Finding surprisingly faster internet connection yesterday morning at the cafe I frequent, I decided to check Nepali news sites after a long time. I don't have much know how of the politics in Nepal since coming to Africa. Nepalnews and Kantipuronline both take ages to load due to all the unnecessary graphics and banner ads. So the only news I get on Nepal is if Beeb has something on its South Asia section - the latest being the Bhaktapur's Kumari Saga, and a report on the disappeared people during the 10-year-war. It had also been at least a couple of weeks since I last checked Nepali Times - one newspaper (e-version of course) that I try to go through every week, mostly for the columns (CK Lal, Daniel Lak etc.). In fact, I have started to find even these columns repetitive and not much interesting lately. Anyway, yesterday morning I managed to open all these online Nepali news sites surprisingly quickly, so obviously browsed through (and loaded for offline reading) most of the columns/longer articles, avoiding day-to-day political pieces (don't know myself as to why!?!).
...continue reading CK Lal and Seminars

My previous introduction to the North-East Ghana (officially the Upper East Region) had been a trip via capital Bolgatanga on the way to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and back. I had however come across a journal article ((Lund, C. 2003. 'Bawku is still volatile': ethno-political conflict and state recognition in Northern Ghana. J. of Modern African Studies 41(4): 587-610.)) a year or so ago about the conflict in the region between two major ethnic groups - Kusasis and Mamprusis regarding the chieftaincy issue, while doing some background reading on Ghana. The article centred around the town of Bawku, where I was going on this trip to identify some research sites for the project.

Bawku is not only known for its conflict-ridden past but also for being one of the most densely populated towns in Ghana, with 169 persons per sq. km. ((Ghana Districts Info [http://www.ghanadistricts.com])) The area looked distinctly familiar even though it was my first trip there. It didn't take long to realise that it was because of the landscapes with hills all around, rocky terrain and difficult-to-cultivate lands - much like the Nepali mid-hills. The similarities extended further with huge areas of millet on the rocky fields on the hillsides (often on slopes without any terracing). The type of millet here looked slightly different from Nepali millet however. There were some maize fields, where the crops were struggling to survive due to the lack of water. In fact this area has been luckier than most in Northern Ghana, for it had received some rain last week - reason why the maize weren't completely dead like I saw in many fields around Tamale. The valleys where there was some water available were cultivated with rice (or being prepared for rice cultivation). Also saw a row of women planting rice at one of the fields, just like I had seen so many times in Nepal.

outside Bawku town
Image 1: A faraway hilltop seen from one of the research sites
...continue reading A Trip to North-East Ghana