Ethos and Aid Work
I imagined before this trip began that there would be opportunities to do bits of aid work, carrying cargo, helping rural communities, transporting doctors etc. and this would somehow form and encompass our ethos - to be a means of doing some good in the places we went.
Things haven't really worked out like that; we haven't found people in need - in fact the less people have the happier they often seem, so it’s hard to know what we can bring from our Western culture that would really benefit theirs.
It seems the ones in need are us! And in fact we can learn so much from the rural places we reach, without trying to impose, and of course from the beautiful natural world around us which surrounds life on the water!
So I now see our ethos to be not so much based around what we do but more simply in the way we do it and the way we live together on board. For myself I try and instill a sliding scale of priorities (something I heard from a professional circumnavigating skipper of 'The British Steel Challenge'). The first priority being Lilly - our home, our transport, our safety net against tragedy. Our second priority must be the rest of the crew, keep them happy and they will look after you and Lilly better - and only thirdly ourselves. Virtually all issues can be traced back to a collapse in this order: where there are shades of laziness, lack of awareness or selfishness then the atmosphere deteriorates.
In my more philosophical moments I can see this attitude applying to the world at large: replace Lilly with Planet Earth.... If we can learn to live like this on board and experience the difference it can make then maybe we can apply it to our wider lives. This over the years has been the focus that has created the greatest challenges and brought the greatest rewards on board and has emerged as a kind of Ethos for life on Lilly.
We will always, as good citizens, have our ear to the ground as far as Aid Work, for want of a better label, is concerned - whether it be disaster relief, protesting, or clearing rubbish from beaches … and we will aspire to making some contribution whenever we can and in whatever way we believe might be beneficial. Help, advice, ideas and opinions on these matters are much appreciated…