Final Update! I think :)


You may notice that my updates are not as frequent as those of other students and there is an explanation to that.


Where I live there is no internet. If i go by bike 10-15 minutes to one of the restaurants by the beach there may be internet, but bring your pacience and be ready to change your plans of the day. I knew this before coming here to do my study and I was prepared for it…yet to make a thesis internet seems a bit crucial in order to find all the info, articles and everything.

Another alternative is to go by bus into the closest town, León. Door to door the trip takes about an hour and that is not a problem. But when planning and doing an interview study the plans changes quikely. The partiipants don´t show up and you scheduele for the next day, so OK I don´t go to town…folloing day they cancel again and it is to late to go to town and so on…

But as I have written before, it is all worth it! I just hope that Malmö University understand why I haven´t updated so frequently as they have wanted..sorry Malmö University!

So my study is coming to an end…all the interviews are done, still waiting for some emails from some organisations but in total the field study is done. Now it is “only” the writing part that is missing. I decided when I got the MFS scholarship that I would hand in my thesis in August instead of in May, since I had no idea how the study would go down here. The minimum stay is 8 weeks and that is pretty fair if everything goes as planned, i not it is nice to have 1-2 weeks extra like I have had. I also don´t know if we are supposed to write the thesis completely during this time aswell, that might be. But I have not had the time to finish mine so I am happy that I have until August to finish it.

In total if you have the energy and interst do a minor field study, apply! Do it! You learn so much from it! Of course it depends on what you want ot learn and do, but either way you will come out of it with an experience that the majority of your classmates does not have.

I don´t think this will be my last update, since I want to share some of my findings with you as well. So hold tight they will come!

Take Care!//Sandra

The trouble of interviewing someone who does not think like you

My thesis treats the subject of abortion and I will boldly say that abortion is a hot subject non-dependent on where you go in the world (even in Sweden), because my experience is that close to everyone hold their personal opinion about it. If it should be restricted or not, how it should be, why it is good or bad, who should decide and so on. Women from the Northern Europe, like me myself, have had access to abortion roughly said the last 50 years give or take and may be it is seen as obvious for us. It is absolutely not like that in the rest of the world as you may already know. And to sit down and talk to someone about something that is obvious and a matter of course for me but not even slightest to that person, that is a very special experience and many it times it is hard to hear about. Something that is important to think about is that this is their reality and who am I to say that “No, that is not how it is. You should think like this.” That is just patronizing and colonial thoughts all over again. This society is so different from ours and the history as well, so of course there is another way of thinking, arguing and coping with situations as well. But for me as a woman hearing thoughts and opinions against women held by other women is something rather hard.

But you surely learn from it, so much! Doing this study has been such a unique experience that it is hard to explain. I have learned new things every day, it has been overwhelming a lot of the time, I have met wonderful people and it is just wow! Without a doubt this experience have developed me as a person, student and a woman. It is hard work that is for sure, a field study is not the easy way of doing a thesis, but so worth it!

Nicaragua the country of natural forces

Before visiting a new country I believe that many of you look up the safety in the country first, am I right? Nicaragua is the poorest country in its region yet it has the lowest crime rate in Central America. Their neighbours Honduras and El Salvador are considered rather dangerous to be travelling in but Nicaragua stays relatively safe. During the time (2years in total) that I have spent here I have to agree, it is rather safe here. Of course I have heard stories about the pandillas (gangs) in Managua the capital and also the Barrios of other cities, but nothing worse than what you hear in Sweden.

But there is something very different with Nicaragua…the Nature. I have lived, studied and worked here during 2 years now, with a break for studies in Malmö for my thesis. Under these 2 years I have experienced following;

5-10 Volcano eruptions

1 bigger Earthquake and a few smaller shakes

1 Sandstorm

2 Floodings due to rising sea levels

1 Drought

2 Evacuations due to Tsunami warning

Uncountable thunderstorms shaking your core and making you deaf  and heavy rains

What is missing so far is a hurricane, an actual Tsunami, forest fire and hmm I think that is it.

