Om Melissa

Melissa heter jag, och läser sista terminen international relations på institutionen för globala politiska studier. Jag åker ner till Tanzaia våren 2017 för att samla material till min C-uppsats som handlar om hur olika NGOs i bla. Dar es Salaam, arbetar med gender mainstreaming och kvinnors egenmakt, sett från ett lokalt och globalt perspektiv. Jag kommer att intervjua nyckelpersoner inom de valda organisationerna, samt kvinnorna som påverkas av de olika projekten de bedriver. Jag kommer även att titta i lite arkiv och leta rätt på statistik o.dyl. (som är nästan omöjlig att få tag på ifrån Sverige). Det kommer nog bli en riktigt intressant resa, oplanerade saker har redan börjat ske... Men, häng på så får ni se hur det blir till slut =) !

watermelon & final reflections

I am trying to enjoy as much as I can of all the nice fruits Tanzania has to offer before my departure tonight. I never knew that the watermelons this side were this good. And I usually don’t even like watermelon.

An update on my deadline which I was stressed about; I didn’t manage to hand in the full 80% which I suspected. But I did hand in my progress and turns out we didn’t even need to submit it to the professor online. Oh well. That’s done for now. Can’t wait to go to Orkanen (our uni library) and wriiite wriiiite wriiiite. yeah I love studying at libraries and I’ve really missed ours :p

This MFS journey started of quite smoothly for me honestly. I thank God, I have not gotten sick or any such thing. I have made new friends, seen new places and tasted lots of new foods. I have gotten to learn more about the Tanzanian NGO sector and how they work every day to see a transformed and more equal Tanzania. I really salute the Tanzanian Gender Networking Programme, TGNP Mtandao, that 1) works hard for the empowerment of marginalised groups in Tanzania. 2) they conduct interesting & relevant research which I have been able to read at their library.  TGNP has gender seminars each wednesday were they highlight different issues that are related to gender in Tanzania. The past weeks the focus has been on the budget as the government of Tanzania are making decions concerning the budget for the coming 2 years and TGNP tries to make sure that gender is mainsteamed in the budget. And informs locals on what it means and how. And also listens to locals for their inputs.

One thing that suprised me postively is the amount of people that know what the term ‘gender’ is and what shape it takes in the Tanzanian society. This I think is due to a lot of awarness programms and NGO work.

I am so thankful that I have been able to collect data in this part of the world and learnt many things both academically and personally. I was a bit scared before travelling even though I know my way around Dar es Salaam. Because it’s so different to conduct a field study and going on holiday. But I am really glad I did it and I encourage each one of you that are thinking of it; APPLY APPLY APPLY! You won’t regret it I promise.

Travelling back to Sweden tonight feels sad. I have gotten used to Dar es Salaams 30+ degrees and the hecticness of this city. I will obviously miss my family members that I’ve been able to visit every weekend! Such a blessing. But time’s running out and I have to go back. I hope that one day soon I can come back again, and I’m so glad that the organisations I went to were so welcoming and told me whenever I come I should pay a visit.

Finally, as mentioned in the last post I cannot post my own pics because my phone is more than dead >.< but here are some from google, just for you to get a sense of how Dar es Salaam looks like 🙂 oh and one pic of Morogoro town (different city), where I spent my last weekend 😀

 

Kariakoo market

Morogoro town
approx. 3h from Dar by bus

Coco Beach, do visit! Tasty street food

Mwendo Kasi, type of metrobus in Dar

Dar by night, bird view

vecka 8

OK, I made it to the last week.

Right now I am editing some parts in my thesis and adding some things. I am not done entirely with my full 80% and probably will not be for tomorrow’s deadline. As I have understood tomorrow’s deadline is more about our progress. I hope my supervisor gets where my thesis is heading even if I am not entirely done with it yet. The thing is that I as I have mentioned countless of times… Have been trascribing interviews and it takes way too much time! Like I honestly did not think it would take as much time as it did… but it did and so thesis life has to move on. Good thing is, while I transcribed I put the answers into different categories. Now I just have to summarise these categories and take the most relevant things for my thesis and add it to my analysis part. In a logical way of course. Right now my notes are messy and all over the place. Either way I am really happy that the toughest parts are more or less over. And I am greatful that we still have another 3 weeks before the final hand in of our thesis. oooh mid-May, what a wonderful day it will be hahaha.

