Pole Pole

Since our last update, we have experienced five days without power and hot water. After these five days had passed, we were then overjoyed to be able to take a hot shower and charge our phones. Another week has passed, and we have only nine days left here in Moshi before traveling to Zanzibar for sunshine and bathing. This week we have approached the end of our thesis and have received feedback from our mentor at Malmö University. It feels like a relief that our last work in our education is soon to be completed.

In addition to writing on the essay, we have also managed to visit the International School here in Moshi. We got to attend a lesson in history and one in global politics. The international school differed a lot in comparison to the local school where we conducted our interviews. At the local school there was a completely different authority from the teachers, for example, the students stood up until the teacher gave them permission to sit down. Followed by the students answered the teacher in choir. When it comes to the international school, there were instead several similarities with how upper secondary schools work at home in Sweden. There were also considerably more resources at the International school, they have both swimming pool, boarding house and cafe. Unlike Sweden’s upper secondary schools, the international school have its own seamstress, but also staff who handled the copier and so on.

International School

Yesterday we visited a women’s cooperative who has a small shop here in Moshi. Among other things, we bought some signs made out of banana leafs that are suitable for giving to loved ones. We also managed to find some gifts for our relatives’ children, including The big five, which was sewn in African textiles and lions that were handmade in ebony wood.

Karibu tena! 

Second Week in Argentina


I have now entered my second week in Argentina and things are going good. Last week I was reading the literature my contact person gave me and it gave me some new insights and ideas for my interviews. So everyday last week I biked to the humanities faculty and studied in the library as the good student I am 😉 Now I feel a bit more confident on the current academic discussion on the issue of abortion and this is good knowledge for both the writing of the thesis and the interviews.

Yesterday I meet with my contact person again and I showed her my interview questions. She gave me some really useful help in formulating the questions in Spanish, since Spanish not my mother language I sometimes need help with the translation.

Now it is time to contact the women for my interviews. My contact person has given me some contacts that I am now getting in touch with. One of them lives in the south of Argentina so hopefully a trip will be organized to the beautiful south.

Besides studying I have had time to enjoy the weekend with some friends. The plan for Friday was to go see a theater because it “La noche de los teatros” (the night of theater) and all the theater plays were free. After visiting three different theaters and all of them were full we decided to go to a bar instead. Saturday night continued in a cultural vibe when I went to the cinema with a friend to see a feminist movie from the 70’s. The movie was centered around the abortion struggle and the idea of motherhood in France during that period and it was so really mind opening to see that these are themes that we are still discussing in modern times in both Sweden and especially here in Argentina.

This is a poster that I found at the faculty, 9 reasons (because unfortunately number 10 was not captured in the foto) for demanding legal abortion in Argentina. They are all reasons that illuminate the current discussing of abortin in the country and the social affects it has, and i thought it could be relevant to show here on the blog.

  1. Abortion in  Argentina is non-punishable in some causes.
  2. Abortion is the leading cause of death for pregnant women.
  3. Legal or illegal, women will have an abortion either way.
  4. The upper class abort in silence and in dollars. The poor girls are the ones that dies.
  5. Abortion is an issue of public health care, social justice and human rights.
  6. Legal abortion for not to die, contraceptives for not having to abort, sexual education for deciding.
  7. Motherhood from the desire not from an order.
  8. Take away their rosary (catholic prayer beads) from our ovaries.
  9. Clandestine abortion as a business of few.

A painting on the faculty building that is demanding the access to legal abortion as a decolonization of women’s bodies.

Finishing this post with a less important picture of me eating Argentinian fires, the best ones with cheese, onion and bacon.





Life is changing…

Hi everyone!

This Friday I celebrated 2 weeks here in Ghana! I can’t believe how fast time passes here, it is crazy! It stresses me a bit, to be honest, but really trying to just keep calm and enjoy as much as I can.

So far I have spent a few more days with the first organizations I met with, conducted some more interviews etc. Otherwise, regarding the field study, I’ve been trying to get in contact with some of my contacts, and also making new connections and meeting new people that have been able to put me in contact with valuable persons that I will be able to meet up with! Connections really are everything when it comes to a country like this I have noticed, meeting someone who gets to talk to you in person and see you and hear about your project and can immediately think of friends or relatives that can help you!

The life in Accra is otherwise quite amazing, I’m getting comfy here, I have my house, my roomies, I know the roads, places to eat and where to buy the most amazing fresh fruits! Last week two of my roommates left though, so the house feels quite empty… You really become like a family living here, so we had some tearful goodbyes, but we will for sure meet again in the future!

Also, got very sick last week and after a few days I couldn’t stop thinking I had gotten malaria… So I headed to the hospital for some tests, but luckily it was just some infection that some antibiotics is currently taking care of.

