What is your deepest fear?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tis' the season to be jolly... hmmm...

It is that time of the year again... The past Monday and Tuesday were lousy days for me. why? I found that I was sleepy almost all day and could not really concentrate. The first day I did not think about it because we always have some days when we are "not here". It was on the second day that I started to get worried. I started to think about what I had been eating and what activities I had been involved in the day before. I had a basketball game Monday night, I slept a full 8 hours and woke up to start with work only to feel like I had not slept at all after only 30minutes study.

Then it hit me! I had been just like this last year when I was new here... only that by then I had a lot more stress from work and adjusting that I did not even think it could have been brought about by weather change. The winter is (almost) here again. Average temperatures have been below 17 degrees Celcius for the past two weeks or so. For me, this means that my window/shutters are closed most of the time. It is not so much about the cold but I cannot bear to look out at a depressing grey sky all day, everyday for more than two weeks (more like 4 days!). At least last year I used to bother checking what the weather was like when I woke up, this year I find that sometimes I even missed some little sunlight because I did not bother opening the shutters till 14h00 in the afternoon.

It also explains the picture! Looks like gum? That is a shot (read photograph) of my vitamins... Sounds strange to my ears but when you do not see sun for a "long" time, you start to need other sources of that vitamin. (They should pay me for the marketing) With the coming of this season I am susceptible to all kinds of issues from lack of nutrients in the body resulting in weakness, fatigue and depression. I already started to notice that I am a bit snappy now. Today I got a call from George about a neighbour of his who wanted to have his computer repaired and I found my temperature rising. I was in the middle of a relaxing evening and it was interrupted. The point is that I can already feel the nerve ends are going to get rubbed the wrong way pretty easily. I think it is time to complete with this and get back to the sun at the equator!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

GuluWalk Day Finallly here!

So the Guluwalk (at least the Amsterdam version) came and went. It was in all an interesting day. One where I was able to meet a lot of people and also see the African-town of Amsterdam. We were in this place called Bijlmer and I had never seen so many black people together since I came here.

I arrived just at 13h00 and found that there were only two people present. The statement made by one of them was about "Ugandan time". We ended up starting the walk at 14h30 or even later... I am not too sure. We walked through a route but strangely it was in a deserted place. Could this have been symbolic of the walk that the children, now called "night commuters", have? I wonder... I was getting a little frustrated after a while because it became a bit clear that while the effort had been made to organise the event, there was not too much focus on little details that make a difference between an event that is ok and one that is resoundingly successful.

It was not clear exactly which route we were supposed to follow, who would lead the way, who would set the pace for the walking, whether there would be some accompanying music, whether we would give out some flyers to people on the streets for information purposes. These little things would have helped accomplish the mission better.

We, however, were an enthusiastic group and walked the distance and then sat down later on to have a small discussion on what we were doing meant and how we as a collective group of individuals could make our little contribution to helping out the children in Uganda. We also watched the movie Uganda Rising. It was a bit graphic in some places but overall I found it very interesting.

The main question at the end of all this is whether it makes a difference what we did. Does only awareness cause the problem to go away? Does the money contributed make the problem go away? I am not sure I have an answer to that just yet. So in the meantime while I feel this is the only way, I shall keep doing it.

You can look at some other pictures from the walk on my flickr page.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Outside my window.... in my room!

Looking outside my window lately reminds me of the gray day that I landed at Amsterdam Schiphol airport a year ago (1st September 2005 to be exact). It is a rarity in the Netherlands to have sunshine at this time of the year. When it does happen it is surprising how it raises the spirits.

However, since I came I have also developed some of the survival tricks of people in these climates that make me think this christmas shall not be as cold as the last one. I decided to warm up my room a bit! Luckily there is a troop of people who are helping me to do that. It was my birthday last Thursday (5th October) and I got a set of lights as a present from Hui. It was funny how happy I was to get this silly present. Perhaps because I had been mentioning that I would get a set and it turned out that somebody was actually listening to my endless rant.

Any case now when I do not want to open the window shutters (which is almost every other day) then I can turn on lights in my room and it shall look a lot warmer. Check out the picture. Notice as well that I managed to put together my own piece of artwork next to the lights. Talk about creativity!