Sunday, February 03, 2008

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XXXV: Sarah Hagger-Holt

Sarah Hagger-Holt works for the Methodist Church in the UK and was recently involved with the MRDF in Ethiopia. You can read her blog here.

How did you get involved in blogging?

I've only really dipped my toe in the world of blogging, writing a blog just for a couple of weeks during my first visit to Ethiopia in order to share the experience with friends, colleagues and supporters of MRDF, the charity that I worked for.

What is your best blogging experience?

Most of the blog entries were written from a conference centre in Addia Ababa where I was staying with 60+ delegates from a dozen African countries, all staff from small, highly committed voluntary organisations. The best experience was getting several of them to contribute to the blog and see them share their experiences with a wider audience.

And your worst?

Blogging from Ethiopia is hard, finding an internet connection, waiting ages for pages to download - the government monitors and sometimes blocks internet use and mobile phone connections making these sometimes impossible to use effectively.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Not for me to say.

Favourite blogs? and

How did you get involved with MRDF and end up in Ethiopia?

I'd been working for MRDF, and international development charity rooted in the UK Methodist Church, for four and a half and travelled to India and Ghana with them before to visit some inspiring projects, helping very disadvantaged people. Ethiopia was different because it was an opportunity for MRDF partner organisations across Africa to meet each other and share skills to help them fight poverty in their own areas. I was lucky enough to go as a reporter and recorder and to learn lots myself!

What should be people's main concerns with regard to East Africa?

Of course Kenya's very much in the news at the moment and the situation there is a grave worry for all of East Africa. Ethiopia is a country with high levels of poverty, but with so much strength and resilience and such a fascinating history - my biggest concern is that we in the UK don't see Ethiopia solely through a 'Live Aid-lens', it's so much more than that!

How can people get involved with MRDF on a volunteer basis?

Check out - volunteer in our London office, use Bible study and church materials in your church or group, campaign on climate change and trade or run the London 10K for us - there's lots of things you can do!

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

Jordan - to see Petra and experience another side of the Middle East.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

Actually, Ethiopia, I only saw a tiny part of a fascinating country full of variety and would love to travel around the country.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

The Pankhurst sisters and all those who struggled and didn't give up to extend the vote to women. They weren't afraid of anyone, were prepared to make real sacrifices and, I have a hunch, loved making trouble and embarassing those in power!

Which Christian figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Archbishop Tutu, someone unafraid to stand up for unpopular causes, to take risks and also to laugh at his oppressors.

Favourite Bond movie?

Not a big fan, I'm afraid....

Favorite Doctor Who?

Doctor Who used to give me nightmares as a kid - which still puts me off! I liked it when Janet Ellis was in it though.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Vanilla. Every time.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

Pet Shop Boys (if anyone can get me tickets...)

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?


Favourite national newspaper?

The Methodist Recorder (okay, that's not true, actually the Guardian)

What would you say your hobbies were?

drinking tea, reading, charity-shopping, making soup

And what would you say were your favourite song and favourite book (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

It's too tough to pick one...But if I have to try, maybe 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' by John Irving, or 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte (I know that's two, but there's plenty more where that came from!)...And a song - 'I've known rivers' by Courtney Pine makes my spine tingle every time.

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