Its been a while without anything written on these pages, and unfortunately this is going to be pretty incoherent pieces of thoughts as well...but I realised earlier today that if I don't write/post anything within a day or two, I am not going to do it for a long time, especially with all the travels and the adjusting-to-a-new-place-after-the-travels looming on horizon...So I sit in front of my computer with a glass of red and some pieces of cheese, some black olives and some crisps trying to get inspiration for a post that I hope will be more than just some incoherent pieces of thoughts.
Strangely, the thought for this post came about, when, as I was walking home from work earlier, I heard (and then saw) a black cow mewing ceaselessly while rest of the herd (all reddish brown, except one white!) were quietly grazing nearby. I remembered my cow in Nepal - the one I used to take out to graze when I was a kid. I remembered when I found our cows mewing without any apparent reason, I tried to find one - reason that it, and often scratched its chin or around its neck to give comfort. Of course I couldn't do that with somebody else's cow here in England, where they are left on their own, with no herder to be seen anywhere near the cows. Oh well, different culture, different way of keeping the cows! I just hurried through the stray (this grazing area is called a stray!) as fast as I could so that I didn't have to hear those mews any more.
Before I start on another piece of thought, let me tell the start of the story. I had actually cycled to the uni this morning, didn't really want to but I had a heavy load of papers and books to carry. Somehow, I find walking much more pleasurable than cycling these days. Anyway, when I decided to call it a day at work and return home, I just couldn't get myself to cycle back. So, I decided to ditch my bike on campus for the night and walk home after work...I had decided to walk to think through some other things - things like my trip to Ghana, the research that I would be doing there and some of the things that I need to take care of here before I leave next week. You probably guessed - walking (alone) is one of those times when I do most my thinking (one of the other is when I'm in the bathroom of course). So, here I was walking home from work on a nice sunny afternoon, and suddenly this black cow mews and the entire matter of thought changes - in a few words, from professional to personal!
So I cross the stray onto the path that runs through the army barrack. Somewhere far I could still hear a faint mew but which I could easily ignore now that I didn't have any cows in sight. My thought turned to how I would spend my time (apart from work that is) while I am in Ghana. Although the technology like the internet and the mobile phones have undoubtedly penetrated even the remote part of most of the countries these days, what I am worried about is whether I would be able to spend time away from all these technologies even when they are available - mainly because I would really like to do so this time. I have already bought 10-15 books that I would like to read while I'm there. Plus the academic readings and writings that I need to catch up on, which it seems I have been ignoring while I am here, devoting most of my time instead on either administrative stuffs or on email or on some petty works that appear nowhere when you try to see what you have accomplished over the course of a week or sometimes even a month!
It should no doubt be a test of my character as well. Whether I would be able to stay away from my computer and get some real job done. I cannot think of more than a few days in over 7 years that I have been away from the computer or the internet. When I think of it, the longest period was when I was in Nepal just after the Gyanendra's coup in February a couple of years ago, when not even the phones were working. So, test of character it certainly will be.
In fact I was checking (googling rather) about the living conditions, amenities, public transport and so on in the area of Ghana that I would be spending most of my time in. I wasn't specifically checking on the internet facility though. However, as I was going through this nice blog of a VSO volunteer, I found out about an internet cafe that was set up by a local NGO, with the profits going to good causes...may be I should spend all my internet surfing time in that cafe 🙂 ...just a thought!
Another great website I found was a travelogue (written impeccably) by another British traveller - voracious traveller I must say, and his website is just a treat to those interested in travelling themselves or reading other peoples' travelogues. I must confess I haven't read all his "travel notes", but from what I have read - about his Ghana trip, I am sure I can just sit and read his "notes" if I have time to do so.
Then I thought of television - my habit of watching even the strangest of shows even when I really don't want to deep down. When I think of it, the main reason I watch TV (except when I am watching news or some educational programmes) is because I just want to put off doing things that I ought to be doing, such as reading, writing papers, or even writing on this blog. Even when I am watching the most useless of the programmes, I imagine them to have some purpose, and good ones at that...The fact of the matter is they really have no purpose, other than may be some cheap entertainment. By the way I have switched off my telly now 🙂 But ever since my housemates have gone home, I just keep my telly on to have some noise in the living room (and in the house) - gives the impression that there is somebody around, apart from myself. Hard to admit, but I realised that have become very much accustomed to having people around and not living alone! Even when I'm not speaking much or interacting with the housemates, I think them being in the house does make a difference. Like it is doing now as my other housemate is home tonight and I don't have to keep the telly turned on just to make some noise!
Well, I have been going on and on about some daft things, and still haven't mentioned properly about my upcoming travel to Ghana, that I had promised to write about in one of my earlier posts. So here it goes. I'll be travelling to Ghana next Friday - flying from London so that I could visit my sister before I go away! So I leave York on Thursday, 31 May and on to Accra from London on 1 June. After a couple of days in Accra, I fly to Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, where I will be based for the rest of this year. My work will be on the agroforestry parklands there, but I would not like to bore you with the details here. Hopefully those boring details will eventually help me gain my PhD in a couple of years' time 🙂
As for my web presence while I'm in Ghana, I would like to keep you all updated, at least once a month with my experiences there...and hopefully with some nice pictures too...So, I wouldn't entirely stay away from the internet after all...In fact most of my communication with my supervisors in the UK will have to be via email and skype, so I really don't have much option but to get connected now and then! And its a genuine excuse 🙂 And by any chance if you find me online and I ignore you, you probably already know that I do that all the time...so no reason to be offended 🙂
Well, hopefully next time I write something here, it will be under the category "Africa Diaries" and I would be telling you of the cold beer I enjoyed in 30+ degrees' heat in Ghana!
But for now, I'm going to heat leftover masu-bhat from last night's dinner and enjoy that with less than half a glass of red that still sits by the side of my computer here!