BUT what is important to say is that even if all this have occurred they have not been too serious. Or for you as a tourist at least. It surely have affected the people here in many ways. Floodings and sandstorms destroyed many homes in poorly constructed areas putting already poor families in even harsher conditions. The drought that has been going on since last year have let many farmers without crops, villages without water and the food prices have risen significally. The drought is due to El Niño a weather phenomena that is supposed to happen every 7-8 eight years but have passed by more and more frequently. Quikely explained is that the biggest ocean currents change directions and so does the winds. So where it is supposed to rain like here in Nicaragua from May-Dec it doesn´t or far from sufficient and where it is supposed to be drought like central Africa and India it rains heavely. Since here it is Winter (rain) May-Dec and summer Dec-April(HOT) this means 1,5 years without good rain, you can imagine yourself what harm that can do.

Nicaragua is a country full of power of the earth and it keeps surprising you with its powers! Sure it can make you a bit scared sometimes but woow it is truly incredible to experience! And I don´t want to scare you of with this ok? There are many months that can pass without anything happening as well and as I said as a tourist visiting it is safe and totally once in a life time experience!

P.S. Everything is good in the hood so far, don´t be worried! Everything is wonderful here! D.S.

Big fan of fans!

Fans are something that is crucial here to get a good night sleep, be able to stay inside instead of the burning sun and to be able to somehow function during the day. The power grid in Nicaragua is not working that well. The power comes and goes as it pleases without any concern of the consumers of course. For me it is still a mystery what is really happening when the power goes out…the few times it does happen in Sweden it is because of Gudrun or Björn or I don´t know all those storms. But here it does it without storms just like that *poof* without any warning. Is it like some say here that the electricity went to another part of the country for a while? Or maybe there just isn´t any electricity left? Is there a big party somewhere and are stealing all the power? Did someone shut it down to save some for a warmer day? Or is it simply that they are working somewhere to improve the grid and they shut it down so that they won´t die? Who knows?!

2 weeks ago our street was left without electricity for not just one hour or two, no but for 3 days and 3 nights. It left most of the families without sleep, myself included…Sleeping in 40 degrees heat is not easy! There were many nightly showers and a lot of community complaining about the heat. I live in a very poor neighborhood and to skip work to go in to town to talk to the electric company is not really an option. So I and a Nicarguan friend went to the office 2 days in a row trying to sort it out. They thought we were lying, our response was simply why should we be lying about not having power that is just ridicoulus…and they did agree with us that it would. The problem was actually just that they accidentally had cut the wrong cable leaving only our street without power. But things have their own pace here and after 3 days thye came to fix it and you could hear a shout of joy from the neighbours *Ya regreso la luz!* I think I speak for everyone that the first night with a fan again was one of the best sleeps ever.

Buy local!

Nicaragua have like many other Latin American countries survived on agriculture and they still do to a certain point. A lot of the land have been bought up by big foreign exploiters who own the land, let the Nicaraguans cultivate it, pays a small fee for the products, exports them to Europe or the United States and earn a lot more than they paid the farmer in the first step of the exportation. This is not a new phenomenon this is how it works in many parts of the food industry. When you buy that Pineapple at ICA from Costa Rica or Nicaragua for 10:- and think “wow that is so cheap so nice!”, think about how many hands it has passed on the way and that if you pay only 10:- for that juicy fruit, what did the farmer get?

Last year I did a tiny field study here in Nicaragua interviewing independent farmers who refused to give up their land and they told me about the struggles they face when trying to stay away from the big companies. When selling your land to a big co-operation they also own the product produced on the land. The independent farmers they own their land since generations back and they also own the products. To be safer and always have a product many independent farmers cultivate many different fruits instead of just one. This is not only good for them but also for the nature and the soil with changing crops that doesn´t drain it from nutrition. In one single farm you can find papaya, mango, squash, avocado, banana, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, carrot, onion and all kind of melons you can think of and lots more. Even if the many products reduce the opportunity to have large amounts they still secure themselves of having products all through the year since they all have different seasons. Sometimes the farmers can sell fruits to the foreign exporters when there is a big cry for something on the other side of the lake (Europe), one year it´s avocado, the next one it is mango but most of the products they sell on the local markets to the local people (or to me). It is always uncertain to be a farmer;

“Some years the rainy season will not come in time, not stop or not come at all. We are always dependent on the weather of course and if it is not on our side we stand without an income and can´t support our family” – Field notes April 2015.

