MFS (Minor Field Studies) är ett SIDA-finansierat stipendium på 27 000 kr för studenter som vill samla material till sin uppsats eller examensarbete på kandidat- eller masternivå. Ett MFS ska genomföras i ett giltigt land under minst 8 sammanhängande veckor och kan utföras enskilt eller i par.
En MFS-ansökningsomgång för de som vill göra sin fältstudie under HT22 eller VT23 är öppen. Ansökningsdeadline är 11 april. Läs mer om hur du ansöker här.
Minor Field Studies is a scholarship of 27 000 SEK financed by Sida, for students that want to collect data to their bachelor or master thesis. An MFS shall be conducted in an approved country during minimum eight continuous weeks.
An MFS application round for those that want to do a field study during autumn 2022 or spring 2023 is now open. Application deadline is 11 April. More information about how to apply is available here.
A lot of focus has been put on collecting material for my thesis these past few weeks. I have spoken to an immense amount of people and officially interviewed 11 people who fit the restrictions of my study. I have been positively surprised by the information that has been shared with me. Although many people are tired and sad about the situation they are in politically, economically and socially, many are still hopeful. Many people still believe in Tunisia and in change. They are not completely oblivious and know that it will take time for the change to come but they welcome it and believe it to be possible.
As for the Eid celebrations, I have never witnessed anything like it. Everyone was going from house to house to visit relatives and celebrate together. The area I am in was full with people celebrating, which I was informed always happens. I also got to see Fathia, she is a camel and her job has been to bring water from the well for the people in the city for about 25 years. Today she is retired and still seen as an important part of La Marsa and can be found in Saf Saf during the day and out by the beach in the morning hours.
I also went on a walk through Carthage this week and it was incredible. Walking through the city and seeing ruins that have been incorporated through the city. I went to the cathedral, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis de Carthage which is today known as the Acropolium. It is no longer used as a place of worship, but for events. It was built between 1884 and 1890 under the French protectorate and Hussein II Bey.
On my way back I stumbled upon the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery contains approximately 3000 soldiers from World War II. It was so serene and calm there but I still had a feeling of unease being so close to those who fought in the second World War. It was a truly amazing experience.
All monuments in Carthage have free entrance on the first Sunday of every month which means I’ll see you next week with more pictures and information about Carthage.
One of the most impressive thing to do when it comes to doing a field study is that you get to know more about the field, meeting new people and getting their insights of how things work out for them. One of the people I was interviewing for my study let me know about this event in Jakarta, and I was very excited to check it out. The backgrounds of the participants are very interesting – they don’t just exclusively came from environmentalist background, but also actors that brought different issues. This shows that climate crisis could have a negative impact on many aspects of people’s live, not just the general and abstract idea we usually heard when people are campaigning against the earth’s destruction.
Sanggar Seroja came to this protest to represent the transgender community in Indonesia as one of the most affected community by climate crisis. They told me that on the event of natural disaster, they often face discrimination when getting help, as they are generally disliked by the disaster relief committee. They were losing their jobs as street musician when the rainy weather changes into monsoon, even sometimes they are being accused as the cause of those disaster, as it is considered sinful to be one of them. In this protest, they came to raise the awareness about how affected they are by climate change, stating in their brochure that “The transgender community drowns first on the event of climate crisis”. I personally found it very touching, as it is not easy to live in a place where people don’t support them, yet they also felt the direct impact of climate crisis.
Well, my last week in Jakarta was spent on a more exciting note. I was invited to the National Day celebration for the Nordic Embassies in Jakarta. The Embassies have a joint celebration every year and I was lucky enough to be invited by my contacts. It was fun to see some parts of Sweden in Indonesia again.
Now I’m moving on to Bali to do the next part of my study. Very excited – not only is Bali very beautiful, peaceful and it would be amazing to live there for a month, but the dynamics of the environmental NGOs in Bali are something I am curious to learn more about.
To close this post off, have a look at all these food in a Padang Restaurant, one of the most famous traditional restaurant from Indonesia. They have a unique way of presenting their food, people who wants to try the food can open the foil and eat it. Would you try it, or have you tried it? Let me know!
This week marks my fourth week in Tunisia. It has been incredible so far. Nice weather and scenery and incredibly nice people.
Before travelling I got a good head start on my thesis which is something I would recommend doing. Having good background knowledge about the country and not just what you want to study is incredibly important and has helped me out a lot.
For the past four weeks I have been busy exploring the area I am living in, which is a suburban area of the capital of Tunis, called La Marsa.
During this month the holy month of Ramadan has been going on. Ramadan is the month in which it is said that the Quran was revealed to the prophet Mohammed (pbuh). During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dusk till dawn, and they dedicate their time to God by praying and reading the Quran and performing good deeds. People usually break their fast with dates and water and the dinner usually contains soup, salad and a main dish. During the day, hardly any restaurants or fast food places are open. It has been incredible to experience Ramadan here. I have been invited to break fast with people I have gotten to know throughout my stay which I am truly grateful for. This week is the last week of Ramadan, making Eid al Ftir, or just Eid as they call it here, only a few days away. Eid is the first day of the new month after Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a celebration of the end of fasting and Ramadan which I am excited about.