Last Friday I was able to take part in something very amazing, scary, huge, life-changing and overwhelming. I was able to take part in a presentation in two different boys schools here in Accra, regarding the SDGs. A project that is called The World’s Largest Lesson. Where the aim is to educate children about The Sustainable Development Goals. Some of my contacts are from the organization AIESEC, and I will be joining this project related to the SDGs. This is a major advantage for me in my field study, my university study, and for me personally! It is connected exactly to my passions, my goals, and my studies. Back to the presentation, it was in front of hundreds of children (and some adults), and I had to use a microphone…! I have never been very comfortable speaking in front of a lot of people, always tried to avoid it. But I did it! Looking back, I’m not sure how I was able to but I did it! Even though my voice was shaking, my brain froze a few times and I forgot the most simple words in English… And the sweat, it is already SO HOT here, but nervosity makes me sweat, and I had to wear a grey t-shirt… You can imagine the rest haha! BUT I DID IT! It was overwhelming and huge, and life-changing for me because the second I started something fell into place inside of me. I felt that this is exactly where I should be, right here right now. In front of hundreds of children, speaking about their rights and how they are our future and can help make this world a better place. I have goosebumps writing this. I am so grateful for where I have gotten.

As if this wasn’t enough, I got accepted to my master’s program I applied for!

This post feels a bit all over the place now, but that is kinda how I feel now being here. So much is happening, I’m learning so much – about the world, but also about myself. I hope everyone else out there doing their MFS are able to enjoy this life-changing journey as much as me!

Är igång!

Tiden går så otroligt fort när man är på plats! Jag har redan varit här i över en vecka. Börjar få rutiner för vardagen, hittar lite lättare och tror att jag har fattat hur kollektivtrafiken fungerar här. Port Louis är en liten storstad, med cirka  150 000 invånare och till ytan inte större än att man kan promenera igenom i mindre än en timme. Men trafiken på morgnarna och eftermiddagarna påminner snarare om en mångmiljonstad… De har faktiskt också börjat bygga en metro som ska få fler att lämna bilen hemma och ta sig till stan kollektivt.

Mitt projekt är full igång. Jag lyckades få en tid för intervju med den mauritiska  antikorruptionsmyndigheten och genomförde intervjun i fredags. Det var lite spännande att få uppleva en sådan formell situation i en ny kultur. Jag hade förberett en kort presentation om mitt projekt och om vem jag är, vilket verkligen uppskattades. Rekommenderas starkt, det ger en bra inledning till mötet och ger också information till dem man träffar om syftet och bakgrunden, vilket de uppenbarligen inte alltid har. Jag träffade fyra högre tjänstepersoner och de var väldigt hjälpsamma, gav mig väldigt mycket information och tips om vad jag ska tänka på vid urvalet av kommande intervjupersoner. Känns som en bra början!

Men nu väntar en annan utmaning, då kommunchefen här i Port Louis inte svarar på mina mail, och hans godkännande behövs för att jag ska kunna gå vidare. Min plan är att be mina kontaktpersoner att trycka på lite. Tur på ett sätt att på en liten ö verkar alla känna alla…

Samtidigt som jag försöker disciplinerat arbeta varje dag, finns det utrymme för lite utflykter och nöjen också. Ön har en vacker natur med fantastiska stränder och är i övrigt väldigt rik på grönska, fåglar och mängder med småkryp. Min terrass där jag bor delar jag med två fladdermöss och massor av ödlor. Båda dessa arter jagar mygg, vilket gör dem till mina bästa vänner här 🙂

First interviews and participant observation within the Right Sector

Another week in Ukraine came to an end. A week ago approximately 30% of Ukrainians voted for a comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. Most of my Ukrainian acquaintances here said to me that they voted for Zelensky. They believe that the elections were conducted transparent and democratic. I have also met some people who think that it is not the right time for Ukraine to play democracy during the ongoing crisis. Therefore, they support the current “conservative” president Petro Poroshenko who will compete with Zelensky for the presidency. The second round of the elections will be held by the end of the April. Meanwhile, Poroshenko and Zelensky will engage in debates to win the minds and hearts of their voters.

This week I became acquainted with the Right Sector’s activities more closely. I met some key individuals within the organization and had an interesting conversation about the motivations of volunteer fighters. I met people who have recently returned from the frontline, but also with those who plan to depart soon. Two interviews were conducted this week. A lot more interviews are planned for the uppcoming weeks. I make use of the snowball sampling technique and I strongly recommend it to everyone who use interviews as the data collection method.  With the help of snowball technique I am constantly introduced to new people thanks to the social network of my research participants. Although I have arranged many meetings for the next week, the saturation point seems to be far away . So, to answer my research question I will need to get multiple insights on the phenomenon of voluntary enrollment in military battalions.

