मोटाएको = Healthy

1. “You’re looking healthy” he says. I respond “its Africa”, meaning its all to do with spending half the year in nice warm climate and in a lot relaxed atmosphere. But then I’m thinking “I must have looked FAT” for him to comment that I’m looking “healthy” – quintessentially belayeti comment I would say, polite and diplomatic. I must start going for a run every morning and/or evening now. I wouldn’t want to be commented upon with statements like “you look well-fed”!

2. Oh, and I’ve finally found a place I liked and the person already living there liked me too it seems, for I’ve moved in to my new abode last night and the unpacking has begun. Was thinking of taking some pictures of my messy room to put up here but totally forgot in a rush to get to office before lunch (will try and do that tonight, if i don’t forget again that is!), to prepare for the meeting that I have in 50 minutes time, but I couldn’t help post this “update” in here as I haven’t posted anything new for ages, and I’m tired of blog-hopping, while wishing I could also blog as regularly as some of the blogs that I frequent!

3. Now I must get back and prepare for my meeting. Will try to post a bit thoughtful entries once I fully settle in to my new place – the one that is sure to provide environment to think with its home-made wine, and fresh produce from the allotments (and yea I’ve promised to get my hands dirty as well – haven’t worked on gardens for ages, it should be fun!).

4. Now a picture from Africa (couldn’t help posting one!) :)
Accra at night

the week that was…

Work without end, struggle without work
It wasn’t my plan to set off with an unfinished paper in hand (on computer rather), but thats was happened. I could probably find many “genuine” excuses but the most genuine of all the excuses – and which isn’t really an excuse – is my excessive procrastination. In any case, the first weekend in Ghana without uninterrupted internet connection (with BBC worldservice to keep company instead) has certainly helped me spend more time reading and writing, not to mention thinking (and not just about work and research at that!). I’ve finished the unfinished paper (or so I think) and have just managed to make “electronic submission” of the manuscript (phew, after nearly two hours of uploading files – not that I had that many files, the “broadband” connection was just not broad enough!). So,the week that was, the week has been one of relative success.

But that’s only half the story! Beginning at the university in York, trying to sort administrative nightmares, ending at the university in Tamale, trying to sort administrative nightmares, the week that was, the week has been one of immense frustration. Beginning at the airport in London, ending at the airport in Tamale – getting away with heavy baggage in London, having to pay extra for “excess baggage” in Accra, the week that was, the week has been one of partial travel woes. Reading The Enchantress of Florence – beginning on the last night in York, continuing during a night in Accra, then during the laziness of the daytime Tamale, the week that was, the week has been one of a fascinating read.

Lets talk about the “struggle to work” now, or rather the culture of work/work ethic. Arriving in Ghana, one thing you pretty quickly realise is that West (or North more appropriately) makes you too impatient. Things here take time to get done, they always take time. If you have an appointment with your local colleague at nine in the morning and s/he doesn’t turn up until 11:30, you shouldn’t be surprised that much. As long as s/he turns up before noon, s/he will feel proud at the fact that s/he made it to the meeting in the “morning”, which was what was agreed after all – to meet in the morning. It doesn’t matter what time in the morning, as long as its in the morning, the person hasn’t missed the appointment! You would think being a Nepali, I shouldn’t be too impatient as Ghana-time is more like Nepali-time when it comes to appointments, but being that Nepali who is now more and more living in a limbo between various cultures, its often difficult to decide how to react. At the end you don’t really have much option than to go with the flow and have things done the Ghanaian way, or rather let things happen than trying too hard to make things happen knowing all well that all your efforts could be better spent in other ways!

If somebody tells you a certain thing will get done that week then it usually means things will be ready before the office starts on Monday the next week. Don’t discount the weekends though – if things need to be done at all cost that week, weekend could be used as well. But don’t expect the job to be done by Friday though, two days of weekend are very important, albeit being public holidays.

However, there is one trick that I have realised works fairly well in these situations, be it in Nepal or Ghana – take the lead yourself, get your hands dirty, show by example, and embarrass those delaying the work. They would then have no option but to follow your lead.
Continue reading the week that was…

forgotten in a decade…

My conversation with a friend from high school…

23 March 10:16:26 mp: Hi […], k 6 haalkhabar?
23 March 10:31:06 […]: hi who are you?

After my own short pause!!

23 Mar 10:33:57 mp: are you in an internet cafe?
23 Mar 10:34:22 […]: no

I was worried he might have been at an internet cafe earlier and forgotten to log off from the IM, and somebody else was using the same computer. Just wanted to confirm if I was talking to somebody else! But he was not, and I was relieved but also perplexed. And that was the end of conversation!

I think I did the right thing by just letting him get on with his work…May be he was in a hospital signed on using his Smartphone!! Or may be he really did forget who I was :)

fuel for thought…

16 Feb 10:20:59 me: hey, how is it going? working on a saturday?
16 Feb 10:21:55 him: all fine here..except lack of water, electricity, petroleum products, etc.

I thought what an optimist this friend of mine is! Then came the crucial point –

16 Feb 10:32:49 him: it’s really hard in nepal now…if u r thinking of coming back, think not twice but 100 times
16 Feb 10:33:10 me: yea, thats the advice from everybody
16 Feb 10:33:19 me: except mum of course :)

Well, everybody has his/her limits, limits of toleration, limits to adversities in life – and I guess my friend is also approaching his pretty soon. If not within months, I think he’ll be somewhere else within a year! This actually comes only a couple of days after I received an email from my brother suggesting not even to think of coming back to Nepal! I think I’ll leave this issue of returning back/running away for some other time.

Life’s a mess…here, there, everywhere…

Anyway, the issue of fuel and fuel-politics is not new, and definitely not confined to Nepal. You just have to look at Russia-Ukraine and Russia-Georgia fuel-disputes in recent times. Ukrainian president was successful in buying more time before Russia cuts the oil supply, but returned with a threat of missile target if Ukraine aligned itself with NATO. But global fuel-politics aside, Nepal’s situation does look bleak indeed – in a season when there is already more than 8 hours of load-shedding, shortage of petroleum will mean almost no energy at all for a third of the day!! How will the economy function without energy? I was asking my friend, who works in medical transcription sector for foreign clients, how is his company still functioning without electricity for more that 8 hours a day. He just told me casually that they use diesel-powered generator, and have been sourcing diesel in black market for more than 100 rupees a litre!

Continue reading fuel for thought…