I have conducted several interviews with locals which has been an amazing experience and eye opener. People are extremely nice, accommodating and understanding and actually want to share their stories and perspectives. I have gained so much knowledge about the country and the situation the people are in. Although they highlight many problems they see, they have all been hopeful that the country will change for the better.
I would highly recommend visiting Tunisia. People are incredibly nice and there is so much history. Since it is Ramadan it has been harder to explore the country as many things are closed, however, I plan on doing plenty of exploring starting next week, when everything is back to normal. I will share more as time goes.
Through my contacts in the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta, I found out that a talented Indonesian artist that live in Sweden (who also happen to be my acquaintance) named Tatum Maya was about to launch her exhibition in Jakarta. More interestingly, it was on an intercultural exchange between Indonesia and Sweden! The name of the exhibition was Intra-Chromatic, from the Sacred Bridge Foundation of Indonesia and Skövde Konstmuseet from Sweden. It was impressive to see the colors of Indonesian traditional culture of Sumba meets the unconventional contemporary art of Sweden. Both cultures blends within the art shows – such an interesting experience!
After the event, however, things went south for me. I got sick! I had a fever, cough and cold for around two weeks. Not nice especially that I have some interviews lined up. I managed to do one introduction interview, but then my condition gets worse, even after multiple lozenges, vitamins, and rest for almost two weeks. Good thing they have this app called “Halodoc” here in Indonesia, they offer consultation chat to a GP, where the doctor would then prescribe some medications to you. It feels great to skip the usual monthly queue of Vårdcentralen in Sweden! The medications will then be ordered from the nearest pharmacy from your place, and it will be picked up and delivered to you by a Gojek driver, the widely-known motorcycle driver service. All takes an hour and I got all of these, including (sadly) a possible bronchitis diagnosis (might be the pollution & AC):
I have lost so much time because of this – since I need to reschedule my interviews, some of them become unavailable before I move to Bali, so I need to shift the interview to zoom interviews. That was so sad. In the meantime, I am ordering some tropical fruits to try to get me to eat more greens. So easy and they’re delivered right to your door!
The 4th of February marks my arrival in Jakarta, Indonesia. Was quite a drastic change from -2 C when I left Stockholm, to the it’s-always-30-degree-celcius here. It’s been a year since I last visited for a quick 2-week off, where I sadly did not get a lot of time to do other things than doing my personal errands, cause it was still in the middle of the pandemic. This time, there is no quarantine enforcement anymore to enter the country, we can go places without having to “check in” with an app called PeduliLindungi, that shows whether or not you’ve been vaccinated (or if you’re currently tested positive for Covid). Hurrah, the Covid ban has been lifted! Time to celebrate with lots of amazing food!
Indonesia prides themselves for their food, and the culture tells you to share food with each other. I wouldn’t do them any justice if I don’t post any pictures of their national food. So apologies if I put some food pictures here and there – it’s just part of respecting the culture 🙂
So, I was very fortunate to get the Minor Field Studies stipendium from SIDA! I am studying Communication for Development in Malmö University, and I have always wanted to do my research about Indonesia, to contribute for more research for this country, from a local’s persective. In fact, that relates to what my thesis is going to be about – applying postcolonialism perspective into the practice of international communication practices in Jakarta and Bali. I am reaching out to some local environmental movements, organisations, sociopreneur, journalists that are communicating environmental issues here to people in Indonesia, to get their insights and perspective of doing things locally. I’ll talk more about my work in the later posts, I am not scheduling my fieldwork to start straight away because I need some time off to settle in, fixing some personal bureaucracy issues that I could only do while I’m in town, and meeting lots of familiar faces.
Remember when I say Covid ban is lifted? It means more people are not allowed to work from home anymore, so they have to go to the office in Central Jakarta. It means that more than 3,2 million people are commuting from Greater Jakarta to Central Jakarta every day. Which resulted in… pollution.
They have built a new MRT system in 2019, but it hasn’t reached the suburban areas in Greater Jakarta. Other means of public transport like the Commuter Line or TransJakarta are pretty crazy to take in the rush hour, you need a better strategy to be able to get in. Therefore, most people still resort to cars and motorcycles- the automotive industry are still very profitable here . Now you can see why the roads are always full with vehicles, and the air with pollution. But I have faith that things are going to get better, new infrastructures are going to be built in the near future and fights towards a better climate situation always exists.
Well, that’s it for this introductory post. I’ll be back with more posts, so until then, eat some good food and take care!
I have during these weeks done numerous visits at the school, visited a Study Center and a Private International School. I am so grateful for all the teachers and students that have participated in the interviews and letting me attend lessons, record, and take photos. I now have ten full interviews and ten lesson observations in different subjects. I couldn’t be more pleased about the material that I have managed to collect for my field study in The Gambia. A lot of work remains to be done, in writing the thesis of my Master, but I am looking forward to summarizing, reflecting and analyzing through text about my topic.
