My Odd Emergency In Gothenburg

The driver gave me the key to the guest house of the Gothenburg University and returned. I opened the main door, took the staircase to the first and the second floors, using the same key to my room, kitchen and common room

Nov. 11, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 07 No.-10 Nov. 08 -2013 (Kartik 22, 2070)

A taxi driver was waiting for me at the Gothenburg Airport. I saw him showing a placard with my name. After greeting him, I put my luggage in the Deluxe Taxi. We were off on a half-an-hour journey. The taxi driver gave me a lot of information about Sweden. We talked about the differences in our thinking about our governments. As a political science and gender studies teacher, I had to think about equality, equity and public-private relation. This was the first lesson for me as a citizen. I faced some trouble in the guest house due to my ignorance. The driver gave me the key to the guest house of the Gothenburg University and returned. I opened the main door, took the staircase to the first and the second floors, using the same key to my room, kitchen and common room. It was evening, but sunny. I thought of going for dinner or for eating something outside. I took a wrong door, as there were two doors in the corridor. I thought that was the door I entered. I opened it with the very key, and the next door with the same key. Then I tried to go out through the main door but I couldn’t open it. I tried to go back to my room but I could not open the door to the corridor and the second floor with the same key. It was a big surprise and shock for me. I didn’t know about the emergency door. There was no sufficient ventilation in that area. Then I looked out to the street through the glass door. Several people saw me and kept going. They nodded their heads and shook their hands, but never tried to listen and understand my problem. There was neither a cell phone nor internet to communicate. I was exhausted, after 14 hours flight and two transit stays in Doha and Frankfurt. I started thinking about how to spend the night in the lonely staircase without sufficient oxygen and drinking water. Sometimes, we believe in good or bad luck. I thought it was my bad luck, and started calling people in the street from behind the glass door. Finally, a lady came near my door, she looked into my face and tried to listen to me but it was not clear.

During my visit to Sweden, I found two or three humanly Full Black or half Black people, no matter what gender they belonged to,or Nationality, One Rwandan , Another Swedish and Another Not decided  at Kenyan or Swedish.

When  I got rescued from the self locked situation, I used the back door, not knowing about the right door at the Guest House. I got locked on the emergency door side. I could not open my floor’s door by the same key, which I used while going out. Lacking good ventilation in the emergency door side, I started crying for help. Several people gestured with their heads and hands but kept going their own way. No one really listened to what happened? Why is he asking for help? What is the matter? Let’s listen if it is OK to help him or so on. More than 30 minutes, I was sweating and exhausted, nervous, and sad. At that difficult time, one half Black Lady came near my door and listened to my voice asking for help. She listened to me, looked at and read my paper. Luckily it was in my pocket Guest Service Invitation letter. And she said she would try to help, and asked me to not worry. At that time many White people were walking in the same street without listening to or feeling for another human being’s request, with voice and gesture. That half black lady called her husband, and her mother there and all of them stayed outside my Emergency Door, until the Rescue Man came and opened the door from the back first and opened my door to get me out of the difficult situation. The Swedish white man did not ask me a single word about how it happened? I think he was angry with me because he could be busy somewhere and he had to come just to open this door from which distance I do not know. This was in a summer vacation in Sweden on 31st July 2013.

Actually that lady also looked at my paper from outside of the door and telephoned others for help in Emergency or Guest Service. She also said, “I will stay until your door will open.” How much love can one give as strangers? I found Sophia as an angel for me during that time. And I remember stereotype is always wrong. We cannot differentiate humans by color, sex, nationality, geography, language, wealth or poverty, height, and weight or anything like that.

Dhan Prasad Pandit, Associate Professor, Political Science, Padma Kanya Campus, Kathmandu

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