Tillbaka i Sverige

Är nu tillbaka i Sverige.

Har sovit i två dygn och nu börjat landa lite. Har skickat mitt sista utkast till de intervjuade, råkade dock tappa bort en av deras mailadresser så hoppas han hinner läsa innan söndag. Idag har jag opponering, det känns ok. Lite vilsen gällande hur det kommer att gå. Hursom känns det riktigt fint att vara tillbaka i sommar Sverige. Om några dagar tar jag min lärarexamen!

Ska ära gröt nu och förbereda mig inför opponeringen.

Hej svej

Survivors and Safaris

The 19th of May 2004 was a horrifying day for the people of Lukodi (a village 17 kilometers North of Gulu town). On this day, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) raided the village and carried out a massacre, taking the lives of more than 60 people. 14 years later, Dominic Ongwen is being tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the massacre while survivors request for the government’s assistance to reconstruct their village and rebuild their lives.

Apart from the massacre, Lukodi was one of the villages in Northern Uganda that suffered from persistent attacks by the LRA. Last week, I talked to some of the survivors who also stressed the responsibility of the government to remedy the human rights violations as it failed to protect them from abduction and other atrocities during the armed conflict. One was even abducted from the “protected” IDP camp (i.e. internally displaced persons) while others were abducted from their homes or the school. One thing is for sure, the survivors and their families continue to struggle psychologically, economically, and (at times) socially.

In the weekend, I enjoyed a leisure trip to Murchison National Park and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. All of the following animals were encountered in their natural habitat and under their conditions: lionesses and lion cubs, hippos, buffalos, crocodiles, elephants, antelopes, a hyena, red monkeys, baboons, warthogs (Pumba), giraffes, vultures, rhinos and much more. It was also a real baby boom to the enjoyment of all of us! Lastly, most of the animals were seen up close at a distance of less than 30 meters. Going on a safari is one of the most expensive things to do in Uganda (as well as other tourist activities) but it is a once in a lifetime experience that is worth every shilling!

Baby Rhino, Madam, born the 26th of August 2017 in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

A young elephant (Murchison Falls National Park).

A family of lionesses and their cubs resting in Murchison Falls National Park.

A baby giraffe with its mother (Murchison Falls National Park).

 

 

Inhaca, Santa Maria, Tofo

Det är där vi har varit de senaste veckorna!

Nu när våran tid börjar lida mot sitt slut här i Mozambique så har vi passat på att resa lite utanför Maputo. Inhaca blev första stoppet och är en ö som ligger utanför Maputo. Vi tog färjan dit och spenderade några nätter där. Vi besökte bl.a. Portuguese Island där vi skymtade några delfiner, blev körda av Mr Piri-piri till Inhacas fyr och gick alla 116 trappsteg och besökte coconut village. På väg tillbaka lyckades vi även köra fast, med halva bilden i diket och andra halvan i leran. Det var bara att ta av skorna, hoppa ner i leran och börja skjuta på.
– Det var den klänningen det..

Därifrån tog vi en liten båt till Santa Maria där vi träffade på en massa sydafrikaner som var där för att delta i en fisketävling kommande vecka. Det blev barbecue och en och annan 2M och många goda skratt.

Vi har även varit en runda i Tofo som är mest känt för dykning och surfande. Ingen av oss två dyker eller surfar men för er allas vetskap, så är här faktiskt en lååång vit sandstrand också vattnet tempade 26 behagliga grader. Vi gav oss ut på en deep ocean safari där målet var att få snorkla med valhajar (världens största fisk). Safarituren bjöd på säsongens största rocka som mätte 6 meter från vinge till vinge! Då vi båda trodde att rockor var max 2 meter stora blev vi ganska överraskade och
Uppsatsen börjar bli så smått färdig men jisses, tror aldrig man har försökt att hitta så många olika synonymer för ett och samma ord. Meningar och stycken vrider och vänder man på 100 gånger innan det känns helt rätt.

Inhaca:

Santa Maria:

Tofo:

Nästa inlägg: Kruger!

