I have always had the wanderlust gene embedded in my blood. For many years now I have traveled the globe working as a quality specialist having got my early training in Aberdeen after hitch-hiking 960 kilometers to find a job, unsuccessfully I might add, only to get involved in the oilfield a few short months later. From then on it has been a kaleidoscope of change and experience.
The oilfield was the vehicle I used to travel extensively whilst money was never the prime objective it was forthcoming and I have to say usually a better remuneration then the norm. It is and always has been a vocation that has brought me change, education, realisation, and just unadulterated surprise and enjoyment whilst engulfing me in so many different cultures and countries.
Because of when I first began my travels and the lack of technology at my fingertips most of my recorded photographs have melted into the mists of time. More recently technology and especially the advent of digital photography has enabled me to record and log my recent overseas adventures. It is those, because of the clarity of the recorded images and the ability to effortlessly store them, which will be my point of departure in recording my nomadic odyssey over recent years. Others not visually recorded I will address in the future. Below is a brief log of one of my most recent projects to give a flavour of my life on my travels.
Unusually for me this contract was mining related and although my work in Quality Assurance, Quality Control is cross industry it was a new and interesting experience for me.
On this particular day, 10th March 2014, depicted below I was attending a blessing of the construction that had been partially finished and to be completed.
It was attended by all the workforce and I was, amongst others, guest of honour there to break a coconut on part of the foundations as part of the ritual. This having been done by all guests of honour everyone was able to partake in some light refreshments. It struck me at the time that so many ceremonies revolve around food globally. It is almost mandatory for any occasion like this to succeed.
The project itself was the ongoing refurbishment of an iron ore mine in Yekepa, the rail link to and from the mine situated further into the hinterland and between it and the port in Buchanan where the iron ore was deposited prior to loading from silos into large ore carrying tankers.
My rotation was 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off and during my periods of work (on) I was billeted in this very property which formed part of a gated village or at least 6 or 7 gated communities in close proximity to one another. By Liberian standards it was pretty good digs. The fact that the electric would cut on a regular basis was testament that we were in Africa, developing Africa, the part of Africa we had come to, to help develop. So it was something taken in your stride and led to some interesting nights around the dying embers of a braai.
In fact it was here that I first tasted Sushi, well actually not because I had first eaten sushi some years before. What was special about this tasting was it was served from the back of bakkie (pick-up) only hours after it had been caught by some of the guys on one of their regular weekend leisure activities. It was without doubt the freshest, tastiest raw tuna I have ever tasted.
Work was as usual on most projects 10 hours a day for 6 days a week which left the Sunday (Friday in Arab countries) free to pursue your pastime or leisure pursuit or just lay on your pit. Television was hit and miss so it was incumbent on you to use your time most profitably.This particular location like many I have had the fortune to work in had an off limits to anywhere other then the confines of the camp. After 6 weeks stir crazy feelings make you crave civilisation and a new face. Fortunately for us this camp was situated next to the sea to accommodate the work ongoing in the port. What that allowed us was to go by vehicle along the seaside of the camp to a lovely spot where we could be beside the sea on our day off. A few beers, a braai, some good company and time just melted away.
Liberia is in West Africa and has thick lush jungles and minimal infrastructure and so where we were was deepest darkest Africa so to speak. Always hot or raining heavily gave this place the humid steamy sticky feel that had you always wanting to have a shower having just completed one.
Work was ongoing and the days were broken by early morning shower, breakfast, work, lunch, work and evening meal. Nights were primarily spent in your accommodation unless punctuated by an impromptu soiree. But predominantly relaxation was taken on a Sunday.
So life maintained its routine week in week out vacation time and work. That was until the advent of Ebola! I will cover this in my subsequent revelation.