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.
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.