Looking back – Before the trip

(8 October 2021, Malmö)

In October 2021, I was fortunate to receive a travel-scholarship, through Malmö University, for a Minor Field Study (MFS) to do fieldwork in The Gambia. Unfortunately, the whole world was in the middle of a Pandemic. When I finally got the good news that the travel restrictions had lifted, even though I was extremely excited and anxious to get started, I started doubting myself if it would be a good idea to travel so far and remote while the Pandemic still wasn’t over.

At the time vaccinations were hardly available in Africa. The airline tickets were incredible high as not many were travelling, which made it hard to plan for any booking. It was also at the time very difficult to get any confirmation form any of the schools I tried to contact, to do my classroom observations for my fieldwork. I also had doubts about the value of my observations in the middle of a Pandemic. Suddenly things started changing rapidly with an opportunity to travel again – despite the world situation. I still had my doubts if I was making an irresponsible decision to go at this time.
Would it be fair to leave Sweden, my job in Malmö and more important my family, knowing that the pandemic still was in place and to live so remote?

(27 October 2021, Malmö)

I’ve been waiting for a month to get a positive response from Schools in The Gambia. Unfortunately, no answer yet but my contact-person/assistant in The Gambia is doing all she can to help me. I had a zoom-meeting with my mentor about my coming essay. I was hoping she would understand why I sent such a short draft and text to her.
I do not feel prepared at all to do my writing, but at least I have started planning my work in a notebook. I also contacted the staff at the library to help me find earlier research on the chosen field. As I read the literature it opened my horizon as I found the new literature very interesting, and the more I read the more I wanted to change my original question for my research. I felt a stronger wish to examine the teachers didactive approach in teaching a subject and delivering the material, rather than looking at the material itself. I also found it interesting to understand what methods are chosen to develop students’ language skills.

(9 November 2021, Zoom)

MFS held a preparation meeting on Zoom, and it was quite learning full and exciting to hear about the others’ scholarships in South Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The energy to plan for my journey suddenly hit me! Although my energy level and excitement about my coming journey was at its highest, I was still a bit hesitant. Would it really be possible to put it all together and leave within a couple of months?

(9 December 2021, Malmö)

MFS arranged a compulsory workshop together with the Global School. My departure was meant to be in the beginning of 2022 but still no answer from the schools in The Gambia! In the meantime, a new variation of Covid had shown up, Omicron, but mainly in Africa. All the News reports showed a clear sign of upcoming changes in rules and restriction for travelling especially outside Europe. With these new predictions, I came to my decision of extending my departure to January 2023.

(28 November 2022, Malmö)

At last!……almost a year later.
The situation with the pandemic is now more stable and something we have to live with. On top of that the whole situation in the world is kind of chaotic, both regarding politics and economically. Insecurity is felt throughout the world, extremely high rates for electricity and climate threat, all adding a concern for peace in the world. Despite all the other concerns I may have, I have now decided to move forward with my field study, that I have been looking forward to for so long. Flight tickets were bought last week, and with help from my colleague, arrangements were made to live in The Gambia at her friend’s compound. I have received confirmation from Bakoteh Schools in The Gambia and insurance in place. Although there are still a lot left on my To-Do List before my departure, I feel very grateful and fortunate to be able to start my journey.

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