As of now I have spent just over two weeks in Turkana County. My first two weeks were spent in Lodwar networking and getting both my head and my way around my study and my approach. As mentioned in my previous post I had a few meetings and todays post was going to introduce my meeting with the organisation Friends of Lake Turkana.
I was met by the executive director, Ikal, and her colleague Andrew. They were both happy to receive me and assist me in answering questions in regards to the current situation of extractives in the area. Friends of Lake Turkana are actively working in representation of the local communities as well as communicators to them from both national and local government and were therefore very well informed and had no hesitated answers to my questions.
I introduced my study and my aim from which we had discussions of how I could possibly move forward and how they could be of help. It led to contacts in the field in Lokichar, as well as being invited to come with one of their representatives to a meeting held Tuesday 27th when Kenya Land Alliance was launching a report regarding land acquisition and community compensation. The meeting lasted for approximately 6hs, and was not only informative and contributed to material to my study, it was also a great opportunity for further networking.
Through connections received by Friends of Lake Turkana, that is on site in Lokichar where the oil fields are, I have now started my interviews with the local communities. I left Lodwar after the meeting on the 27th and arrived in Lokichar in the afternoon. In the photos below you can the landscape we drove through to get to my new destination.
Next week I will write about my first time and experience in Lokichar and the plan for my coming weeks as I have had to rearrange and re-plan most of the rest of my trip due to new circumstances.
Time is flying by! It is easy to forget to update! A lot has been going on.. I had my birthday and went out of town for some celebrations. I have managed to complete five interviews all of a sudden. I am also getting more and more comfortable going on the local trains even if the train as such is not a one of comfort. If you are unlucky with the timing in the mornings and evenings when all of Mumbai also want to go on the trains.. yeah.. well, then you do your best to even manage to get onboard. Put your bag in the front, tackle the door from the side, try to get hold of the doorhandle and squeez your way up. And don’t be afraid to use them elbows your mother gave you cos you need them. At least I am a little taller compared to the majority which is an advantage. This week however I didn’t even make it further in the train than just to stand by the door. And here in India the door does not close.. Exciting to say the least… I wanted to take a picture but then it would have been for the price of losing my phone. Anyways, I try to avoid peakhours as much as possible. It is just not worth the bruises and the sweating and the stares I get from looking like the lost tourist that I am. However, I feel pretty proud about managing this good haha!
So as I said.. I have now conducted five interviews and have five left to go. It has been a little difficult to get hold of students and still trying to get the remaining interviews confirmed. I have transcribed two of them and it takes sooo much time. 50 min becomes 11 pages of text and about 4-5 hours of work. The other three interviews have been in hindi where I have had the help of an interpreter. So waiting for her to give me a more detailed translation for the interviews before I can transcribe them aswell. But part from this tedious transcribing all this is fun. To meet people and learn new things. I am so thankfull to be able to do all this!
Second week in Bali!
Since the last post we have moved and started to work with the actual essay. Our new accommodation is nice and quiet with good work spaces but actually we are moving again! We’ve met and befriended a couple who have been here for 6 months and they recommended a hostel to us which would be cheaper! So we’re gonna try it and see if it’s good, if not we’ll just move back to the place we’re at now!
So about our work… Last week there were some miscommunication by e-mail between us and one of the organisations we’re in contact with. We thought we worked it out but now we haven’t heard from them for a while. They are the ones who are going to help us with an interpreter so we really don’t want to lose them. So, no interviews this week either. Meanwhile we’ve been working on the rest of the essay and gathered more information and we feel good about our process!
Other than this, our week has consisted of scooters, beaches and good company. So not too shabby!
First week in Uganda is done. It was a somehow a rocky start for us. The hospital we were in contact with and thought we were gonna do our interviews at changed their minds so we had to start over. Our contact person took us to a hospital and we met the research officer there who gave us papers to fill in, asked us questions about our bachelor thesis and wanted her to give her our proposal. We left there a bit confused and asked our contact person about the proposal and she told us that it is our project plan. So that night we went home, filled in all the papers and changed some things in the project plan. We met the research officer some days later again at the hospital and gave her everything and at the 28th they going to do a ethical review of our project plan at the hospital. We are hopeful that after that we can start interviewing nurses!