My stay in The Gambia has been unforgettable. It’s hard in just a few words to express all the feelings and experiences that comes with a long stay abroad. I have made life-long friendships with people here and the memories I will forever keep in my heart. It’s not until you get to know people and a society close-up, that you really are able to understand and realize how different our conditions in terms of living are, and yet at the same time, realize we are very much the same.
The most difficult part for me, I must say, has been the loneliness and the long time being apart from my family. I’ve learned to solve problems in a way I didn’t know I was capable of before. I think it is good to struggle when the feeling of longing home gets too strong. It only makes you a stronger person. This, I couldn’t have managed without the help from my loving and caring host-family in The Gambia and from my family, friends and colleagues at home, always encouraging me by texting over WhatsApp. I will forever remember all the friendly smiling people here, and I admire the way they take things as they come. Showing me that a simple way of living can be rich in many other ways. From the bottom of my heart, thank you The Gambia!
After one of my school visits I went to Immigration Office as I have the right to stay in The Gambia for only 28 days, and now needed to apply for a Visa. When my driver was going to start the car upon my return, the battery was not working. In less than 30 minutes he had solved the problem, lending a new one from another driver.
I had now interviewed six teachers and was thinking of getting the students’ perspectives as well. I therefore asked 5 students whom I had observed during previous lessons to participate as they seemed quite active. It turned out to be very interesting since they all had different local languages: Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Jola and Serer. The following day four of them came to the teachers’ office with a consent from their parents. I recorded it all and it turned out to be very good material for my thesis.
Saturday was the National Cleaning Day. Every last Saturday of the month it’s Cleaning Day, where you are supposed to clean your house until one o’clock. After one o’clock you can go back to regular work duties. I was told almost no one takes this seriously any longer (they did with the previous Government when president Jammeh was ruling). A better word for the day in my opinion, would be “National Sleeping Day”.
During every taxi ride to the school, I am accompanied by a woman from Sierra Leone. She’s a lawyer and is working for an American organization for a project to observe the human rights in The Gambia. She told me she studied Migration Policy in Lund, Sweden a couple of years ago. The world is indeed a small place! When I arrived at school, I was very surprised to see the crowded schoolyard. All students and teachers from Upper and Secondary School (about 3000) gathered for assembly in the morning to listen to my presentation. The principal introduced me like a royalty and handed me the microphone.
I could after the long wait finally start attending lessons and the first one was math. After the lesson I was asked to run a lesson, because a teacher who was sick didn’t show up. So, I did, and as I was unprepared I had to improvise. I chose to teach about languages, Swedish, English and Gambian local languages and comparing them. Many students were asked to get up and write on the blackboard and I noticed they were not used to do this.
I was invited to join a wedding ceremony in a village outside Brikama. It was a Muslim wedding where all the women and children were gathered to wait for the wedding couple to arrive by midnight. The children stared at me, pointing and shouted Toubab (white person)! One little girl looked terrified and started crying. After a while they got used to me. The children took care of themselves, and the women were chatting and eating from one and same plate, sharing the food. Soon the drums started to play and people were dancing!
Arriving home after the wedding, I lit the lamp and saw a big cockroach running on the floor. I tried to kill it with my shoe, but it was hiding behind the fridge. I hardly slept that night… The day after I had the room cleaned with insect’s spray, too strong to inhale so I had to move temporarily into the main house of the compound.
It’s very interesting to relisten the interviews for transcriptions, but it takes a lot of time. In my room, there is no fan working or any air condition, so it gets really hot in the daytime. I don’t have a proper working space or comfortable chair to use where I am living, and it often happens that I am without electricity for a while. However, this being a temporary issue and not something I will have to cope with at home in my everyday life, so I will get by and manage. When I am sitting here in my room or outside writing and reading, the other tenants in the compound often stop by to have a talk and socialize. It feels very nice and heartwarming. Like today, I was told by one of the young girls in the house, that if I had problems or was feeling sick, she could recommend me to see a Marabout. This is a kind of medicine woman that can spell your future and also give some good advice. When I asked the girl why she believes so strongly in this, she replied that it was obvious, because this woman can read it in your hand and she throws a bunch of herbs on the ground to see a certain pattern.
The darkness arrives very suddenly in the evening. It is so dark and no streetlights at all outside. I always bring my flashlight because there are many holes in the ground and street dogs are lying everywhere. The cars are in a very bad condition, some even broken without windows or doors. At times you have to jump quickly a side as they are passing by very fast. You see old lorries from the 60’s and wagons pulled by donkeys, crowded pick-ups and at rare occasions some brave bike riders. Poor kids come running with plastic bags between the cars to sell their goods to the taxi drivers. It looks very dangerous. It’s not unusual to see goats or cows crossing the road. The drivers have great skills to manage this kind of traffic and how to avoid getting stuck in the sand. They are often very patient and try to help each other if one gets stuck.