Writing is my best weapon to fight boredom
Boredom as defined by the English dictionary is an emotional state of being weary and restless due to lack of interest. Today I would like to devote my kröniker to this topic at the request of a friend with whom I shared a short-lived but very interesting chat at the Indian Restaurant in Vaxjo few days ago. It started with the Swedish weather which often defies prediction as it offers a sweet sunshine one time and suddenly replaces it with light showers in a space of few minutes. “How do you see it as an immigrant?. Do you feel bored with the Swedish weather?” She asked. No, not at all, I replied, adding " I never get bored because I have the courage to pick a fight with boredom itself and beat it accordingly. A smile ripped through the contours of her face as she surveyed the restaurant, admiring its decorations and the aroma of delicious spices.
"Nice. How nice to be able to look boredom in the eye and say `Go away`! This seems to be an interesting subject to write about. Why can’t you take it as your next tabloid" She concluded her talk with a hand-wave of good-bye as she collected her packaged take-away lunch.
Not longer before the sound of her footsteps died than I felt pregnant in the mind. I thought the city library was the best hospital to go for a safe delivery. I sat down in a corner and grabbed the pen to jot down the first draft of this article: Boredom. I started with my memories of the past and the frequency with which Boredom attacked me and most importantly, how I dealt with it. Boredom attacked me most during the war time in Somalia and I fought with it just like an enemy trying to undermine my ability to control my life. It was years of no peace, no justice, no employment, no proper housing, no medical services, no reading material and no recreational facilities, no cinemas, no theatres, no permanent friends since you are on the move most of the year, making many friends today and losing them tomorrow as you seek refuge to a relatively stable area.
In my attempts to discourage boredom from creeping into my life, I avoided being lonely in the face of loneliness by keeping abreast with my pen and paper, writing,.. just writing..and sharing my thoughts with the rest of the world through hard-to-get access internet. It was quite risky to write about war in a land ruled by warlords but on the other hand it was the only way for a writer to survive. Those days if one wished to kill boredom with writing then danger was the only companion to associate with. There was no second option. I am confident to say that I had guts to beat boredom with the power of my pen particularly those dark years of war in Somalia.
When I came to Sweden I thought that the period of loneliness has ended since a peaceful environment produces a stable and more productive life. With high hopes and high expectations I planned to start a happy new life in my new country but what I encountered with was almost the opposite. Loneliness seems to be a way of life in Sweden and it takes long before you win a friend. Situation has been worse with me as an asylum seeker. I was put in a refugee camp to eat three times a day without doing anything.
I demanded a voluntary service in the kitchen but that did not work, so, the weight of boredom increased manifold and I could not continue that habit of eating one meal and waiting for the next without doing anything in between. One day I walked into the gate of a nearby school and asked for a job. “Do you know Swedish?” asked Ulla Lycke-stam, the headmaster of Sandareds School near Borås. I said I’m barely four weeks in Sweden but I am a qualified teacher with a 10 year experience behind him. "That is good but even if hire you I have no budget for you, so I can’t pay you” Said Ulla sympathetically with a soft voice. I said no problem, I´m already provided with bread and bed free of charge and now I want to return something to the government by working at your school without payment. Ulla admired my way of thinking and welcomed my request wholeheartedly. saying, "Come tomorrow". The next day I was an assistant teacher for science in class 9 and before I finished my second week of teaching, I spoke with the press when I accidentally found them inside the classroom, waiting for me to clarify how I came up with this idea of returning some money back to the government in the form of a free teaching service. Unfortunately, just few days into the fourth week, I was transferred to another camp thus losing my foothold in Sandareds school. Before I moved, Ulla gave me a Swedish-English Dictionary which contained 70,000 words. That was one more powerful weapon to fight the boredom of new life in a new land because as i learned the language I integrated better.