NON thesis related info; I DROPPED MY PHONE IN A BUCKET OF WATER… Accidentaly of course, and it does not work at all! So, no more pictures… So sad. Sorry folks.

Because I want to continue my thesis work I will end this blog post soon. I think Wednesday will be a day when I am calmer… Will write some thoughts about my experience and final reflections then instead.

 

Bye for now 🙂 !

vecka 7, one week left…

OK, this is really creepy.

I am 100% sure that I wrote a blog post and uploaded it on Saturday. Apparently, I didn’t. I think I might have dreamt it? I honestly thought I did then I checked the blog today and couldn’t find my post so strange ”/

Anyhow, I am alive y’all! And I have had a heavy work with transcribing interviews, I decided to NOT transribe the remaing 2 interviews but take notes of the most important things said, that relate to my thesis. I did this because of time… Time is running out. ;O! And generally it is so tireing to transcribe. Anyhow that part is now done and I am going over the material again as I’m adding it to the analysis. Or actually building the analysis on the findings :p

Thesis work is no joke. I am really exhausted and cannot waaaait to submit this paper. It has been really fun collecting data, even analysing it and writing. But, now I really want to be done so that I can look forward to the actual graduation hehe.

It feels so strange that I have one week left here. I will upload proably one more post this week where I share some reflections from this MFS journey and pictures. Then I will write once more before I travel, and then ciao ciao. Hope all goes well with the last few chapters I have left to fininsh. On Monday we are supposed to hand in 80% of our enitre thesis. Then a week after that we will have a green light seminar where we basically get to know if our thesis gets a pass, to the final stage and we proceed. OR, we have to make some changes and submit the paper in August.

With this said, I have to rush and continue working on the paper. I will update again though, maybe Friday or so.

 

wiki ya tano (w.5)

Hey guys!

I was not able to update last week, had some internet issues… It’s solved now.

As I wrote in the last post, I am now in Dodoma, the central part of Tanzania. Came to visit friends and other extended family members, as my thesis has been going quite well. This place is not as warm as Dar es Salaam, and in the evenings it can get really cold! BTW Dodoma is Tanzania’s capital city. But, Dar es Salaam is the business hub and ”place to be” so people take it as the capital, though it isn’t. I admit I prefer Dar es Salaam over Dodoma. 1) beaches, heeey 😀 2) I know the city very well 3) things cost less 4) yeah I just realised I like it more hehe.

I came here Thursday and had a long weekend until Sunday. Didn’t touch the thesis. Honestly. It doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything I just haven’t continued where I last stopped. On Friday, Yesterday and today I’ve been transcribing interviews and the focus group session I had. Maaan it takes time! Totally underestimated how long it would take, and of course, I’m doing it all by myself which is extremely tiresome. But hey, it’s April, just one more month of ‘official studies’. I can do it, I can do it. So yeah, even as I’m writing, I’m still on the issue of transcribing interviews. I obviously cannot proceed with the analysis without first transcribing all interviews, I have 5 more to transcribe and all are about 25-35mins long. I can do it! I’m going to try my best to be done with it tomorrow. It’s really tiring, like I actually have a headache now. Tomorrow we have supervision with our professor in Sweden, I’ll attend through skype. Let’s see what she think of my thesis progress this far.. Oh yeah one more thing, before I travelled to Dodoma I attended TGNP’s gender seminar, it was soo soo good! Still on the topic of water and gender. They had the manager for DAWASCO come in and discuss with them. DAWASCO is a company, under the government of Tanzania, that provides water services to people in the Dar es Salaam and Pwani region.

