Meeting so many inspiring people

Hello, from a very rainy and windy Accra!

I can finally say this past week has been very busy, with interviews! YAY! Last week included a smaller breakdown, both because of the lack of internet which is really making everything A LOT harder, and because my lack of interviews and just some general homesickness (never thought I’d say that!). But as usual, after surviving a really bad day like that the next day brought a lot of positivity and strength and motivation! So on Thursday I went about 2,5hrs drive from Accra to an NGO and spent most of the day there, interviewing staff. They had built like a whole small community, with a school even, for rescued child trafficking victims. It was amazing to see and spend the day there. Then both my Friday and Saturday was spent with another organization here in one of the slum-areas in Accra. This is an organization that a Swedish woman started, that I found by finding her old master thesis online. I had a very useful interview with one of the staff, and on Saturday I got to join the youth ambassadors meeting they have every Saturday. They had a little small presentation for me about educational systems in Ghana and child trafficking. WOW, so so grateful for this experience. Afterward, I got to present what I’m doing in Ghana and my studies, and since they had shared the educational system in Ghana I shared what I know about the educational system in Sweden. Huge huge differences, here children who want nothing more than to go to school cannot, or even if they do they face sexual abuse and rape by their teachers, and in Sweden, there’s so many who are complaining about even having to go to school… Perspectives… Then we just continued having very interesting conversations about child trafficking and governments, what needs to change for trafficking to end etc. I left that place with such a warm feeling in my heart.

Donbass trip

This week I traveled to the Eastern Ukraine to conduct my final interviews and engage in participant observation among the volunteer fighters. This trip was necessary and I decided to realize it when I saw that I can’t answer my research question by doing my study in Odessa only. Therefore, I had to extend the sample of my research participants. Another alternative could be to reformulate the whole topic, which means the reformulation of the purpose, theory and the method as well.

My first stop was in the city of Pokrovsk or the former Krasnoarmeysk. The city was renamed after the hostilities broke out in this region. I was met by a wonderful and hospitable Ukrainian family to which I am very grateful. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish my data gathering in the field without the assistance of those people. They shared their expertise and helped me to reach some important research participants. Thanks to their contacts, I can say that my data gathering has reached the saturation point.

Pokrovsk Central Station
Ukrainian hospitality

The next day after my arrival, I participated in the posthumous award ceremony at the Donetsk Technical University in Pokrovsk. The event was dedicated to the fallen combatant of the Aydar battalion. This event was followed by a very powerful and emotional anthem singing. Michael Billig would call this banal nationalism, albeit it can provide human beings with solace and a sense of fulfillment in times of war. It was interesting for me whether Ukrainians were so patriotic from times immemorial or there was a particular factor that fueled this nationalism. Almost everyone I have been in contact with describe the conflict in Ukraine as an international conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Only people who have become the victims of the Russian hybrid war with its powerful propaganda understand the Ukrainian crisis as a civil war.

Donetsk National Technical University
Posthumous award ceremony
Posthumous award ceremony
Aydar fighters at the posthumous award ceremony of their comrade
Emotional poem telling by a patriotic Ukrainian woman


Together with the volunteer fighters from Aydar battlion
Visiting the grave of the posthumously awarded soldier at the local  cemetary in Pokrovsk

Despite the evidence found in the battlefield that indicates the presence of the Russian military and weapons in Donbass, most of the international community is also reluctant to admit the Russian factor in this bloody war. Although the OSCE is present in Donbass, the organization mostly takes a neutral position in this conflict. However, it is evident that Donbass is the next region of Ukraine after Crimea that Kremlin administration plans to grab from Ukraine. The international community has to support the tenets of international law and not to be indifferent when there is a threat to the territorial integrity of any UN member state. Because such indifference is a real threat to the international peace and security. Separatism spreads violence and there are many peacebuilding techniques, which can be used to stop the hostilities and provide the conflicting sides with a win-win outcome.


