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


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…