After endless hours of writing assignments and studying for exams, I booked myself a much deserved trip home to Egypt. This trip has been different than the others. In January of this year, the Egyptians revolted against their government. Insistent protests eventually led to Egypt’s president of 30 years to step down. Over the months numerous scandals of corruption and foul play have emerged and some of the most well-known and once prominent politicians and businessmen of Egypt are awaiting trial and sentencing. While the protests have died down, the shock waves are still rippling through the country. Tourism, which is one of the country’s main sources of income, is down and the economy is in bad shape. The sense of hope that people had during the hype of the revolution has died down and people are struggling to cope with the uncertainty of their future. A few days ago I went to volunteer at an animal shelter near the Great Pyramids of Egypt which specialises in treating and feeding horses owned by working class families who depend on income from tourists (who choose to view the Pyramids on horseback). The horses’ owners can no longer afford to feed them and the scene of starving animals was heart-breaking. The problem however, far surpasses that of hungry animals. Many of Egypt’s 80 million habitants live below the poverty line and depend on a daily source of income which has become increasingly sporadic since January 2011. A revolution represents a significant change. However in many ways it has been underestimated. I think back to when I worked for Nokia at a time when there were numerous restructurings. Even with well-planned change management programs, there were numerous unintended and unpleasant consequences that had to be dealt with. We all struggled to cope with the looming uncertainty of a fast changing industry and increasingly competitive environment. The change was a challenge for the company’s management. While a country is incomparable in terms of scale the principles of managing the change are very similar. I won’t get into the approaches; however no change comes about without consequences. It is our ability to adapt and remain persistent that gets us through it.

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  • I agree that change is uncomfortable. This is why most people try to resist it. But I also think change can be very good. I’ve always felt that people are highly adaptable creatures, and with the changes happening in Egypt (as well as the rest of the world) I still feel very optimistic that things will work out and people, the environment and society will adapt–because they always have in the past.

    I once had a very influential English teacher in high school that made an impact on my adolescent life. She said, “No matter how bad things get, they will always get better. There will be a bottoming out until the only way left to go is up” And I’ve carried this message with me my entire life. Changes come with consequences, but without change there would be no progress.

    Great Blogs Nihal! I once volunteered at an animal shelter too while in primary school (from 9-11 years old). I know the feeling when you see helpless animals needing care, and the rewarding feeling you get when you know you’re making a difference. I’ve never helped with horses… but I can imagine it being a similar feeling to small cats and dogs.

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