Ett besök i huvudstaden

Hej hej,

Förra helgen spenderade vi i Bogota efter att vi hittat superbilliga biljetter dit. Och vi kände att vi behövde en paus från både plugg och värme. Vi har två vänner som bor där som hostade oss och visade oss runt. Helgens bästa var det sköna vädret. Väldigt nice med svenskt vår-väder och att kunna ta på sig ett par extra tröjor efter 5 veckor i varma och fuktiga Cali. Vi åt god mat, drack mycket varm choklad, promenerade mycket, dansade lite och njöt av fina utsikter.

Med våra vänner som visar oss runt deras hemstad, Bogota.

Denna veckan har vi fokuserat på att skriva, skriva, skriva. Och diskutera det vi skriver. Vi har letat oss till ett nytt ställe efter att ha tröttnat på “vårt” café en aning. Numera häckar vi på ett hostel med pool, det är nyöppnat och därför är där väldigt tomt, lugnt och skönt.

Dricker lemonada de coco som är vår bådas nyfunna kärlek. Och skriver uppsats… såklart.

Un abrazo!
Malin och Rolanda

Transcribing and Adventures in Buenos Aires

Hola Amigxs!

Right now I am struggling a bit to find more persons to interview. The six interviews I have conducted so far was really easy to get a hold so I am a bit frustrated now when things are not going as smooth as before. Hopefully the persons I have written and tried to get in contact with will answer me soon so that I can reach collect more material on the activist’s role in the struggle for legalizing abortion here in Argentina.

Meanwhile I’ve started to transcribe the interviews I have conducted so far, but the process is sloooow. To be honest it is really really boring and it takes such a long time. But with a bit of patience and time I hope I will survive this too.

Otherwise things are continuing as before here in Argentina. I feel comfortable here and I believe its because I was already familiar with the country, culture and the city before going on this MFS adventure. In that sense I believe that I might not face the same struggles with culture shock and difficulties of adaption as other persons who goes on a mfs might do. This does not mean that my stay here is all without difficulties or struggles, it happens to me too, but I think that I have been able to adopt myself rather quickly into the Argentinian rhythm and culture, and that maybe an unanswered message or last minute canceled or changed plans does not surprise me anymore. I have learned to accept these things, that the understanding of the concept of time and planning is not the same as what I am used to. But even though I’ve experienced canceled plans and unanswered messages people are so friendly and warm, there is always time for having some beers or drinking some mate, and for this I love Argentina and the beautiful people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know here.

I spent last weekend in Buenos Aires, the big buzzling capital of the country. It was nice to get out of the smaller city La Plata after a while. Dont get me wrong, I love to live in La Plata, it is a beautiful student town filled with culture events and things to do for students, but after I while a felt that I needed to see something different. Then it is great to have Buenos Aires close, and after an hour long train ride I was able to breath the big city air of the capital.

I spent the weekend by going to the annual book fair, some museums, and eating some nice food. I did also conduct an interview, so my stay in the capital did also include some field work and it was not all vacation mode. The city is huge but its so beautiful and sometimes it feels like Im walking around in an European city because some buildings in some neighborhoods resembles the architecture of cities of Europe. But of course the city has its Latin American vibes, and I think this is the reason for why I love the city so much, its this mix of something familiar with something exciting and culturally different. The city does also contain a lot of Argentinian history and many squares and places are filled with history. Such as the Plaza del Mayo, the square in front of the President palace “Casa Rosada”. During the military dictatorship mothers who’s children got abducted by the military and disappeared, went out to the square and marched in front of the presidents office demanding the State to be accountable for the disappearance of their children and its human rights violations.


Here are some pictures from my weekend in Buenos Aires

Plaza Del Mayo

Casa Rosada
The mothers of Plaza Del Mayo






Ups and downs: after rain comes sunshine!