NOT thesis related: As I said, I came to Dodoma last Thursday, so far I’ve gone around the city and seen some relatives. During the weekend two friends and I took a bus to Iringa, another region and city. Still central Tanzania. About 250km from where I am now. It was really nice. The weather is like Sweden! Felt like I was home. It was around 25 C during the day and 16 C at night. Quite chilly, when I’ve been used to Dar es Salaam’s 35+ C. Anyhow I cannot complain, we had a lovely time, ate nice food, stayed at a nice hotel and did lots of sightseeing. Oh and we laughed a lot. So I’m fully energised now to continue the thesis.

Need to continue transcribing *sheds a few tears*, so I’ll update again during the week hopefully, ciao!

Iringa town view

Gangilonga Rock @Iringa

TGNP gender seminar

One Month Down, one to go

Graduation day

WOOW idag är det en månad sedan jag landade på Julius Nyerere International airport..Today it has been exactly one month since I arrived in Tanzania. It is crazy how fast time has gone, it feels like I have been here for months!!! Some days feel so slow. Other days too fast. Now that I have done most of the practical fieldwork, I only have one more workshop at the TGNP to attend… My motivation seems out of place. OFC, because now I have the not so fun part left… Which is to finish off transcribing all interviews, categorising (coding) and analysing them. And write my analysis obviously… The most important part hehe. Yeah. I am not looking forward to the heavy workload ahead of me. BUT, I must admit that the analysis seems more fun.  It probably will be a bit challenging to write. Why do I say so? because when I reflect back on all the interviews I have conducted and what I have seen in my observations, I actually notice some interesting patterns. What are those patterns? I will share once I am done with the analysis haha. OH! I just handed in my assignment by the way. On time. Round of applauds to myself hehe. And the last interview that I had last week with the former student of the Barbro school went really well. So well I decided to treat myself to some pedicure after that session :p

Not thesis related: Last week, was a normal ”work week” or thesis week. Studied Monday-Friday… But that’s maybe not so fun to hear. During the week I exercised 4 times, felt really good! I have started to run at 5 am almost every morning. With my neighbour. We run 5km. The most amusing part XD, there is a place where we stop and refresh after running about 3km… There is a man that stands in that place EVERY MORNING and does aerobics. So it is like an intensive cardio workout for 20mins. And we are always the same 10 people in the morning, excluding the instructor guy. Nice free workout haha.

This past weekend I finally made my way to the beach. Did not swim though because it was totally unplanned. Went with my cousin Julius 🙂 we had some nice BBQ meat and fried sweet potatoes. On Saturday I attended the Barbro schools form 6 graduation ceremony. It was beyond amazing! Loved it. I wish I could upload a video but  I am not so sure how to do it here… Will see if I manage later.

Graduation day cakes

Next time I write I will be in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania. Why? I am going to visit some friends that study at the University of Dodoma. Why, though?? because I have not seen them in years. And because now I have enough material to actually write my entire thesis. So I thought to myself, why not visit them and study while they are studying. It is really hard for me to EFFECTIVELY study on my own, I rather just chill at home hehe. So this week will be a mix of happiness and thesis related pain LOL.

Have a great week folks! 😀

@the beach

Week.3

Hey again everyone!

I almost cannot remember how last week was ”/ So many things happened. A close cousin of mine from the UK is also here in Tanzania right now. And last week something terrible happened to him, and we spent half of the week at the hospital. He was actually in a different city than I am in. But, some relatives went to get him from where he was to Dar es Salaam and took him to a better hospital. Because of this, I was a bit thrown off, not in terms of my studies, just in general. I was very sad by what happened but I am glad that he is now better and could return home. As I just mentioned, we (me, relatives, close family friends) spent most of the week at the hospital making sure that everything was fine with that cousin of mine. So yeah kind of unexpected, but I am really glad that he seems much better now. Other than studying and being at the hospital I really did not do much last week. Well, I actually did one thing last weekend. I went to visit an uncle I have not seen in yeeeaaars, and a friend living in a different part of the city. Mhhh I have been drinking lots of coconut water with lime. I am told it is a good preventive medicine for malaria :p