Together with the members of the Right Sector
Confiscated items with Russian or Soviet symbolic

I have also engaged in the activities of the Right Sector and made my first participant observation in the field. The Right Sector plays an active role not only in the conflict zone, but also in somewhat relatively peaceful settings of the everyday life. For instance, I followed with the members of the organization to Bessarabia in South Ukraine, close to the Moldavian and Romanian border. This trip played a preventive role and counteracted the attempt of a certain church to be incorporated into the Moscow Patriarchate. There is an ongoing competition and tension between the Moscow and Kiev Patriarchates. Both compete for the control of the churches located on the Ukrainian territory. According to some members of the Right Sector, churches that belong to Moscow Patriarchate take their orders from Russia and frequently engage in conspiracy to undermine Ukrainian sovereignty. Consequently, this trip was aimed to impede the possible conversion of a particular church to the Moscow Patriarchate. Fortunately, everything went without violence, though similar events in the past usually resulted in unpleasant incidents.

A conversation with the church abbot
Ukrainian police during the manifestation in front of the church
With proponents of Kiev Patriarchate in front of the church

Later on we had a lovely picnic in the forests of Bessarabia where everyone mingled. During this mingle I was introduced to some former volunteer militias whom I plan to meet and interview next week.

With the members of Right Sector during the picnic

Lastly, I would like to mention about the politicized and militarized stand posters that can be encountered in the streets of Odessa. These posters carry agitational character and express ideological aspects of the confrontation between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian exhortations. The frequently encountered slogans remind people about the Russian agression, while other posters inspire for voluntary military enrollment. There are also posters that glorify the actions of the Soviet Union during the World War Two, especially the victory over the so called “Fascist” occupation. Despite these conspiratorial posters, the Ukrainian people live with the hope for a peaceful future.

A poster in Odessa calling for the volunteer enrollment to the army
A poster that reminds people about the Russian aggression
The poster text says: 75th anniversary of the liberation of Odessa from Nazi occupation

It was all for this week and I will be back with more stories next week!

First days in Argentina


Finally I have arrived to Argentina and this new experience has begun.

I have decided to stay in La Plata, a student city one hour outside of Buenos Aires, where I did my exchange semester last year. I have found a wonderful little accommodation with a patio that I share with two other students. My plan is to have La Plata as a “home base” and then travel to places in the Buenos Aires region when I need to conduct interviews.

On Monday I meet with my contact person who is a teacher at the Humanities faculty here in La Plata and we had a great first meeting together. We talked a bit about my project and she gave me some literature so that I can read up on the the current discussion of abortion in the country. During my exchange I learned a lot about the women’s movement and the political debate of abortion and now I am excited to learn even more and to gain new experiences.

The first days have been intense and filled with studying but I have also had time for some catching up with missed friends from my exchange. The weather is better than I expected so I am walking around and enjoying the sun.

It feels like things haven’t changed since I left Argentina almost one year ago. The people are as friendly as always and they don’t miss a chance to sit down and drink some mate (the argentinian national drink). But there is one drastic change in the country, the economic crisis. The argentinian peso has lost half of its value in one year and the prices have increased due to the current inflation. The crisis is affecting all the areas and spheres of the lives of population, and persons have shared their discomfort and preoccupation on the current situation.

During the week I will continue reading and start to formulate the questions for my interviews. Hopefully I will have some time during the weekend to enjoy some cervezas and perhaps even a concert. The rhythm of life is relaxed and and plans happens in the moment, something that can be a bit different from the Swedish way of planing, but I like it.


The famous mate, a kind of te that you share with friends
Foto take during my walk to the faculty
The patio at the faculty 
Streets of La Plata

The catedral of La Plata and a red painted bench commemorating women who died due to domestic violence.

Children not mothers!
Graffiti that calls for the legalization of abortion
Foto of my new living room

Gender (in?)equality and prejudice

My stay here in Stone Town is almost coming to an end. Having spent more than seven weeks here, I’ve reflected a bit surrounding gender equality, prejudice and preconceived notions about Africa and developing countries in general. Before coming here, I, like perhaps many others, assumed that I would be going to a country where gender inequality was highly prevalent. I spent a lot of time thinking of how I would respond if somebody questioned why I travel alone as a female, why I’m not yet married or have any children etc. I also mentally prepared for the eventuality of males trying to hush me down, ignore my thoughts and undermine my ability as a woman and, worst case scenario, how I would behave when experiencing sexism or harassment without jeopardizing my own safety. I believe these thoughts have developed because of a narrative that has always been presented to me about developing countries and how they are far behind when it comes to gender equality and how the Western world is advanced in this area.

