Saturday, January 28, 2006

Green Stone Posted by Picasa

Green Stone

Today was lovely. We've been having a mild winter here in Western Pennsylvania. The ground was still a little frozen, but the day was sunny and the air warm, so I headed out into my neglected garden. I probably shouldn't be so impatient to cart off all the old foilage,because it's habitat for wildlife. Still I'm eager to get a jumpstart, and I like being in the garden thinking of what I might try to do this year.

There is a rocky section of the yard and I very much like to gather stones to use in the garden. After all these years, I finally know where to put the fire pit and the stonescape around the fish pond needs to be re-worked. Lazy as I am I can't find it in me to do one job until it's finished, so I ambled between different garden spaces with my by-pass pruners in hand. The big obstacle to digging up some more rocks is the blackberry bramble covering the surface. So far as I have discovered there's no really easy way to cut it down, except to cut it with my shears. My gloves have holes in the tips so I'll have to get new ones before I begin cutting bramble. Nevertheless, I eyed-up the situation and made plans of attack.

I've been asked how I decide which stone to use when I'm building with it. In my mind it's simply the "next" stone, and indeed proximity to me does have something to do with it. I suppose I have in mind how much stone I've collected and what I want to do and there's some method to it, although I don't really think much. What I like to tell people is, "The stones sing to me."

Today as I was chopping down last summer's growth, I heard the sound of a little stone singing. I looked over to a stone I'd placed near the edge of a steep garden bed; it just anchors a little soil for a few plants to grow close to it. There ontop was the little green stone I'd planned to pass around at my birthday party. How it got there I do not know, I only remember that I couldn't find it on my birthday. So there it is pictured. It seems quite natural resting on the other stone so I left it in peace.

Emeka Okafor of Timbuktu Chronicles fame does blogging right. In short pithy paragraphs he jam-packs information linking to previous post and to outside links. At his Africa Unchainded blog today he discusses C.K. Prahalad who sees entrepreneurial ingenuity in the developing world:
Some of the most interesting companies of the future won't emerge from Silicon Valley or other places of abundant means, he says. They will come from places many executives don't even think about because they have been considered too marginal.
Prahalad makes a good point and a good question is what people in more affluent countries and situations can do to help entrepreneurs in the developing world?

When push comes to shove, we can shop. Via Timbuktu Chronicles I learned about Ten Thousand Villages. We used to be an NGO: Uganda Crafts caught my attention because I'd read about them at the Life in Africa Web site. Christiana Jordan of LIA writes:
When I asked Betty to tell me about how the place runs, she said, "Well, we used to be an NGO, but then we realized we had accomplished all of our objectives, and so we privatized."
The great thing is that Uganda Crafts products along with a wide array of products from similar companies and organizations around the world are available at 160 Ten Thousand Villages stores around the USA and Canada. "I did not know that." There is a store in the Squirrel Hill as well as one at the YWCA in Pittsburgh. From the Ten Thousand Villages Web pages:
To practice fair trade in accord with the Ten Thousand Villages principles of operation we need to know the artisans and groups we work with around the world. Being a program of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has given us a worldwide network of volunteers and like-minded organizations that enable us to be in touch with and know the artisans and groups with whom we work.
In recent days we heard news from Davos, Switzerland and the World Economic Forum. Grandiose Parlor weighs in with Davos: WEF Spolights Africa. The World Social Forum gets less press than the WEF here in the USA, but may be no less significant. This year's WSO gathering of civil society groups and social organizations is being held in three meetings at different locations: Mali, Venezuela, and Pakistan. The Bamako, Mali meeting held January 19th-23rd overlapped with the Davos meeting. Black Looks--again a blogger who knows how to blog--has a tremendous round-up of the events that's well worth a read. Sokari Ekine's post is dense with links. For an overview of what the WSF is and what it means to Africa, Sokari links to this article at Pambazuka News.

Black Looks
makes an important point about the role of Internet communications at the WSF:
The African blogosphere has also been sadly lacking in commentary on the forum. One reason for this may be the lack of publicity about the WSF in Mali by all sections of the media. More to the point though is most Africans on the continent do not have access to the technology needed to blog and Mali does not have the infrastructure or the funds to provide the necessary technology for WSF participants.
Nathan has his new computer. He cannot have it in the computer lab at school and doesn't have and Internet connection. Also as a result of the drought the Nile waters are very low and eletricity supply is irratic and will probably be for the near future. The computer will be a good tool, but nothing is quite straight forward. Still, I have confidence in C.K. Prahalad's vision of entrepreneurs of necessity in the developing world. Nathan will find a way.

The idea of passing the green stone was simply a way to exchange peace between us. It hardly matters that at my birthday it was a black stone. Nonetheless, I was happy to hear the green stone singing today. I thought of all of you my friends. I bid you peace.

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