When this happens they take loans from banks who are specialized on farmers and agriculture. When I asked how big the loans could be they told me BIG and told me amounts from 200-400$ (1800-3200:- ) that will take them years to pay back or they can negotiate about the land that they own with the bank. That seemed to be the biggest fear for many farmers, to lose their land that they often have owned for generations.

Pesticides I was told are not used if they really don´t have to. First of all they are expensive but foremost it is not good for the soil, fruit or us. This really surprised me actually. If these farmers on the countryside of Nicaragua gets it why doesn´t even the most well educated ones does? But the big companies do use the and it goes down in the groundwater and pollute the water that the farmers use for watering and drinking. That is another big problem in the region but maybe I will tell you about that another time.

So I thought I would just write about the amazing food that they here but now you got some background story as well. What I wanted to show with this is the importance of buying local and ecological! It may be a bit more expensive, but hey you can afford it and I you can´t well don´t buy it at all then. I can tell you that the fruits here are heavenly juicy, fresh and they get bad within a day or 2 if you don’t eat them, isn´t that incredible?! The avocados are as big as melons and the melons are as big as well what is bigger than a melon? And the first time I saw a REAL passionfruit big, round and smooth as an orange I thought to myself “well in Sweden we don´t have real fruit…it´s something else!”.

All in all I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and beans…ohh I forgot to write about beans. Well you eat beans 3 times a day and they are gooood! They are good for your heart and they make you fart as a tipsy man once told me.

Every time I go to the market I know that the fruits come from local farmers who deserve every Cordoba that I pay for that banana or mango and I am more than happy to pay it. Do you know where your food comes from? I am not trying to judge anyone just remind you to think about it at home from time to time. It is a global market that we live in but don´t forget the local one 🙂

(Pictures of the great fruits are coming in a near future)

Take care everyone!

Interviews in a hot Nicaragua

This week have been interview week and 3 have been done so far. And I can tell you that it is so much fun, it is hard to keep the interviews shorter than 1 hour! My interviews are not straight/up interviews with prepared questions it is more like thematic discussions. This means that we are having a conversation/discussion about some themes that I have prepared and the interviewee is the one doing the most talking. I thought and I have also been warned from people at home and here that abortion is a really stigmatized subject and that it will be hard to get the information that I am looking for. I have also considered this and I was a bit nervous during the first discussion, but it went really good and it was no problem to bring it up after about 30 min of discussion of other relating factors. But something that is hard to handle are some opinions that I myself don´t agree with. Trying to stay in the role of information gatherer and not someone who came here to give information and lecture about abortion and reproductive rights. So I am working on how to stay calm and proceed with question on why it is like that and so on.

I still have to do at least 2-3 discussions more so the following days I am going out to look for some more persons who would be willing to participate in the research. I have already asked the other participants if they know anyone but I haven´t got an answer there yet. Someone that would be so interesting to interview is the teacher here at the school who is teaching the sex-ed course since 15 years back. I think that she will have some really valuable information, so I am going to try to get in contact with her.

When transcribing the interviews I learn a lot on what I have to do a little bit different the next time or I find a question that I really have to ask the next person, it is a process and I am learning along the way. So the following days will be transcribing and just collect and organize the material that I have right now.

Nicaragua is as hot as it can be and I am longing for the rainy season to start soon!


Calor, calor y polvo!

They people here say that Nicaragua has two season LODO y POLVO – Mud and dust! Right now it is summer which is the season of dust, wind and HEAT! This is actually hindering my studies a bit, because my computer gets overheated. I know it may sound a bit “i-lands problem”, and of course it is! I just have to adjust my study hours from 5-6am til about 12-1pm and then continue again around 6-7pm.

In the community where I live there are only dirt roads which makes the air filled with dust. So does all the peanut fields that are around and about and it can create big dust storms. The only thing to do when this happens is to stay inside and wait for it to be over. I experienced one last year and it was not a blast!