THE THESIS: I did hand in the assignment I mentioned in the last post. Though, after handing it in I realised I have to make some changes to some of the parts. But that is OK. It is part of the research process anyhow :D. We have one more assignment to hand in on Monday and I am sort of on it. I am trying to merge what I have written so far with the new assignment. Then I will send it to my supervisor with some questions I have so I can get proper feedback. Last Friday I met the programme officer at the Tanzanian Gender Networking Programme, TGNP. I interviewed her and asked other question about the work they do etc etc. It was good. Before the interview, I hung out at the library a little and found interesting books and reports on gender issues in Tanzania and East Africa. OH I forgot, I also interviewed the secretary general at Tanzania United Nations Association and the person responsible for Agenda2030 there. Very interesting.

I am in a hurry so I have to end…  I am on my way to the University of Dar es Salaam to interview a former student of the Barbro school. She is the last person on my interview list. I gave myself a month to 1) conduct interviews and 2) do the ‘previous research’ part of my thesis, and I am right on time so that is awesome :D. One last thing, I attended TGNPs gender seminar yesterday and will be going one or two more times 🙂 as this is the participant observation part of my paper. Yesterdays gender seminar was sooo sooo good. The topic was clean water & sanitation and how it relates to gender & child pregnancies.

I will write again on Monday, take good care :)!

Kigamboni bridge

TGNP’s library (part of it)

Coconut water with lime is the BEST!

 

”I can perform just as well as a boy can”

Quotes from the interviews

Student: ” I feel confident to run for president. I know I am able to. And could be Tanzania’s first female president. However, the Tanzanian society does not allow girls to perform tasks that are seen as ‘a man’s job’. Like being a president. Some people think the country is too big for a woman to be running it. [SMILES] BUT I know that girl’s, can do any job a man can. Even better.”

Staff X: ” I do not think international actors are imposing on us when we are given sponsorship… If they give us conditions  ‘A, B & C’ in order to get funding for our project, and the conditions are not harmful to us, the organisation or its goals, I do not see a problem. The opposite. It is extremely good! Sometimes it is healthy to listen to the advice of an outsider. Maybe they have something to contribute and see things differently than us.”

Staff Y: ”Concepts such as gender equity or gender mainstreaming are not so common to hear in Tanzanian secondary education. Luckily some of our students have had that exporsure throught their parents. Others have not. Most of us Tanzanians come to really understand these terms when we study at university level. That is a shame. If I could ask the current president to change one thing, in order for there to be more equality in Tanzania it would be just this. He should make gender studies mandatory from primary education. That way, kids will learn at a young age that there should be equal distribution of chances, opportunities and resources for both sexes. And only then can we teach our children that gender stereotypes is just something society has made up. But also, we must not forget about men from poorer backgrounds. Somehow we have to make sure women get their voices heard but that these men are also taken into account and are not left behind. I think that is what GENDER equality is about.”

All of the above are #Melscopyrights hehe. Through interviews, one focus group session and participant observation, I, in a structured and formal setting, or just over some tea; asked students and staff members what they thought of the school. The organisation that established the school (my focus) JOHA Trust, and the involvement of foreign actors in this particular educational organisation. Most of them were very happy and liked the school. They had suggestions on things that could be done in order to continue JOHA Trust’s objectives of supporting girl’s education. Some that worked at the school felt like the school was ”losing its touch”; as the percentage of students that are funded by JOHA Trust scholarships to study at the school has decreased, for multiple reasons.

The quotes are little extracts from 20-40mins long individual interviews. As I mentioned above, I had ONE focus group session which is a type of group interview where a facilitator (me) introduces a topic and allows the participants to freely discuss it.  I chose girls that are all on scholarship as it relates to the JOHA Trust and their objectives. At first, the 5 girls that were selected for the discussion, were a bit shy in answering the questions I had for them related to the topic of gender (in) equalities in Tanzania and their own personal experiences if they had any. But, after about 5mins they loosened up and we had a nice 30mins discussion. At times they were so eager to answer they almost interrupted each other… It was my first time conducting such a session but I think it went quite well and the students were glad to share their stories.

