Saturday, 12 June 2010

Back, Dentist , Clotted Cream, and Ruminations on 'Where To Next'

My back has almost recovered from carting that table (I'm trying to avoid the 'humping' word!) up the stairs.  It doesn't help that, at the moment, I spend much of the day at the desk - note to self: get out more!

I have found a dentist in Galle who will do the work more cheaply than the previous one.  That's because the girl from the office told him I was a local, had been coming to Sri Lanka for years and years, and was helping people here.  Or something.  It was all said in Sinhala, you see. I had told her she mustn't lie for me but she said I was here helping Sri Lankans so deserved some help in return. And the money would have only gone to the "rich undeserving" (her words).  This from a girl who taught Buddhism.  So... dentistry starts tomorrow (yup, Sunday!)

You might not know it but we used to make 'clotted cream' up on the farm when I was a kid.  Clotted Cream is what you have with scones and jam and wasps in Southern England, principally South West.  The farm was in North East Scotland, but never mind.  So... clotted cream is made by taking a wide-topped pan of unpasteurised milk and warming it for several hours.  The cream rises to the top and forms clots.  It goes a slightly mottled creamy-brown colour.  Then you skim it off with a spatula.  In the process of skimming, you get lots of little ridges as you move the cream across the surface.  That's how MY SKIN looks!

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but age and this strong sunlight are doing it no good at all.

I'm one of those people who likes to finish one job before starting another.  I hated having umpteen DIY jobs all running in parallel and none ever seeming to get done. It's like a huge black cloud hanging over you, so I try to do things one after the other, and mentally celebrate when I can tick something off the list. One little celebration once a week seems better than one big one once a year.  But it's not an efficient way of working.  I've finished the Google Documents stuff and now I need to set up the computers for tuition in the office.  But I can't do that until the power points have been installed, and I can't do that until the walls have been painted, and I can't do that until someone's chosen a colour, got a quote for materials and bought them.  All of these things, which take time, could have been going on in parallel with the Documents work, had I planned a bit.  At least I've sent out an email requesting our field workers to identify those teachers needing computer training, their availability, and what they need help in.  That's something sensible I've done, I suppose.  Otherwise I can just see myself finally getting my act together the day before I leave!

Talking of leaving and planning, I must sort out what comes next after Sri Lanka.  In my mind I'd like to work in Cambodia or Laos, or a country low on the Human Development Index.  Of the twenty four countries in the "Least Developed" category, only two are not in Africa - East Timor and Afghanistan.  Iraq would be way down there too, if it were listed at all.  These low-HDI countries are perhaps dangerous places to live - if I was to work there I'd probably want to be supported (eg with VSO and body armour).

Here are a few samples from the Index:
Very High to High HDI: (1.00 - 0.80)
1 Norway 0.971
2 Australia 0.970
3 Iceland 0.969
13 USA 0.956
21 UK 0.947
83 Lebanon 0.803

Medium HDI (0.799 - 0.600)
84 Armenia 0.798
102 Sri Lanka 0.759
133 Laos 0.619
134 India 0.612
137 Cambodia 0.593
141 Pakistan 0.572
146 Bangladesh 0.543
149 Haiti 0.532
158 Nigeria 0.511

Low HDI (0.499 - 0.000)
159 Togo 0.499
180 Sierra Leon 0.365
181 Afghanistan 0.352
182 Niger 0.340

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