A lot of focus has been put on collecting material for my thesis these past few weeks. I have spoken to an immense amount of people and officially interviewed 11 people who fit the restrictions of my study. I have been positively surprised by the information that has been shared with me. Although many people are tired and sad about the situation they are in politically, economically and socially, many are still hopeful. Many people still believe in Tunisia and in change. They are not completely oblivious and know that it will take time for the change to come but they welcome it and believe it to be possible.
As for the Eid celebrations, I have never witnessed anything like it. Everyone was going from house to house to visit relatives and celebrate together. The area I am in was full with people celebrating, which I was informed always happens. I also got to see Fathia, she is a camel and her job has been to bring water from the well for the people in the city for about 25 years. Today she is retired and still seen as an important part of La Marsa and can be found in Saf Saf during the day and out by the beach in the morning hours.
I also went on a walk through Carthage this week and it was incredible. Walking through the city and seeing ruins that have been incorporated through the city. I went to the cathedral, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis de Carthage which is today known as the Acropolium. It is no longer used as a place of worship, but for events. It was built between 1884 and 1890 under the French protectorate and Hussein II Bey.
On my way back I stumbled upon the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery contains approximately 3000 soldiers from World War II. It was so serene and calm there but I still had a feeling of unease being so close to those who fought in the second World War. It was a truly amazing experience.
All monuments in Carthage have free entrance on the first Sunday of every month which means I’ll see you next week with more pictures and information about Carthage.
One of the most impressive thing to do when it comes to doing a field study is that you get to know more about the field, meeting new people and getting their insights of how things work out for them. One of the people I was interviewing for my study let me know about this event in Jakarta, and I was very excited to check it out. The backgrounds of the participants are very interesting – they don’t just exclusively came from environmentalist background, but also actors that brought different issues. This shows that climate crisis could have a negative impact on many aspects of people’s live, not just the general and abstract idea we usually heard when people are campaigning against the earth’s destruction.
Sanggar Seroja came to this protest to represent the transgender community in Indonesia as one of the most affected community by climate crisis. They told me that on the event of natural disaster, they often face discrimination when getting help, as they are generally disliked by the disaster relief committee. They were losing their jobs as street musician when the rainy weather changes into monsoon, even sometimes they are being accused as the cause of those disaster, as it is considered sinful to be one of them. In this protest, they came to raise the awareness about how affected they are by climate change, stating in their brochure that “The transgender community drowns first on the event of climate crisis”. I personally found it very touching, as it is not easy to live in a place where people don’t support them, yet they also felt the direct impact of climate crisis.
Well, my last week in Jakarta was spent on a more exciting note. I was invited to the National Day celebration for the Nordic Embassies in Jakarta. The Embassies have a joint celebration every year and I was lucky enough to be invited by my contacts. It was fun to see some parts of Sweden in Indonesia again.
Now I’m moving on to Bali to do the next part of my study. Very excited – not only is Bali very beautiful, peaceful and it would be amazing to live there for a month, but the dynamics of the environmental NGOs in Bali are something I am curious to learn more about.
To close this post off, have a look at all these food in a Padang Restaurant, one of the most famous traditional restaurant from Indonesia. They have a unique way of presenting their food, people who wants to try the food can open the foil and eat it. Would you try it, or have you tried it? Let me know!
This week marks my fourth week in Tunisia. It has been incredible so far. Nice weather and scenery and incredibly nice people.
Before travelling I got a good head start on my thesis which is something I would recommend doing. Having good background knowledge about the country and not just what you want to study is incredibly important and has helped me out a lot.
For the past four weeks I have been busy exploring the area I am living in, which is a suburban area of the capital of Tunis, called La Marsa.
During this month the holy month of Ramadan has been going on. Ramadan is the month in which it is said that the Quran was revealed to the prophet Mohammed (pbuh). During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dusk till dawn, and they dedicate their time to God by praying and reading the Quran and performing good deeds. People usually break their fast with dates and water and the dinner usually contains soup, salad and a main dish. During the day, hardly any restaurants or fast food places are open. It has been incredible to experience Ramadan here. I have been invited to break fast with people I have gotten to know throughout my stay which I am truly grateful for. This week is the last week of Ramadan, making Eid al Ftir, or just Eid as they call it here, only a few days away. Eid is the first day of the new month after Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a celebration of the end of fasting and Ramadan which I am excited about.
I have conducted several interviews with locals which has been an amazing experience and eye opener. People are extremely nice, accommodating and understanding and actually want to share their stories and perspectives. I have gained so much knowledge about the country and the situation the people are in. Although they highlight many problems they see, they have all been hopeful that the country will change for the better.
I would highly recommend visiting Tunisia. People are incredibly nice and there is so much history. Since it is Ramadan it has been harder to explore the country as many things are closed, however, I plan on doing plenty of exploring starting next week, when everything is back to normal. I will share more as time goes.