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Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Bad luck, good luck

It is end-of-year break at the university. Most of the student accommodation is empty. China provides masters and PhD students with a full scholarship that entitles them to return airfares, once only, and tuition, food and accommodation for four years. These students spend their first year studying Chinese language as that is the language of their study and thesis.

At this time, perhaps those who can afford it return to their homes. I am told that fares between China and Africa, for example, are quite expensive. The African students were probably not exactly wealthy before coming. They can hardly afford to return home. However a large proportion of the rooms in the building I have been staying in are currently empty. Perhaps that is why a room was available to me in the first place.

Now the university is taking the opportunity to refurbish. To make this easier for them they asked me to move to another building alongside, which I did a couple of days ago.

Today while I was having lunch I was joined by one of the African students. He told me that on the night I left there was a storm. Lightning struck the building. Some students suffered damage to computers and DVD players. I'm sorry this had to happen to them but from my perspective, the timing of my move out of the building was fortuitous.

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