Tillbaka i Mumbai

Hej igen,

Nu är jag tillbaka i Mumbai. Så otroligt tomt, har nästan hela hostlet för mig själv. Gillar det : ) Slutskedet nu på uppsatsen. Det känns ok. Diskussionen stagnerade helt, har tagit otrolig tid att få ihop något jag är hyfsat nöjd med. Så många lösa trådar som inte riktigt leder någonstans. Tre dagar kvar i Indien, ska äta lunch med min kontaktperson på onsdag, om han dyker upp, vet man aldrig! Sen bär det av mot sommar i Sverige.

Hallå! Om det är några som faktiskt läser den här bloggen och som tänker att ni kanske vill söka, så gör det!!! Fy farao va fint det känns att avsluta fem år på Malmö Högskola i Indien, med sol och bad och att få skriva om något man tycker är intressant. MMmm!

Hursom, ska jag skypa med handledaren innan deadline imorgon, önska mig lycka till!

//Michaela

Mountain Gorillas and Pygmies

Where to start? So much has happened in the past week.

I have continued conducting interviews. This week with three formerly abducted persons, each lasting from 55 to 90 minutes. While the research is going well, and I am setting up more interviews with returnees themselves, what I wish to share today is not related to my research.

In the weekend, I went full-on tourist with Matilda (do you remember her from my last post?). On Friday, we went to the Equator and drove through Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park on our way to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The highlight of the trip was the tracking of the mountain gorillas which can take up to 8 hours! We were very lucky as:

  1. The weather was amazing (no rain in the rainforest).
  2. It took us just 1,5 hours to find the gorillas, thanks to the amazing guides!
  3. The whole family of 13 gorillas was resting at the same spot.
  4. We found them in open terrain which means that the gorillas sometimes move very close to us when passing.

Within the first five minutes, I was within reachable distance of a young mountain gorilla who felt like passing me and another woman. Of course, you do not touch the animals due to transferrable diseases and safety. The gorillas did not seem to mind us at all! They were resting, eating, playing around, building their nests etc. It was such a breathtaking experience to observe these animals that share 98% of our DNA. After an hour, the silverback rose up and they all left.

After returning to the hotel, we went on a community walk to visit the pygmies of the Batwa community. We danced with them, observed how they traditionally lived, made fire, and hunted. We asked how they felt about being forced to leave their home in the forest in 1991. The elders explained that it was very hard but that they have now managed to adjust to the new way of life and settled in the community. We also visited the nearby school and orphanage for pygmy children. At night, we stayed near Lake Bunyonyi, the second deepest lake in Africa.

On Sunday, we drove back to Kampala and made a small detour at Lake Mburo National Park where we spotted different animals including zebras, gazelles, and warthogs (aka. Pumba!).

Standing on both hemispheres at the Equator.

Zebra at Lake Mburo National Park

Elephant at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Tracking the mountain gorillas in the beautiful rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

A mother and her baby at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

A young mountain gorilla swinging in the trees of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The silverback resting (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest)

A pygmy and elder of the Batwa community (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park) in front of their traditional house. The pygmies were forced out of the forest in 1991 as hunting became illegal. They had to find new means of survival and adjust to the life outside the forest. Today, some of their kids have intermarried but the elders still remember the life in the forest where they grew up.

The beauty of Western Uganda cannot be underestimated. It was breathtaking.

The view from our balcony in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Our accommodation at Lake Bunyonyi where we went canoeing in the morning. The lake is the second deepest in Africa with its 900 meters. Still, it is located in the mountains 1962 meters above the sea level.

Follow this link for more pictures and videos of the mountain gorillas.

Livet på Resort

God morgon,

Jag skriver som en dåre. Så fort jag öppnar ögon tar jag fram datorn och börjar pilla, och skriver det sista jag gör innan jag går och lägger mig. Känner nu! att jag börjar kunna slappna av. Men jag har en fin enkel och mycket trevlig rutin. Går upp på morgonen, sätter mig på innergården och skriver, väntar på samma frukost som jag beställer varje dag, Masala omelett och kaffe och en skål med mango. Häromdagen beskrev de olika sorters frukost som går att göra med ägg för att de trodde jag inte visste, de trodde jag beställde samma av okunskap, börja beskriva pannkakor, och scramble och kokt och stekt ägg, men jag äter fortfarande min omelett.

