My key persons: THEEE Nana Akufo-Addo???, Ben Ephson, CDD, UNDP and so on…

Time has just been flying and I can’t believe that I’m actually going back to Sweden in a few weeks. Even though I really miss my loved ones back home in Sweden I looove Ghana I don’t really feel ready to go back just yet. I’ve got used to heat, happy people and everything that comes with Ghana.

The thesis is going great. Iv’e changed structure a bit to put more focus on International Organizations and democracy promotion. I’ve been struggling  to get the key persons from both international organizations and domestic organizations that work with democratic governance and all those issues. At first things were moving sloooow, however around the end of April things were moving in the right direction. Also I finally met my supervisor Dr. Aidoo. (Standing ovations!)

The interviewees I’ve met with so far, except the people of Ghana, are the UNDP’s government analyst, CDD staff, Head of research at Danquah Institute, Ben Ephson, ex correspondent of BBC Ghana and now managing editor of the Daily Dispatch Ghana (practically a hero in Ghana’s democratic development) and I’ve scheduled meetings with IDEG and the World Bank. So finally I’ve got people from every group that I planned on.

One funny thing is that last week, I had scheduled a meeting with the Danquah institute. I had contact with a man named Nana Akufo-Addo from the Institute. Before we decided exact time for the interview he said that he would get back to me to confirm. He didn’t get back to me. No mail, no call, no nothing. I have to be honest I was really dissappointed. Anyway 2 days later I got a call from the head of research, Nana Attobrah who scheduled the meeting with me. I was a bit surprised thinking “but wait I was supposed to meet the other guy??”. But I was happy to get contact with him since he to was a key person. So when I finally got to the Institute, I conducted the interview, Mr. Attobrah was in time and everything. It went just like I had planned. So I decided to ask what had happened to the original interviewee. He was like “ohh he’s in court”, I looked at him wondering, and he was like “the presidential court case you know”. In Ghana, right now there is a huge presidential court case being broadcasted on national TV it’s the NPP vs. NDC presidential court case. Then NPP claims that there was some fraud going on with the voting in the December 2012 elections. So the Nana Akufo-Addo I was supposed to interview was actually THEE presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo. I was a bit star struck I have to tell you and I was definitely not dissappointed anymore. It was a very good reason for him not to get back to me, cause he was in court. 🙂

And oohh a funny comment from an interviewee during a discussion about promises made from politicians that I have to share. “You know it’s like a man dating a woman. They make all the promises, once they get in good, all will not be fulfilled.” I couldn’t stop laughing!

Today I’ll just work on transcribing interviews. I’m transcribing like a crazy lunatic!

Me and ben EphsonMe and Ben Ephson at his office.TemaHere at the beach in lovely Tema.




Today while studying I heard something sounding like demonstrations. Sounded like a large mass of people singing something. I thought that must be demonstrations or something like that. Last week in town I saw demonstrating people singing and dancing (seemed much more fun than demonstrations at home). I was thinking that this must have something to do with the political parties or so because there has been debates on the news about the elections that took place in December about the counting of the votes. Anyway, thought it was something related to that, so I asked E if that was a demonstration or something. Not knowing that it was the choir of a nearby church. They kept on singing and I had almost forgotten how Ghanaian churches are! Very lively and I love it! The place I’m staying at also has three mosques. So after the choir was done the calls for prayers began. Very beautiful and it’s so nice to see that both Christians and Muslims live side by side like this.

18:25 so I’m done with studying for today. Finally I’ll eat my dear coconut that has been waiting for me all day!


Interesting experiences

Last week I was recommended by S to meet up with R at the Ghana institute of Journalism (GIJ) that could help me get in contact with a few people that I need to interview for the thesis. I got to the place and waited for her at the school (not for a long time thank God ). After a while I saw someone by the road getting out of a taxi with a huuuuuuuge smile. I was not sure who she was smiling at but when she came up to me I understood that she was R.  A really friendly girl who is a student at the GIJ. So she introduced me to a few people. It’s so funny when you are in another country how people are so interested in who you are and what you are doing there. For instance, while waiting for R someone just came up to me and started talking about education and a bunch of other things. I could tell that this person was really smart and he told me that he really wants to study in Europe and asked a few questions about our educational system.

Anyway, the people I was introduced to were nice, I wouldn’t say that they were supernice (since most of them are professors and educated to PhD level and I’ve noticed that some of them can be really difficult in terms of feeling big for some weird reason). But they were OK. The last person I was introduced to was really something….