We are also trying to get to know our new town Kampala. And get used to all the traffic. Because it is so much traffic and it is always a jam, no matter what time it is. If you have an appointment you need to get an Uber at least 1,5 hour in advance even though the distance isn’t even that far. We have gone with motorcycle taxis a couple of times (here it’s called boda or boda boda), but they drive very fast and so far there have not been any helmets involved for the passengers…
We went with our contact person and now also friend to the Zoo in Entebbe. It is not just a zoo, it is also a rescue and education center. The coolest animals was the wild monkey though that came to the zoo when it started to get cooler in the afternoon. They were so many and not at all afraid. We bought some cookies to have on the way home but on the way to the car a monkey with a baby saw them from far away and started to run towards Halima who held them! She started to scream and the monkey was persistent to get the cookies and Halima surrender fast! It was hilarious to watch.
Becase there are still time until we can start doing interviews we are going to Nairobi, Kenya. Then we are off for two nights and tree days in Masaai Mara and hopefully getting to see The Big Five!
We have now been in Tanzania for more than a week! The time runs so fast!
We arrived safely in Dar El Salaam on sunday morning, and took a local bus for a seven hours journey to Tanga. Apart from some misunderstanding about which bus station we where to be picked up at, which lead to two hours waiting… there was no problem at all! We are staying with the organisation Tanga international competence center – TICC. It is a Norwegian organisation that works on many local grassroot projects! They are supporting families so their kids can go to school, they work with schools, health centres, elderly homes and nutritional gardens and more. Mainly students from Norway, but also some from Denmark and us two from Sweden, stay here to do clinical training or to wright an essay as we are. The goal is to meet and learn from each other. TICC is really the best place to be for us! They are helping us with all practical stuff regarding our data collection! Wow 🙂 Also, we got swahili lessons! So now we can at least greet each other (mambo, habari gani..) say our name (mimi ni…) say thank you (asante) and some other good to know stuff! Now we just need to repeat, repeat, repeat…
Regarding our study, we have started with observations, to get an understanding about the health situation here. We have been to a health centre in Tanga, a sub-urban dispensary and a more rural dispensary. The last will be one of the places where we will do the interviews. It has been so interesting! The healthcare is very different here, especially regarding the environment, the equipment and the integrity. They also seem to have a culture where everyone takes care of each other, one’s health issues is the collectives health issue. Still a lot of things are the same, just a bit different due to their circumstances here.
We’ve also been to a local market, out on a boat tour and we also we have had some time to rest our heads in the sun.. So far we really love this place and we have learned so much! Now we are really looking forward to start the interviews and get to know this country more!
Welcome to Lodwar (see photos)! This is my new home, at least for the first two weeks (as I will be going back and forth to Lokichar), and in this post I will introduce to you my first week in this town.
I have now been at my study destination for exactly one week, and I have experienced both difficulties and progress. My first two days were fairly quiet and were used to try to get to know my surroundings and how to make my way around everything. I quickly noticed that everyone is very curious of me and walking around in central is not done discreetly. Everybody is starring (in friendly ways) and many come up just simply to say “Welcome!” and shake my hand. Those who do not come up still wave hello from a distance. So, during my first couple of days here I was taking in the whole picture of my new environment, locating myself, finding places to eat and finding my permanent boda boda/piki piki driver (motorcycle taxi) as it is easier to have one or two you can call when you need to go somewhere.
Although its rain season in Kenya, we experience very little of this and temperatures reach up to 40c every day in the sun, and approximately 33-35c in the shades. There are two hotels here where there is access to swimming pool, and one can pay a fee (500 ksh/43 sek) for a full day access to the pool, and this is where I spent my weekend :).
I had my first meeting with a girl I got in contact with through the project leader I am cooperating with. She works at an NGO here, and I am very pleased with how successful this meeting was. Other than this I have had a bit of a slow start but things are falling into place and I am getting more and more prepared to head out and commence the actual interviewing and field study!
In the next post I will write about my meeting with Friends of Lake Turkana that I have on Wednesday and our potential cooperation that I hope for!
