) vs Sensing (S)

The basic premise of the MBTI is that we all have elements of all 8 personality traits – no-one is missing anything, but we each have a natural preference that we lean towards.

So, about 2 minutes after we added up our scores, and went on a coffee break, a colleague came up to me and said “Maya, I just need to know if your score says you’re an E or not, because if you’re not, then I will immediately doubt the entire scientific premise of this exercise.” Continue reading

The forgotten war…

(I drafted this a few weeks ago, but didn’t get around to posting it….)

Prepare yourselves people, it’s Friday afternoon and I’m climbing onto my soapbox….

One of my incredible colleagues has just come back from a few months living in the war zone that is now Yemen, and he reduced me to tears while describing the horrific war crimes and unbearable suffering of the people of Yemen at the moment. The entire country is teetering on the verge of a severe famine, even the war lords are begging for aid agencies to bring food, while cities and towns are battered daily by coalition air strikes sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

The British, American and many other governments are deeply implicated in this situation, the UK for example having signed an arms treaty promising not to sell weapons that are knowingly being used for war crimes, yet continuing to sell weapons to Saudi which we know are definitely being used in Yemen in illegal manouvres.

A country which relies on imports for 90% of it’s food is being deliberately and cruelly starved in a total blockade (air, sea and road) for the last 6 months. Again, this has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council members, including the UK and US.

To give you an example of some of the flagrant breaches of international humanitarian law happening there, the entire city of Sa’Dah was declared a military target and civilians were given less than 24 hours to evacuate. They informed the people that carpet-bombings were imminent by air-dropping flyers, and they started bombing before the deadline had even expired.

Elderly, sick, and disabled civilians were largely the ones who couldn’t get out in time, and the city was flattened by coalition bombs.


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Looking back, and looking forward…

As many of you will know, I spent a year working in an orphanage in Nepal back in 2007-2008, as part of a volunteer exchange with ICYE-UK. For those of you that don’t know, have a look at my Nepal posts (of which there are MANY) for a flavour of my life in Nepal.

It was an incredible, and quite frankly life-defining experience for me, as it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and it changed my perspective on the world quite substantially. It was also what led me to re-define my life goals and change careers, so I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for ICYE and Aishworya. It’s also where I got my Nepali name, and pseudonym, Maya.

I wanted to write a post about it for two reasons. Firstly, because I have just spent a bank holiday weekend at the ICYE-UK On-arrival camp, and secondly because the busy bees over at Aishworya have been doing some amazing work at improving the website and it looks amazing, and brought back a lot of memories. Continue reading