Thursday, July 30, 2009

4:35 AM

It's rather nice being so awake at night, as well as a little high. I'm going back to Baghdad tomorrow, in a couple of hours actually. I've been sleeping throughout the mornings these days, a great way to avoid people. I have toured the plantation a few times in the evenings. Spending my time listening to everyone and giving some words of encouragement. I'm no longer getting myself caught up in all the little details and it's working out. Sometimes things don't work-out quite right but I'm learning to keep my cool about it.

I've been reading up on how to get organized and it's going well. I bought a bunch of files and sorted about half of the paperwork I have scattered on my desk and in my cupboard and briefcase. I'm still being productive. Fozzy and me did a rough draft of the profit and loss of the rice mill that my dad insisted on setting up last year. It turned a loss of about nine million dinars and that's not including the massive cost of setting it up.

We finally got checks for the sale of wheat. It's only half of the sum and is at least a month overdue during which time the plantation has accumulated a lot of debts. When Fozzy went to cash them at the bank, the bank manager said told him that there's a new rule that said only the person whose name is on the wheat check can cash it in. Our checks have my dad's name on them and he's not coming till autumn.

The rule, a result of a guy with his check who walked in with his son to withdraw the cash. The son took the cash and the dad then came back later asking for his money. A bank employee had to be fired too. The banking system has a long way to go.

So after catching up on what's going on with the crops, I've realised that we need to get the water pumps working as much as possible these days which means getting diesel which for me is a very good reason to head back to Baghdad to pick up some cash from the bank and come back the next day. Then Fozzy and Nahida brought it to my attention that if I don't wait till Sunday I'd lose out on a million and a half dinars of interest. I'm still going tomorrow (about 2 hours from now).

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's been five weeks since I ran away from the plantation and now I'm back. I haven't yet seen a single farmer nor I have dressed up in my dishdasha and head gear yet. I can't imagine having arrived without anyone noticing so I suspect that some farmers will be coming in an hour or two.

Fozzy and Nahida have been here in charge of things all this time. A month without Nahida has been great. They seem quite well. Fozzy didn't get sick this whole time which is a miracle. The crops they tell me are looking good. Fozzy told me that the farmers have been asking him in whispers when will I return.

Fozzy and Nahida are giving me the impression that all's well. But I'm finding that hard to believe. I'm still trying to expect the worst. This now is supposed to be the least busiest of times of year for the plantation. So whatever went wrong went wrong and that's that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

what was i thinking?

hello me! i do from time to time read my own blog and often find things i've forgotten. i've moved my 32" LCD television to my room and have hooked up my laptop to it to watch movies and cartoons since my bedroom is the only air-conditioned room in the house.

i should be excited, i've had enough of living in baghdad and being with the plantation. inside i feel i'm ready to move on. what i need to do is sort out a whole bunch of things over the year ahead and get myself a new life. i've put off the idea of getting married for three or four years. i should be excited but right now, i don't feel at all excited.

tv in the room is cool.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I'm in Erbil again. Drove here with my car. It was the longest drive of my life, I was told it takes five hours to get here but it ended up taking eight hours because of the dust storm. The weather was alright until we got onto the highway and just before entering Erbil the weather cleared up again.

The roads here are quite different from those in Baghdad, I don't think I've seen a single pot hole yet. I'm trying to learn my way around since I have my car with me, luckily it's not such a big city and they have a few circular roads which means you'll end up where you want to get to eventually.

Everytime I come here, I think of how nice it would be to move here. Over the past two weeks I've been trying to think of a farm exit strategy. I can't go on working and living on the plantation forever. It seems like it isn't too hard to find a job here or perhaps I could continue my studies.

So far I'm thinking that I need to delegate the day to day work and go see them every weekend. That leaves me to focus on the more fundamental issue of sorting out ownership of the land which is a mess, the land is composed of many plots and ownerships of each plot is shared between my uncles and aunts. Sorting the legal side and then physically re-organizing the land will take a long time.

Truth is that I've had it with the plantation. It's a horrible horrible place to be. Ever since I left it two or three weeks ago, I've been avoiding all calls from the there leaving Fozzy and Nahida to take care of everything over there.

As soon as I get to Baghdad I'm going to finish smoking whatever hash I have left and go back to the plantation and start shaking things up or fall flat on my face.