Our first week in Bali is coming to an end and we’ve already experienced so much! We had decided to spend the first week to settle in and get used to our new home and sort out practical things such as getting sim-cards, figure out the transportation system and familiarising ourselves with our new surroundings and culture. Everything has been going fine so far expect for a few hick ups! When we first arrived at our apartment we found it perfect, we had our own room and a pool and the staff were very nice and helpful, although we soon discovered that it was located far away from the city centers. Meaning we would have take spend a lot of money on taxis quite often, and we soon realized that we had to relocate to a more central accommodation. So today we are moving to a new hostel with a lot of work spaces and good reviews, hopefully this will work out for the best!
As for the weather, the rainy season has begun but so far the weather has mostly been sunny and enjoyable, it has only been raining during the nights. We also had an earthquake! Although it was only a small one and we slept through it though some of our friends felt it and their toilets overflowed! Luckily that didn’t happen to us.
We haven’t met our contact persons yet but we have e-mailed with them and hopefully we will begin our interviews next week! They seem positive and excited to help us!
Last week was Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. Diwali symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Homes and buildings are decorated with lights, firecrackers are being set on fire in almost every street corner and it is not only cute little *pops* and *cracks* but rather the sounds of tiny bombs. Everyone is laughing at me for jumping of my chair from being startled. It feels like even the cats who lives in my apartment are looking at me weirdly after my little jerking dancemoves.
As promised in my last post I will give you a short introduction to the organisation I will be working with and what my study will be about.
The Mumbai based NGO Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) is the first men’s organization in India directly intervening against gender-based violence towards women. For the past 25 years MAVA has been working on engaging men and boys in India on gender issues and equality. Over the years, they have developed several methods for involving young people through interactive workshops, street-plays, newspapers, poetry reading sessions, talks and discussions.
I will be doing a qualitative study on one of MAVA’s programs. A one year mentor-training program engaging male college students in conversations addressing issues related to gender based discrimination and violence. The growing demand of involving men and boys to achieve gender equality has led to an increased number of organisations and programs around the world to answer this demand. Where MAVA is one of them. With the theory that gender norms and social values are socialised from an early age, leading to the unequal power relation, MAVA tries to break gender stereotypes and change men’s and boys’ views on patriarchal society. I intend to interview 10 college students who have recently completed MAVAs one-year mentor training to investigate how they describe their experiences of the program. Focus will be on the training program seen from the participating students’ perspective ending in a report for MAVA to use in developing their approaches and programs.
My overall research question aims to cover:How do the interviewed participants of MAVA’s mentoring training describe the programs content and the impact it has had on how they perceive gender-based discriminations, equality and patriarchal norms in society after completing the one-year program?
One last exciting thing before I end this post is that I yesterday met with Priya, my translator for this project. She is herself studying a master in Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences here in Mumbai. It was great to meet her to discuss the best way to go about the interviews which I hope we can start with next week!
As part of my Bachelor degree in Social Work at Malmö University I spent five months earlier this year in Mumbai to carry out my field placement (Verksamhetsförlagd utbildning). The internship was with a non-governmental organisation called Vacha which focuses on girls’ and young women’s empowerment and education. Vacha is a term in several Indian languages meaning speech, articulation and self-expression and the organisation work to give the girls a voice and a platform to be able to speak up in their communities and public spaces. If you want to read more about their work in their community centres in and around Mumbai you can follow the link below: www.vacha.org.in
I am now back in Mumbai for a MFS and looking forward to further experience this fast paced and intense life that this city, with a population of about 22 million, has to offer. The people, the food, the sounds and the smells. The culture, the colours and celebrations. The luxury and the poverty. The traffic… well maybe not so much the traffic but at least you always have something interesting to look at while you are stuck in an auto rikshaw. Surrounded by hundreds of other “riks”, cars, motorbikes, trucks, dogs, goats, street sellers, all while in 36 degrees, breathing in the heavenly smell of pollution. How can one not I love it?
India is the fastest growing economy in the world. However, not everyone seems to be onboard the fast moving train of progress. The Indian middle class might be growing but there is, for example, a gaping rural-urban divide as well as a gender discriminations when it comes to economic progress and development. So yes there is a whole bunch of inequalities in this country. Not only economic, but also when it comes to social rights and opportunities. But there is also good things happening:
The above links are just two examples of big top-level decisions. However, on grassroot level great things are happening every day. I have seen this during my internship and I get motivated by these hardworking people that want to see positive change in their communities and country.
So follow me on my two months minor field study to see where it takes me. In my next post I will introduce you to my project and the organisation I will be working with – Men Against Violence and Abuse.