Hi people,

I’m in my third week now in Wagwe, Kenya, and the days/weeks has been all from ups and downs. I think the main difference that I experience where I am, from reading others shared stories – is that I am quiet limited to move outside a particular area. Meaning, I cannot go by myself to go for a coffee in town, go for a walk, go to a beach – yeah you know, these things that most people do when they “travel”.

This, however, I know is a field study and not a tourist trip, but still it is challenging. Why I cannot go by myself, I don’t want to write here, but you are welcome to contact me personally of you wish to know.

This has ended up with a lot of alone time, reading, meditating. To help out in the household makes me feel better, as I am being productive.

There has been two accidents (one in my personal life at home, and one here) in the amount of 4 days, which also has made things a bit hard. But with support from wonderful people here and close ones at home, I have managed to get through the obstacles that arose a tempting thought of changing my ticket home earlier.

I have during the past weeks here been to the community school and see how they are working with the children, and it is so wonderful to see!

Also, I’ve met friends and family members of those I’m staying with, whom have giving me some inside information of various things, such as the school system in Kenya. It has given me time to reflect and understand a bit more how things work here – and how hard it actually is for children and youths to go to school.

Now I will be heading to the school to give out some lunch, and afterwards I will be having an interview.

After lunch in school

What an inspiring week!

Hi! This week has been fantastic, I had some really interesting experiences seeing what technology within education can do for inclusive education, had a great interview with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and I went to the Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple).

Below you see some photos from the Monkey Temple I went there together with Hanna, she is an MFS student from Stockholm University doing her research on water resources in Kathmandu Valley. The Monkey Temple provides a panoramic view of the city and valley, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu.

Hanna and I at Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)
Hanna and I at Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)
Me spinning the prayer wheels at the Monkey Temple
Me spinning the prayer wheels at the Monkey Temple

I had the opportunity to meet with Mr Narad Dhamala from the Inclusive Education Section (Center for Education and Human Resource Development) and Ms Sarala Poudel previously Curriculum Development Centre, both working for the Nepal Ministry of Education, Science & Technology. It was a very interesting meeting about how the Government of Nepal work with inclusive education, challenges and future plans. Also, Ms Rajuna Singh, an Australia Awards alumni was my translator for the interview, so helpful and important work! The Ministry is responsible for all overall development of education in Nepal, formulating educational policies and plans and managing and implementing them across the country through the institutions under it.

Photo of Narad, me, Rajuna and Sarala
Photo of Narad, me, Rajuna and Sarala

Rajuna Singh used to work as a teacher within computer education, teaching at a special school in Kathmandu. Through Rajuna I got in contact with two of her former students, Umesh and Darshan, both youth with severe intellectual disability. Of various reasons, none of them have been able to go to school in the last two years. For Umesh it is that he is now too big and his mother can no longer carry him up two sets of stairs (they live on basement level) and to the bus stop. Instead, after training with Rajuna and through donors in Europe, both Umesh and Darshan have received computers adjusted to their needs. Umesh controls his computer through a joystick control by his foot. He has learned how to type using his feet and can now communicate without problems online, he even has his own YouTube Channel called Umesh TECH – check it out as it is fantastic!

Umesh is typing by using his foot on a joystick
Umesh is typing by using his foot on a joystick
Umesh computer, you can see that it is set up for him to write with his feetq
Umesh computer, you can see that it is set up for him to write with his feet
Umesh own YouTube channel
Umesh own YouTube channel

Darshan can not talk verbally, however through technology he can now communicate through his computer. He has learned how to write with his nose, he wrote really quick and it was easy conversation for me to speak and he to type back. He is a great writer, now he has written over 150 poems – all in English!  Now Umesh and Darshan both study English from home, one of the best things is that they are still connected online and through Facebook keep in touch with each other. They are two fantastic people and I feel priviliged I got to meet them both.