But soon it is time for the rainy season and it will be wonderful! Everybody where I live are now repairing their houses, cleaning up around, making sure that everything works as it should so that the rain won´t destroy anything. It is fun and interresting to see the solutions I must say. I hope that I can get good connection and upload some pictures soon!


Take care everyone!


Easter and my research

I will continue to write in English after some requests from my classmates at the Human Rights course!
The last week like i mentioned in the last post have been Semana Santa- Easter, which is the biggest holiday here in Latin America. The beaches get full of people, food, music and party! It has been hard to find somewhere quiet to study to be honest. But I took the bus to town 2 times so that I could get some internet and some quiet.

My focus this week have been to sort all my literature, write on a literature review and make a frame of interview-questions. The more I read the more and more questions I have and I know how important it is to stay within the framework and narrow it down since I actually only have a short amount of time to do my research.
I have found 3 persons now that are willing to do interviews with me and be part of the research. I will start the interviews this week and I am really excited! Since abortion is a stigmatized theme here in Nicaragua, or it is said to be it is hard for me to predict the answers. I still haven´t found any other research about the public opinion in Nicaragua concerning the abortion law. The abortion law in Nicaragua was changed in 2007 by the President Daniel Ortega after making a deal with the Catholic Church. Therapeutic abortion had been legal in Nicaragua since 1894, but the deal banned and criminalized the woman and the doctor performing the abortion. What I will investigate is the opinion among women about the law. Previous research shows that there exists feminist views parallel with Cristian values, so I will see if there exist a discussion, opinions about this subject and if it is connected by the women to their right to life, their own body and reproductive health.
So that is a little bit about my work and research that I will do here.
Take care everyone!

Tjii fick jag för “god planering”

Då var jag tillbaka i Nicaragua igen efter 2 hektiska månader hemma i Sverige med skola, förberedelser för resan, MFS-kurs i Härnösand, möten med handledare… listan är lång, men nu är jag här i Nicaragua!

På MFS-kursen så hade vi en förmiddag med en före detta MFS-stipendiat och han sa verkligen flera gånger att det inte alltid blir som man har tänkt sig och det är bara så och man får helt enkelt försöka lösa det på bästa sätt man kan. Jag har känt mig ganska så förberedd i och med att jag har bott i Nicaragua och vet hur saker och ting fungerar här. Dock så redan andra dagen så stötte jag på problem (har nu varit här i 4dagar). Min tanke var att komma ner så fort de obligatoriska momenten i skolan var gjorda så att jag kunde komma igång snabbt. Sedan är det som ni vet snart påsk, Semana Santa, vilket är utan tvekan det största i traditionsväg och firande som finns i Latin Amerika, vilket också betyder mycket dyrare flygbiljetter. Så jag bokade biljett för att komma ner i god tid innan Semana Santa och kunna spara in några 1000-lappar. Dock så är det ju så att hela landet har ledigt under en hel vecka och då åker man ut till kusten. Min handledare här nere hade försäkrat mig om att boende skulle jag hitta, det var absolut ingen fara och att han säkert visste något om det inte skulle lösa sig. MEN så var det inte! I den lilla kustbyn Jiquillio där det är tänkt att jag ska göra min undersökning har priserna på rum, hus och allt med ett tak höjts till helt otroliga priser såsom 6000.-/veckan! Detta är helt utanför min budget och bo i tält hade jag gärna gjort om det hade vart lugnt och säkert, vilket det tyvärr inte är. Så vad gör man då? Ja man får helt enkelt göra det bästa av situationen och inse att nej jag kan inte börja min undersökning riktigt ännu.

Så idag har jag dragit i kontakter jag har här sedan innan och imorgon kommer jag att flytta till den by där jag bodde under min studietid här i Nicaragua. Jag har fått ett rum hos en familj där i en vecka vilket ska bli väldigt trevligt. Det är också ruralt och enkelt och jag kommer helt säkert att få med mig en massa erfarenheter av att bo tillsammans med dom. Så jag kommer att hålla huvudet kallt och verkligen kunna förbereda mig för min undersökning nu i en vecka.

“Lugna” hälsningar Sandra!