Monday, 19 April 2010

Monday Madness, Control Towers and Volcanic Fiascos!

"It seems strangely appropriate for a geologist's travel to be completely screwed up by a volcanic eruption..."

I have been crazy busy this Monday morning. I had two teams to send out to 2 sites, organise additional hardware kit to complete 1 site, get/confirm pricing, coordinate with my chief techie and 1 particularly demanding client, send a status update to another client for whom I am sourcing a huge IT kit order from the United States, do some last minute specs hunting online, attend to an LEC technician and so on....

This was all done 9 am onwards to 2 pm sitting at my desk - my control tower - without a single moment's break. I love this kind of busy-ness! Monday has just flown by and everything is in order. I guess I love working under pressure. All I need is electricity to be on and regular shipments of tea to my desk.

I am most pleased with the performance of my staff. They are really on top of their stuff and all I really need to do is to provide them with support in terms of tools, transport/lunch, back up, double check the market prices, etc. I am also very proud of the trainees who are enthusiastic about learning and pitching in. It's a wonderful feeling. The business model is working.

Lastly, it's fascinating how the volcanic eruption in little old Iceland is creating logistical nightmares for everyone. Important dignitaries could not attend the state funeral of the Polish Prezzie and his wife. More locally here in Liberia, people trying to come back from holiday could not get back (I guess yay for them) and those trying to go on holiday could not go (nay for them). The same shipment of IT kit from the US is delayed for the time because it was coming through Brussels.

It reminded me of something I read in a pop-economics-for-everyone paperback: a butterfly flapping its wings in the rainforests of Brazil will cause a tsunami in East Asia. Or as one of my good friends who is also a geologist told me: "It seems strangely appropriate for a geologist's travel to be completely screwed up by a volcanic eruption..."

There's a very insightful blog on BBC on how social networking sites have allowed people to pool in resources and find alternative solutions to air travel (#get me home: social media and stranded travellers). Facebook and Twitter have basically allowed faster inter connections between people in such a disaster. Moreover, people are happy about relying on each other rather than companies or the state! (

What else? I had a great weekend. A whirlwind trip to Gbarnga, meeting a Chinese cycling whizz, networking networking over the weekend, ludo marathon on Sunday and catching 'Cable Guy' last night on TV.

It's HOT as hell and when is the rainy season going to commence?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Small Small As They Say

I was at Mama Susu's with Haresh this evening after a hectic road trip from Bong County which had fried my brains and, a Chinese dude walks in. I was watching him out of the corner of my eye, seemingly a new comer to town, looking for some gruel. He seemed to be a bit cash short and, Mama Susu offered him a meal on the house. I even said to my friend that that's exactly what happened to Wesley, he met some helpless looking Chinese dudes, offered them food, help and his friendship and look at how they repaid him.

After we both wolfed down our half chickens - we had not eaten in about 24 hours - I looked over at him, quietly waiting for his food. I had a surge of emotions going through me like each time I see a Chinese bloke on the Street. I knew I can't harbour these kind of feelings and thoughts forever. After all, I've always been anti-US and pro-China. After all, there's a billion plus of these guys and it was only two psychotic criminals who ended up in Liberia and somehow met Wesley and did what they did to him. Freak murder as it was, it could happened anywhere and they just happened to be Chinese.

So while we were sipping our tea and getting balance in our bodies, I asked Haresh to call those fellow over and ask him to join our table. And so he did!

And whaddya know? The kid has just cycled his way through West Africa! It's his 10th friggin month! I was bowled over. We were both bowled over. We didn't even let the poor kid eat. He was probably having a decent meal after god knows how long but were interested in how friendly were they locals, how did he get this awesome idea, why did he get this awesome idea, aren't his parents worried, where does he sleep?, has he got sick, is he using Lonely Planet?? Ah, it was a good evening. We had a good chat with him and Mama Susu mothered him. It was kinda of sweet. He was so polite and 'eternally grateful' to Mama Susu for her food.

I guess Chinese people sort of became de-humanised in my head. I couldn't get over how Chinese people in Liberia had murdered him. People still come up to me who haven't met me yet or do not know I am around, telling me Wesley died for nothing and they still can't wrap their heads around how two Chinese kids murdered him brutally and in the end took off with only a laptop and a couple of other items.

Well, I am glad I ended up meeting this kid, had a great conversation about travelling and seeing the world. He was a sweet kid. I was so impressed by this journey of his. His simple answer was that even he didn't know why he wanted to see Africa so badly. But his determination was admirable and inspiring. Life is too short not to see the things we want to see, experience the things we have dreamed of.

I am extremely exhausted after that trip to Bong County. Even though I was in an air conditioned pick up and was more or less comfortable, the heat went to my head and I was kind of car sick for a while. But the meal at Mama Susu's followed by 4 cups of tea did the trick. I am going to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

By the way, as I have said before, business has been pretty good. We have been working straight now for at least 3 weekends. And we still have more jobs coming through. The team is so busy, productive and motivated. I couldn't ask for better staff. Screw all the Lebanese and Indians who discouraged me in the beginning and told me I could not trust local people.

If I had to think about myself these days and how my life has turned out to be, I sometimes get overwhelmed. I never imagined a deep love like I had with Wesley, I never imagined I would thrive so much in being in love, that I would see the world, become part of another society, go through the death of the love of my life and re-create a new life. I can see I am growing at every step and, my spirit is growing too. I never knew that people have the capacity to expand and have so much space inside them. I fully believe in myself and what I want to do. I know that I have to pursue my own path and fulfill my desires and ambitions. And life is a lot more richer when you let go and stop playing it safe.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Life goes on

So, I should probably tell you that I have started dating again. There, I've said. It's been said. It's out in the open. I am in a r-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-s-h-i-p. I'm getting on with it.

In all honesty, I've been dating/hanging out with this dude for a while but it did not really click in my head that I was in an actual relationship and we were doing the whole girl and boyfriend thing. So now, I feel like blogging about it.

Aaaand, I have a TV and everything now so normalcy is now being restored to my life. The next giant step will be to get on a plane again and not be all traumatised and blue.

The business is doing very well and I am going to give myself a break soon!