Ja ni, skrev klart tidigare forskning i förrgår, vilket var kämpigt så jag varvade med Pina coladas. Riktigt goda har de här. Och hänger med katterna, två tvillingkattungar.

Ska skriva klart diskussionen så är jag i princip färdig.

Hejdå!

“We Really Are Not Street Artists, We Are Military. We Are Soldiers”

Om bara tre dagar är det första deadline! Sista gången vi får hjälp/feedback av vår handledare…. Lite läskigt men såååååååå skönt!!! Den senaste veckan har vi tagit det väldigt lugnt för vi har varit i fas med skrivandet. Det vi har kvar nu är att skriva en liten slutkläm… Vilket vi tänkte ta tag i idag så vi kan vara lediga i några dagar. Vi har kommit på vad uppsatsen ska heta dessutom (se rubriken)

Förutom att plugga så spelar vi spel, lyssnar på podcasts, går ut och äter, siestar och laddar på med energi inför sommaren i Malmö. Om 10 dagar åker vi hem och vi börjar båda känna att det är dags, vilket är skönt. 2 månader har varit helt perfekt faktiskt! Förhoppningsvis får vi inte för mycket kritik av vår handledare så nästa vecka blir relativt lugn. Då ska vi hem till vår kontaktperson på en chilensk middag och se till att träffa alla vänner vi fått här.

 

Ps. Det gick inte att ladda upp bilder, wi-fi här är sååå segt. Lovar att lägga upp nästa vecka 🙂

Adios amigos!

 

 

skriv skriv skriv

Hej hallå,

Allting löste sig tillslut i Mumbai, alla intervjuer avklarade, alla papper påskrivna och efter att ha transkriberat sitter jag nu och skriver på uppsatsen dagligen. Har haft besök från Sverige, som tog lite tid, så nu håller jag på att komma ikapp. Istället för att skriva i Mumbai har jag förflyttat mig till Goa, så nu bor jag på ett resort med pool och jobbar med uppsatsen på deras innergård. Det är otroligt mysigt. Har också börjat komma till den roliga delen av uppsatsen, diskussionen. Ska bli intressant att titta på mina intervjuer från Deweys ögon. Annars händer det inte mycket. Har en fin rutin av yoga, bada, skriva, läsa, äta. Väldigt skönt med egentid också, från att ha bott i ett dorm i en våningssäng i en månad har jag nu eget rum, och massa tid att fokusera.

Hej så länge!

/ Michaela

Where to begin? Covering three weeks in one post

I know, I know, I have been quiet recently. Actually, it is not because I am lazy – believe it or not – or because nothing happened. On the contrary, a lot happened and the past weeks have included lots of interesting and inspiring interviews, the classic traveller’s stomach problems, six-hours train rides and bum-hurting tuktuk rides on a muddy river island.

So, how do I cover all this in one single blog post? The easy solution: I don’t 😉 After the bihu festivities, the rest of April mainly went with conducting interviews and transcribing so these days I will just mention quickly. The women activists I have met here are all very informative and willing to talk and I have found a very diverse group of participants spanning from the well-educated middle class lady to the village woman who has seen too much violence and torture during the past decades’ insurgencies in Assam. They have all been incredibly open to talk to me so the past weeks have been busy but effective.

But now, after conducting my interviews and half of the transcriptions, it is time for the fun stuff! The past days I have spent outside my safe base in Guwahati more specifically, in Jorhat in Upper Assam, where I first was introduced to one of the coolest ladies I have met and her organization Purva Bharati Educational Trust (PBET) and later, visited a tea garden and got to meet the strong activists of the local adivasi women’s association. Besides interesting stories, the tea garden visit also included stunning views over green fields and a long-awaited tranquility after one month in bustling Guwahati.