Participant observation is a type of research technique in which one becomes part of the daily lives of the subjects of the study. In my case, this was the whole point of staying at the school for one entire week. I became a part of their daily life. This is how the girl that asked me to come speak to her class could access me. I was there, present, either by sitting with random students and talking about ordinary stuff. Or by making the conscious decision of attending their lessons and see how a normal school week looks like, to the students of the Barbro school.

Today I am pulling an all-nighter because I have a assignment to hand in a few days from now. And of course, I want to make sure I finish it of on time. Just one last thing, on Friday I am finally (!!!) meeting up with the programme officer at the TGNP- Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (my 2nd organisation of focus). I am going to get some juicy information about the organisation haha. And I have been told there is a library at their offices with similar studies as mine. I am so excited to get some Tanzanian literature in my paper too 😀 So yeah that’s about it. I’ll update on Sunday probably or Monday on how this week went.

Kwa heri! (good bye in Kiswahili)

Week.2 @the Barbroschool

Alrighty, Let’s see how this goes :p Hi everyone! I’m really sleepy right now so I hope I don’t forget to mention all of the cool things I’ve done this week hehe.

As I mentioned in the last post, this week was all about being at the boarding school; observing, interviewing and conducting a focus group session. My stay there was beyond lovely. First of all, just scroll down to my previous post, I took a few pictures of the school and its environment. It’s so beautiful! The trees are green and the flowers all very pinkish. I loved it. There were monkeys on campus. LIVE MONKEYS. Kind of freaked me out a little especially during the night hours when I could hear them outside my window. I think that’s the only issue I had, otherwise I can’t complain. I got my own room in a certain part of the school and there was also a space for drinking tea outside of the room and a table where I could sit and study so I was very comfortable. Generally, the students, teachers and other staff at the school were all sooo warm and welcoming. I felt like I came to a place I’ve always known. It was kind of sad leaving the place after almost an entire week 🙁

Unfortunately I don’t have any pics of the students, and that’s cus I want to avoid issues with parents and such. A cool thing though, I’m attending the form 6 graduation 25th of March, and parents will be there. So, if I’m allowed I’ll take some pics of the students if I find them because I’ve been told the place will be packed! Which is wow. Cus’ the school area if im not wrong is 50 acres, which is a loot of land! :O

I’ll share more detailed about the interviews, observation and focus group session tomorrow, I have some interesting thoughts that were shared with me; and disussions I would like to share here 🙂 .

Let me update y’all a liittle bit more about the rest of the week. So I spent 5 days at the school. Everyday was really good. The students were very interested in my project. One evening a young girl (the classes I didn’t go to) grabbed me and asked ” I don’t get it. So you don’t want to ask us about gender issues????!” my response ”of course I do. It’s just that I chose to go to certain classes because you are way to many students in this school”. The girl ”hmmm… OK, this is what we’ll do. After 1 hour, we willl be done studying can you then come to that classrom *POINTS* and ask my classmates and I about what we think of gender inequality in Tanzania”. Obviously I couldn’t say no. After one hour, as promised, I went to their classroom and had an unplanned focus session sort of with a bunch of younger students. We spoke of inequalities in Tanzania, in Africa, what it means and what it doesn’t mean. And how they’ve experienced it in their own lives. After a while more students came and soon I was surrounded by almost 30 students and I shared with them my thoughts on different issues and they told me their opinions. As I said, I’ll share some of those thoughts tomorrow more detailed…

The last day at the school ended with having some BBQ pork and fried bananas (local dish) with some of the teachers from the school. There discussions of my paper continued. Many, particularly the ones I never got a chance to speak to during the week had a bunch questions and the good thing is.. due to *TADAAAM* Dar es salaam traffic, we had a lot of time to discuss all those topics. The place we were eating at wasn’t so far from the road and we could see the traffic jam from where we were sitting.

Wow. This is getting veeery long. But, I hope you get a sense of how my days are here, or have been. One last thing. This weekend I did something ‘fun’ as I said I would. I went to visit some relatives and ate reaally nice mangos (sidenote haha). Then a friend and I went on an unplanned visit to another city (not so far from Dar) and spent all afternoon there. We walked around, discovering the place, a total of almost 2 miles. Not so sure how I feel about that. Jokes. It was a nice loooong never ending walk in the heat haha.