Darshan writing with his nose on his ipad
Darshan writing with his nose on his ipad
Darshan, me and his mother
Darshan, me and his mother

En rapport inifrån min bubbla

På väg till kontoret idag insåg jag att  jag verkligen lever i en bubbla här. Anledningen till denna “uppenbarelse” är att det har sipprat in lite saker hemifrån i denna bubbla och då blir det så uppenbart hur långt därifrån jag är (mentalt). Om jag ska försöka förklara det så känns det som om jag har landat på en annan planet snarare än i ett annat land. På denna plats har jag fått en bonusfamilj som jag bor hos, där det känns “hemma”, där vi delar de glädjen och bekymmer som hör till livet. Jag har också skapat en vardag med allt vad det innebär med rutiner, där irritation över att hamna i solsidan på bussen, att känna väl till öppettiderna i mataffären ingår… Och där jag har nog blivit lite hemmablind för de vackra sakerna på denna ö. Det är så vant nu att jag har svårt att föreställa mig mitt “vanliga” liv hemma. Och det är absolut inte en negativ känsla, det är mer en reflektion från ett MFS 🙂 (För att motverka denna känsla och frångå min hemmablindhet valde jag att gå in i det otroligt vackra hindutempel som jag passerar varje dag. Ni kan se bilderna därifrån.)

Mitt projekt fortskrider. Jag har samlat in ännu mer empiri, jag är så glad för att ha fått möjligheten att besöka en annan kommun också och genomföra intervjuer även där. Som jag beskrev tidigare så är Mauritius ett litet land, Port Louis är en liten storstad… och ute på landet är verkligen lantligt. Mapou:s “centrum”, där jag var igår, består av några offentliga byggnader (kommunhuset, domstolen och ett ministerium) samt en affär och ett gatukök. Mittemot byggnaderna är det sockerrör och åter sockerrör, tills man ser bergen torna upp sig i bakgrunden. Men det var väldigt intressanta möten innanför väggarna i alla fall!

Återstår på min önskelista för att samla in underlag ytterligare en intervju med anti-korruptionsmyndigheten samt en intervju med min underbara kontaktperson här, chefen för Transparency Internationals lokala kontor. Sammantaget känner jag mig väldigt nöjd med datainsamlingen och det har inte minst varit lärorikt att upptäcka att resultatet inte är vad jag hade förutspått. Jag väntade mig ett system mer likt det svenska, men så är inte fallet.

Apropå sockerrör, lilla Gabriel, 3 år, lärde mig igår vad färgerna på Mauritius flagga symboliserar: RÖTT – eld, BLÅTT – hav, GULT – sol och GRÖNT – sockerrör. Mycket målande beskrivning av ön, av dess natur. Så nu är jag lika klok som en treåring!

Jag kan redan nu avslöja att det blir ett spännande nästa inlägg eftersom jag har bokat en utflykt till ön Rodrigues, som ligger ca 600 km österut (och som hör till Mauritius). Så nästa rapport kommer från en annan plats.

Kulikovo field

This week I have conducted some interviews, and I was also involved in participant observation where I took plenty of field notes in relation to my topic. I was invited to a birthday party by a woman who voluntarily enrolled as a paramedic during the most intensive fights in the Anti Terrorist Operation (ATO) in the Eastern Ukraine. This woman had a rich war experience since she was wounded and taken to hostage by the pro-Russian insurgents. During the mingle I met other women paramedics, as well as some former volunteer fighters who have participated in ATO.

Together with former volunteers of ATO and their friends
Together with former ATO volunteers on the beach of the Black Sea

The most remembered event of this week was the fifth anniversary since the events at the Kulikovo field. As a result of the provocation on May 2, 2014, almost 40 people died in the Odessa clashes. Five years ago violence broke out between those who wanted to see Odessa independent and those who supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine. On this fifth anniversary some perceived this day as a tragedy, while others perceived it as a victory and the end of war.  During my observation, the contradicting perceptions were evident at the Kulikovo field where one could observe black and red balloons, which were speaking for those who held them. Despite some conflictual situations and quarrels among the participants of two camps, violence was mainly avoided. This was thanks to the professionality of the local police and the new strategies that were adopted by the Ukrainian police in recent years.

