Of late, I haven't been able to do much in the way of writing new entries for random jottings.... I have been travelling a bit within Ghana these past couple of weeks. After returning home tired from those travels, writing seems to be the furthest thing on my mind. However my reading habit has revived considerably, starting from non-academic initially (6 novels and a collection of short stories in 3 weeks!), and now both academic and non-academic works. I also think having a 24-hour internet connection at home while in England was really a distraction, especially being a sucker for news that I was (and am still, but the means has changed - now I rely on my portable radio, which is tuned permanently to BBC World Service). Now I am back to my old habit - reading or writing, with the radio on in the background!
Another reason is that most of the latter posts have been more like personal email than well thought-through writings, and I am beginning to wonder whether to just start sending email than put up my personal experiences of living and working in an alien land, grievances and complaints out in the public domain. But seeing how long it takes to send one email from here (and not wanting to send mass mail addressed with "Hello All"), I think I'll stick to posting my "superfluous" entries here for now.
I'm trying this picture to speak for itself, may be in more words than it can 🙂
Out goes television and VCR - in comes books and papers...some yet to read...some to re-read...
If I start complaining about the practical issues, such as the banks (still my account hasn't been open one and half month after submitting the application!) or long bureaucratic process in almost everything, I fear of being accused of acting like a "Yankee Nepali Boy"! But it really is startling how difficult it has been to get an account open at the bank - that too in an internationally known name - Barclays. I now suspect they might have lost my application altogether, and wouldn't be surprised it they ask me to reapply for the account.
Well, complaints aside, life here has been pretty ordinary so far. So, I am having to think harder to tell any interesting tales. One thing that I have realised (or rather confirmed) is that wherever I go, I somehow manage to keep pretty much to myself (I guess that's why I never felt out of place in England!). The society here in Ghana is more akin to Nepal than to England. There are people gathering in the outdoor tea-stalls or small vendors' or any kind of small shops and businesses. I am sure its where I could find out about the daily going-ons in the neighbourhood and beyond, and where I could catch up on the latest gossips. However, having never frequented those kinds of venues, even when I was living in Nepal, I find it very hard to get myself to those places. I was labelled a snob by my neighbours and relatives in Nepal, and I am probably risking getting the same label here by not venturing out more. I do go out to such places now and then when I'm with my local friends/acquaintances but I think I should be a bit more courageous and spend a bit more time in such establishments now and then. Will certainly write about the experience when I do!
Oh, I had my first haircut in Africa, and honestly that was an experience I'll never forget. The reason being that the barber (a boy of 14 or 15) used a stainless steel blade (like "Topaz" but a different brand) and a comb to cut my hair! Just those two implements, and not even a drop of water or anything. The edges were a bit sore at the end, but he applied some disinfectant at the end to those sore spots to make sure the germs were killed.
Before and After the Haircut
Only last night did I realise how much I had missed talking in Nepali. It was certainly a pleasant surprise when I got a phonecall from a dai in York last night. I was trying to read a book (and more importantly stay awake) after a heavy dinner when I saw the numbers flashing - all zeros except for the first three - +44, which told me it was from the UK before I picked up the phone. I can get to talk Nepali when I phone home, but the worry of spending too much of my mobile phone credit on an international call means that I stay to the point when I am talking to my family members these days. So it was a nice change to receive a call and not worry about the credits running low (I was more worried about the battery running low last night!). Anyway, it was great to hear about things in York (which more or less has become my second hometown).
Well, I hope this is worthy enough proof that I'm alive and kicking here in Africa, which is all I wanted to convey through this post. More later...