Still getting ready…

Off our trolleys?

VSO as perceived by Barbara’s aunt and uncle in Yorkshire. Wizards with photoshop!

Just over two weeks now. May be possible to take 46 kg each. Don’t know if this is a good thing. Passports and visa applications still somewhere in the system. A matter of faith that everything will come back on time and that we will actually fly on 11 September. 9/11… 10 years on, not exactly an auspicious date. EBay and freecycle white hot as we try to dispose of the things that we should probably have disposed of years ago. Lots of lists being made, and never getting any shorter.

All interspersed with conversations with friends and relations: what are you going to be doing? Hmm, well the job description says… but the rule seems to be make it up as you go along. The poet John Keats talked about “negative capability”, a concept also used in the kind of counselling I practise: it’s about not imposing pattern on the world but remaining open to experience, accepting not knowing. In philosophy, I guess that’s called phenomenology. Or you might call it going with the flow… One of the management cliches I remember from the 90s was “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. The opposite of negative capability. You can only plan in a world that is predictable. I think I prefer this, though there is fair bit of apprehension as well.

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  1. Hello chaps, loving the blog, especially the bit about negative capability – really chimed with me. Less than a week for me and it’s beginning to sink in now!!! EEEEEK


  2. Hi Simon. Thanks for the comment. Wow, less than a week. Bit of a journey since we first met, when was it, January, in Putney. Hope you’ve honed your notebook manufacture skills. All the best of luck to you and your colleagues. Maybe meet somewhere in Africa sometime in the next year or two? BTW, are you taking your bike? Maybe cycle over to Ethiopia! J&B

  3. John and Barabara, The going with the flow vs planning requires some thought and balance, but it sounds like you are on the right path. I just started som new work on mobile payments in Africa so would be interested to hear how it is taking off or not in Ethiopia – and looking forward to the blog!


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