Shi(f)t happens

I’m in Lisbon to attend the Shift 2010 conference. And I never thought that I would say this but a volcano (yes, a volcano) has affected the event. Simply explained: the flight chaos prevented some attendees and speakers from travelling, namely Lee Bryant from Headshift (and Lee was really one of the main reasons for coming to the conference).

But on the other hand, and looking at the positive side of this day, I’ve met some interesting people and I was really inspired by the story of Kushtrim Xhakli. Kushtrim is from Kosovo and in less than three decades he has gone through different political contexts, a war, a refugee status, a fight for his life and hope, a brief experience abroad and the return home, to a torn apart country in desperate need for some action. And that’s exactly what he did: he inspired, he led, he challenged others, he provoked, he resisted. And he publicly criticizes the installed powers of corruption.  I (naïvely) asked him if he had no fear. “After a war”, he said, “you stop being afraid. I spent several days of my life being afraid of ending up dead the next day. So when you do survive do that kind of experience, you come back stronger… and fearless.”

Kushtrim, as so many Kosovars, went back to his country and help rebuilt it by providing free online access to education in a country in desperate need of training and employment. And step by step, bit by bit, he helped changed the future of so many.

So volcanos erupt and things don’t always go according to plan. But be sure to know that if you pay attention and if you listen and engage, you might end up listening to a story of hope such as this one. And this world sure needs all the hope it can get!

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