Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Travail's of living and working in Africa

In addition to the hardship factor - lack of amenities, poor infrastructure etc. there is also the possibility of 'situations' developing either as a result of a crack down on protests or in fighting amongst the powers that be,

During the course of the last three weeks, students marched the streets in protest of a killing two months ago, burning tires, throwing stones. This resulted in ALL schools being shut down for a three week period.

Last night disgruntle elements of the army took the streets firing into the air in a protest of their own. 5 colleagues had been sentenced to 18 months in jail for assaulting a civilian, a judgement apparently  they disagreed with.

From what I hear the shooting started around 11pm going on till the early hours of the morning. In the process shops looted, goods stolen as these elements ran through the centre of the city.

Going to work this morning, things seemed normal on the periphery, but shops remained closed in and around the Grand Marche. The only other  indication really that things were not quite as they should be was the closure of Filling Stations.

As I stood there, a few meters away from ground zero the tension in the air spiked; people began running, throwing glances over their shoulders, car's screeched away, pandemonium as pavement hawkers threw their goods together - clothes, shoes, food - and joined the flow; tables disappearing  in a twinkle made me think that this was a well practised routine.

Torn between taking out my camera and recording the events around me and the potential risk of doing so against the prosaic act of leaving actually took me some time to decide... I chose the later, deciding to return to the relative safety of my accommodation.

I don't quite know why I did that...

The latest is that these guys are threatening to hit the streets again this afternoon

Friday, March 11, 2011

I quit...

Nov 2010

Over the last few months I've logged a few miles between here and Colombo, with a short trip across to Gay Paree

That trip was notable for nothing more than an opportunity to fly aboard an Airbus A380 and what an aircraft it is!!

Take off and landing barely noticeable on this 'Super Jumbo' so smooth is its flight. Seating 525 people in a typical 3 class configuration, to fly in one an experience indeed!

All that done, to the east and back, I am back in good O'le Ouaga, and pretty much happy to be so...

Mar 2011

Item #23 on my Bucket List was "to walk away from a job" something that I never really thought I would do, ever. Well, I did just that last week, and amazingly feel wonderfully liberated by the experience of having done so.

I love my job, its taken me to places I could never imagine, showing more of the world than I could ever hope for and all the time I've done it with a passion and a fire determined to do the best that I could. Ha, not for a moment did I imagine where life would take me when I sat for an interview with the State Plantations Corp so many years ago!

A job is worth doing only as long as its fun, I've always maintained that if you found something you loved to do, you would never have to work a day in your life, and to me, tea was just that. From the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, to China, Darjeeling, the Blue Mountains of the Nilgiri's, the gently undulating tea fields of Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, been there, seen it all.

So, making this decision was not an easy one, but there is always a time and a place for everything, and this was my time to move on, it felt right, it feels exactly right, so much so that I've taken to asking myself if I should be worried that I am not worried.

I've quit my job, walked away from it because corporate policies and people's agenda's were getting in the way of me having fun, doing something I loved doing. I upped and said now enough, deciding that for once, I would dictate the terms.

The first question of course is what I quit this for - the short answer is "nothing". I now have a little less than 45 days to figure this all out.

I'm free-falling, having taken the plunge without a parachute I'm enjoying this exhilarating feeling I have... and in spite of it all, I know that just before I hit the ground, there's gonna be a gust which will send me soaring up up and away, off on another adventure.

                                          Salif Keita concert - 5 March 2011 In Ouagadougou

Handicrafts at a Trade Fair, Ouagadougou

High protein?

Regional traditional masks

Exquisite I thought

                                                                           High fashion