That’s my week basically, leave a comment if you’ve been here Nella N Roza 😉 this post’s for u haha (my sisters)

Photo post :) by Mel

Wise words by the entrance to the school

#WeekendAdventure

#WeekendAdventure

Local food 🙂

I’ve started 2 drink H20 like an actual human being lol

The art hall @boardingschool

More local food 😀

@boardingschool

At the boarding school

@boardingschool

Dining hall @boardingschool

Entrance to the school

Update & Pics’

I promised pictures and here are a few. One day it was 35 C and I honestly don’t know how I made it through that day. It was a little too warm and of course, I decided to go for a long walk just that day haha only to realise ”yeaaaah maybe NOT the best decision”. But let me not complain, it is actually really nice to not be freezing all day all night :p.

Tomorrow I’ve been here for a week already which is kind of fast and still slow. Everything goes much slower here in Tanzania compared to Sweden. It can be both a good and bad thing. For example, on Thursday I spent all day trying to reach one of the organisations that I am supposed to interview and they never answered. Not only that I actually wasn’t able to reach them from Sweden either. But worry not. I have good news. A lady that works there answered my call on Friday and I should be able to go see them in 2 weeks. Somehow, it is also nice that people take things lightly here. It feels like people are not so stressed about life here as in Sweden….

Just today I was chatting with a guy about certain things that can make life stressful, and he told me ”yeah you see life can be quite difficult sometimes but there isn’t much one can do about it. If you sit around and wait for something to change in order for you to start living, it’ll never happen. You might as well just enjoy life and take things as they come”. I couldn’t have said it better. I have already met people here quite randomly and had intresting discussions about all sorts of topics.

That is one thing I love about Tanzania. People are very open and nice here. These few days while I have been doing a loot of reading and getting a deeper knowledge about my thesis topic, I have realised how much it helps that I actually do speak swahili and am familiar with the cultural context of this city. It is easy to get around and I do not have troubles finding my way, more or less. This city is way too big for me to know it properly inside out. It is kind of funny how at least on the outside I look just like everyone else and can go pretty much unnoticed on the streets. One person even asked me ”are you sure you aren’t from here? You look and speak like us!?” But once we get into deeper discussions it is very obvious that I have a different mindset than some of the people I have met.

Ok, last thing about my thesis stuff. My supervisor in Sweden has approved my research questions yeey, and I have sent in one exam yippi. Tomorrow I am meeting my contact person here in Tanzania. She is the headmistresss of the Barbro Johansson School. I’m going to conduct a small scale ethnograpic study at the school for one week and see how things work there. I will also have one focus group session with some girls at the school where we will discuss the topic ‘gender (in)equality’ and what experiences they have had of it, if any. And then I also plan to interview the headmisstress and her assistant. I hope one week is enough, because I understand that they have their own schedules at the school. Otherwise I will have to go again the following week. So, next week I will be in a different region 😀

I am really glad because it has only been a week but I have gotten so much done already. I’ve actually read most of the things that I had to read and been able to get hold of both my organisations, finally. The Barbro Johansson School is funded by JOHA Trust, which is one of the organisations I am interested of learning more of. And the headmistress, my contact person, sits on the JOHA Trust board, just to clarify why I’ll be going to that specific school.

One last note, besides from all the studies, don’t think that’s all I’m doing. Well, it kind of is. But I decided since I have a good flow for now, I’ll try to study Mon-Fri and on weekends meet up with friends and some distant relatives. I thought this is a good idea because I get to have study breaks. Change environment and do something fun. This weekend I visited a few friends and went to different parts of the city

My friend Vee & I on the metrobus going downtown

😀

This is getting to long. Take care and see you next week!

The view

sharing the Swedish culture of ‘fika’ XD

THIS latte was soo good!

Studying at a café by the ocean

”moderate” weather… Only 35 C