Meeting with adivasi women’s activists in a tea garden

Momos (dumblings) with some of the PBET people

In the weekend, I went to Majuli – a small, but nevertheless Asia’s biggest, river island in the mighty Brahmaputra. The island is famous for its satras (monasteries for monks following the Vaishnavite branch of Hindu religion). One of my participants told me about this form of Hinduism in the interview so I was very excited for experiencing the culture that, according to her, created a more liberal caste system and better living conditions for women in Assam (I have my thoughts about the caste system, including the Assamese, but I will leave that discussion out of the blog).

After arriving on the island, I soon discovered that exploring Majuli and the satras is just easier with your own vehicle and a local guide as both public transport and English-speakers are scarce. However, I tried to make the most of it by hitching a ride on all possible vehicles – scooters, cars and tractors – to make it to the first satra (I also accidently paid 200 rupees for a ride but luckily most people were too nice to take advantage of a confused tourist, who did not do her research before going).

Majuli landscapes

Satra prayer house

My whole trip changed completely when I was on my way back from visiting the first satra, out of the five I planned to, and a car stopped right by my side. The door was opened and a father, mother and two children gestured at me to make me get in. Few minutes later I found myself drinking tea in the family’s home and desperately trying to understand Assamese chit-chat from the cutest 4-year-old boy, who did not seem to care about my limited vocabulary and confused sign language.

I spent the rest of the weekend with Prasanta and Banalata and their children. After knowing me for approximately one hour, they offered me to stay in their house and show me around the island. Prasanta took me to three more satras and a tribal Mishing village, where one of his friends invited for spicy but delicious lunch and home-made rice beer. I also had the pleasure of meeting Prasanta and Banalata’s neighbors and drinking endless amounts of tea. I was really sad to leave Majuli after just two days but back in Jorhat, the reunion with Smita, Arup and Sinumoni from the awesome PBET crew (and some more rice beer) cheered me up.

Beautiful wetlands on Majuli

My sweet sweet Majuli hosts

Tribal bamboo houses

Masks for paunas (religious Hindu dramas)

I think it is safe to say that the hospitality and helpfulness of Assamese people is the most overwhelming and heart-warming I have experienced yet. Everybody has welcomed me like a member of their own family and shared their home, their food and lots of smiles with me. I am already planning another trip to Jorhat and Majuli just to meet these treasures again and I STRONGLY recommend everyone travelling to India to make a trip to the North East! I simply don’t have enough words for expressing how good the Assamese people have been to me.

Cheers in home-made rice beer!

Reunion in Jinja!

In the past week, I have worked on transcribing my interviews and met with YOLRED (Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development – an initiative founded by former abductees and others who were affected by the war to support youth).

I went to Jinja last Friday. The journey started with a canceled bus at 8 AM and a one-hour delayed post bus from Gulu to Kampala. The trip was quite long (7 hours) as the bus stops several times on route. In Kampala, I changed to a matatu (the shared taxis) to Jinja with the help of the brother of my contact. The drive was … interesting. There are at least 15-20 persons in the car with all their luggage (be it bags of corn, rice, weekend bags). After dark, much rain, and delays due to queues, our driver decided to drive off-road – against traffic! After 3.5 hours, I finally arrived in Jinja where Matilda picked me up. Matilda and I met at the MFS preparation course in Hӓrnӧsand. It was so much fun to reunite in Uganda. On Saturday, we went river rafting, sightseeing in town, and had a delicious dinner right next to the Nile. Unfortunately, I had to go back already on Sunday morning to reach the last afternoon bus to Gulu which leaves at 1 PM. After the experience with the matatu on Friday, I decided to go with a safer, more comfortable, and expensive option: The Pineapple Express. I can only recommend it. We arrived in just 2.5 hours and that included a stop at the bank. The service is a hire car and driver, which takes you from point A to B with whatever stops you desire (hence, the higher cost).

This time, I will be back in Gulu for just three days as Matilda and I are going to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to track the gorillas. I am so excited!

The first rapid aka. a four-meter waterfall

The boat actually did not flip but 50 % of the crew went for a swim

On our way to the rafting site in an open truck

Monkey on one of the main roads in Jinja

Local artist in Jinja

The Nile (Jinja)