Ukrainian flag on May 2, 2019
Kulikovo field, May 2, 2019
Ukrainian police forces during the commemoration at the Kulikovo field
Kulikovo field
Kulikovo field
Together with the Ukrainian patriot for whom the 2 of May is remembered as the end of war in Odessa
Odessa remembers the second of May…

This was all from Odessa and I will be back with new stories next week!

beginning the interview process

Hola Amigxs!

Since I last updated I finally started to conduct interviews with women involved in the struggle for legalizing abortion in Argentina. So far I have conducted 6 interviews with different women, in different ages, education, and occupation. It’s been an exiting process but also quite nerve-wracking because of the fact that it is the first time I conduct interviews. It have also been questioning my position of doing field research and how the women I interview would react to my questions, these thoughts have also added to my nervosity. But all the women I have interviewed have been so kind, helpful and willing to answer all my questions, they have also found it very interesting that I am focusing on this struggle and in their situation in Argentina, and that I am doing this research.

Sometimes the language has been a bit of a struggle during the interviews especially when it comes to asking follow-up questions. Sometimes they speak so fast and passionately about their experiences or their struggle that it becomes a bit difficult to formulate the additional questions I would like to in order to make the interview as open and as less structured as possible. But I guess it’s also a matter of practices of conducting interviews.

During the easter holidays I felt a bit far from home, especially when seeing fotos on social media of friends and family gathering and celebrating. But I tried to keep myself bussy with studying and to meet some friends here in La Plata. During holidays the city always becomes a bit of a ghost town because a lot of people return to their home towns or leave the city for the country side. So it was quite relaxing walking and biking around in La Plata not being scared of getting hit by a car when crossing the street.

Spent a Friday evening in a park and strolled around a independent book fair

One Sunday while biking around in La Plata I passed a park where a group a people were dancing tango causally. I thought it looked very “argentinian” because the importance of tango in the culture.

What La Plata can look like on a lacy and empty Sunday afternoon

First weeks in Cambodia

So, now I’ve been in Phnom Penh for a while and despite minor questionable  well-being the first week here, I am totally loving it now! I am currently writing this at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights’ office in the capital of Cambodia, an organization that have incredibly helpful staff! I’ve recieved more help than I’ve wished for, and they have put me into contact with numerous knowledgeable people within the field of womens rights and helped me getting interviewees. They also let me use their office as my work place, which is perfect for focusing on my thesis.

So far, I’ve conducted two interviews with women from an institution here which have been truly helpful and informative. Except for this, I have had meetings with different experts of women’s rights in Cambodia.


Students teaching us traditional dancing in pre-New Year celebrations on campus.

My plan was to start with the interviews as soon as possible after arriving in Phnom Penh, but easier said than done. First it took a while to know exactly what women I wanted to interview and how to get in contact with them, and then it was Khmer New Year; a big holliday when the city cleared out and people went away visiting their family. So me and my friend Kalle (another student doing his MFS here) followed the customs and went on vacation meeting up with my friends from back home in Koh Rong Samloem – a beautiful island! After a few days with beautiful suroundings, a very dangerous sun and no internet we headed back to the mainland and visited Kampot. Also this place was lovely, with welcoming people and a beautiful national park which we went to on scooters.

Not joking when saying the hat was essantial for surviving the sun on this island (Koh Rong Samloem)


Back in Phnom Penh after a week of holliday I managed to get two interviews before having to leave the country for a visa run. These went really well, with such helpful people participating and the material was brought with me for retyping in Vietnam. Writing interspersed with sightseeing, I managed to meet up with my old friends again as well as new friends while seeing more of beautiful Vietnam. After a few days in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) and Mui Ne I headed back to Phnom Penh ready for my next interviews!

(Since it doesn’t work to upload more pictures, I’ll share more next time!)