Instead, my prejudices have been challenged and many times, gotten a big slap in the face. In the second week of being here, I had a conversation with my Swahili teacher (who is a male) about gender inequality. We started talking about the subject when he told me about something interesting he had come to find out somewhere, which he found shocking and disturbing. He told me that he had heard that over in the US, women with the same education and work experience as their male counterparts were not receiving the same salaries as the men. I still remember his surprised reaction when I explained to him that this unfortunately, is the case for many other countries, including countries in Europe. He went on to say that it would be impossible for that to happen here in Zanzibar and even illegal. We later continued on having a long discussion about gender inequality and how it manifests itself differently depending on the country.

Now, I am no expert in Tanzanian/Zanzibari policies and regulations, nor am I saying that Zanzibar is without flaws, because that’s far away from the truth. But one thing I do know is that ever since I came here I’ve seen women in top leading positions, giving out assignments and orders to their male colleagues and employees. Something I honestly did not think I would witness prior to coming here. The head dean at my university is a woman, several of the people in charge that I met at different ministries and institutions while applying for a research permit, have been women. I’ve seen a majority of female doctors at hospitals, many of the police officers I’ve met have been women and, even in my hostel where I am currently living, there is gender parity in housekeeping, reception and in the restaurant. I say all this to say, that in a developing country that is predominantly Muslim, I have witnessed a gender parity and a sense of equality that I would not have expected before coming here. I also believe, that my own country of Sweden who prides itself in being the first feminist government in the world, has a lot of inspiration to draw from this small island off the coast of East Africa.

Having no phone on a paradise island makes it a bit hard to complete eye-catching blog posts. But when you have sunsets like these and new-found friends that capture them for you, it’s not that bad 🙂


Last week has been a bit chaotic here in Moshi. We were at our favorite place and worked on our study. From nowhere, there came a real storm and it rained in a way we had never seen before. The rain season is on the way and we have talked about the fact that we have to expect a lot of rain, but we didn’t think it would be like this! The trees fell over the roads and power lines were destroyed. We still have no power from the lines, but our accommodation has a generator now. This means that we can now charge our computers and phones a couple of hours a day.

The water has also been a problem during this time, we have almost no pressure in the shower nor any hot water. So, we have cold and quick showers in the evening. And in order to shower the hair, we first fill a couple of 1.5-liter bottles to be able to get the shampoo and conditioner off the hair. After these events we really understand how dependent we are on electricity and water.

Despite some bad luck with the weather, life has continued. Among other things, we have been to a birthday party to celebrate our friend Sanna. The party was at a restaurant called Samaki (It means fish in Kiswahili). During the evening we got to experience some traditions that are made when it is someone’s birthday. For example, the person who celebrate his or her birthday should feed his guests with a piece of cake, then the person being fed will sing Happy Birthday.

Given that it has been a little cooler weather, we have also done some shopping. Several fabrics have been purchased, some souvenirs, a bag and several kangas.

See you soon!



Första intryck från Mauritius

Anlände för fyra dagar sedan till Mauritius. Det absolut första som slår en är värmen och hur vänliga människorna är. Alla är så hjälpsamma, öppna och nyfikna.

Jag hade på förhand hyrt ett rum i Pointe aux Sables, en mindre stad precis utanför huvudstaden Port Louis (förort kan man kanske kalla det?). Min plan var att ägna de första dagarna åt att acklimatisera mig, men jag passade ändå på att träffa mina kontaktpersoner på plats redan på fredagen. Det blev två mycket trevliga och givande möten! Dessutom har jag fått lov att låna ett rum på Transparency International:s kontor i Port Louis, med tillgång till wi-fi och en telefon. Kontoret är inte bara en plats där jag kan arbeta, jag har också några trevliga “kollegor” här, vilket är mycket välkommet.

För att ladda upp inför arbetsveckan tillbringade jag en fantastisk helg med bad och skugga (nej, här ligger man inte i solen :D) i Flic en Flac, en av de vackra stränderna på ön. Det gav mig också möjlighet att få lära mig hur kollektivtrafiken fungerar. Ön är ganska liten så man kan lätt ta sig överallt med buss. Passade också på att smaka på lokala specialiteter såklart. Maten i sig förtjänar ett helt eget inlägg!

Så idag, måndag, den 1 april, startar jag äntligen mitt projekt på allvar! Självklart fick jag direkt hjälp av mina kollegor med att få information om hur jag kan komma i kontakt med den lokala myndigheten för att få komma dit och genomföra mina intervjuer. Så nu sätter jag igång 🙂

Bilderna visar mitt nya kontor men jag lägger också upp några bilder om hur min helg var. Jag lovar, det är ännu vackrare i verkligheten!