Lead by obeying

The zapatista movement’s leadership principles – in chain-stitch embroidery!

Buying local, losing fingers

Buying local food delicious, buying local services infuriating.


Most blog posts on here are about what I like, but here’s some not mentioned before: Public displays of affection – couples (also many over 16) snuggling or making out on street corners Flexibility: if the rule blatantly doesn’t make sense, the person in charge will disregard the rule. Some might say that this is…

Around Oaxaca

Oaxaca is a very aesthetically pleasing town with lots of radical street art, investment in cultural centres and exhibition spaces, wide streets, handicrafts… and Mexico’s tastiest cuisine. You should visit!! And everyone should do a ceramics tour and buy some pottery at Colectivo 1050 Grados – they have a shop on the delightful Xolotl square,…

Weaving reflections

I’ve made friends with a couple of upscale women in textile handicrafts – they work on private sector ‘inclusive value chains’ i.e. getting better prices to artisans by encouraging them to make more market-friendly designs of their traditional weaving etc, and marketing that to rich folks. This is a fascinating area. I did an online…

Ayotzinapa ‘disappearances’ protests

The extrajudicial kidnapping and killing of the 43 student teachers from the radical teacher-training college in Ayotzinapa has had the country in disgusted upheaval for months now because of the way it revealed the cosy cooperation between Iguala municipality’s mayor, drug gangs, the police and the national army. For those of us coming from the…


Many Mexicans are unhappy with the current president’s failure to lead for the people. This has led some citizens to combine tradition with frustration and instead of the piñata, have a Peñata at their parties:  

In zapatista country

We’ve gone to a very camp play about Maya warriors wearing mostly body paint (free for local residents one night only)…

Development agencies get cute with football

Ouf, I recognise a good advocacy hook when I see one, but some of these are getting beyond far-fetched and reaching ‘cute’. Here are my favourites: INTRAC applies football management tips to organisational development.World Development Movement lets you compare teams based on the ethical performance of their countries. Choose a clean team to support. Finally,…

Book review: indulgence and soap opera by A.S. Byatt

When I started reading ‘The Children’s Book’ by A.S. Byatt I almost lost patience with it in the first 50 pages. It seemed whimsical and indulgent, like A.S just wanted to gambol with her exciting happy artsy characters for a while. A.S. is an author who expends a lot of effort on describing the visual….