This was the BIG guy at school.. The Vice Rector holder of a PhD. My new found friend R had to go in and have a little chat with him before I even could come in and introduce myself. While waiting, I could hear them briefly talking and she really put herself out there in order for me to be able to come in. Seems like this R has got in good with most of the professors. However! And I say this with an exclamation point. He clearly said that “I do not give out information for free and you know I am very serious about that”. Despite his snotty comment I decided to go inside his office to see what kind of person he was (maybe he was a joker of some kind, you can never know unless you see for yourself). He sat in his air-conditioned office didn’t even bother to shake my hand or greet, while analyzing me. (very creepy moment I must say). So I introduced myself and all of that. However during the 10 or 15 minutes I spent in his office he kept on making small indications that he needs to be paid to participate as an interviewee in my thesis (basically a BRIBE). I said that I couldn’t do that since this was for study purposes and that I am a representative for not only Malmö University but SIDA as well.  As if this episode was not enough, R told me that he is known for having relations with students at the school. If that was a rumor, I do not know.  So I had to drop that one as fast as I could. I do not think that his opinions on the democratic process in Ghana is much more valuable than any other plus, it’s just not worth it trying so hard to have contact with someone  that probably would give me the same views as any other pan-African advocate . I just had a really bad feeling about this guy.

However the other ones that I was introduced to are still eligible candidates…That day really got me thinking on how easy things are in Sweden compared to here. It’s really exhausting having to deal with the “big guys”.

I mean EVERYTHING is easier in Sweden, set prices in taxis and most shops, dealing with professors and authorities, no problems with electricity when studying, people are in time for meetings, facilities for students (libraries and such). All these things we take for granted. Goooosh, I think I’m starting to feel a bit homesick…

Oh well, thought I’d share 12 interesting things I’ve learnt so far

1)      Ghanaians are really friendly and helpful when you are lost in Accra

2) Traffic is CRAZY, cars, taxis and buses can literally drive almost anyway they like

3)      Taxis always try to overcharge you (negotiating is fun but you need to be seriously skilled)

4)      People ambush you trying to sell various things (watches, water, fruit, mirrors, clothes etc) when the traffic lights turn red. So when if you have forgotten something on you way to an interview, just get on the road!

5)      African time is really not a joke (people can delay 5 hours or more)

6)      Some people can try to bribe you for interviews (even professors)

7)      Educated people are just a bit more difficult to deal with than us “commoners”

8)      Ghanaians are not as stressed about things  as we are

9)      Wall geckos are common (So far I’ve had three in my room, 2 small ones and 1 bigger)

10)   Electricity comes and goes (not ideal when writing on my thesis or transcribing interviews)

11)   Every radio station plays the type of music I LOVE!

12)   Last but not least, Shoprite sells Swedish breakfast food!!!  (Havregryn and alpro soya and other European things, that’s my place when I’m homesick :D)

And oh! I was so focused on narrating the GIJ experience that I almost forgot to say that I met up with a professor yesterday. My new supervisor! Since my previous one hardly shows up and really had a serious problem with time. (Time that he himself had set up). So in any case I’m happy about that! And I’ve finally purchased tiGO Internet modem that works from time to time 🙂

During my stay I’ve also visited Cape Coast Castle  that was used in the transatlantic slave trade. Even Sweden had a share of that among nations like Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal (don’t know if I’ve forgotten any other countries).  On my way to Cape coast I asked when the bus was supposed to leave. So one friendly man told me that the STC buses have set times but we must wait until the bus is full. Frustrating situation for a person who’s always on time! So instead of departing at 8:30 the bus departed at 9:35.

On my way home from Cape Coast to Accra I had a real adventure using all forms of collective traffic there is. Buses, tro-tros (mini-buses stuffed with people which costs only 1 cedi 8 pesewas, very student friendly), and at last taxi. A journey that was supposed to take 2 hours took me 5 hours from Cape Coast to the center of Accra and back home to the bumpy roads of Ashaley-Botwe and the bus didn’t really have any stops in Accra. Instead the driver told us in twi that we should shout out where in Accra we wanted to get off since he would not be able to hear us due to a noisy engine.

Stay tuned for the next episode from the homesick, exhausted Ghanaian/Ethiopian/Swedish student… 🙂





The first word that I saw when I arrived at Kotoka (meaning welcome).Tomorrow I’ve been in Ghana for a week I’ve had some trouble getting access to internet but have found a temporary way to access it through my mobile for the moment.

So, flying from Copenhagen and Frankfurt I arrived at Kotoka Airport 7:45 pm. On the flight we got to fill in forms that was for the immigration service at the arrival. While filling in the forms I was just hoping that the lines would not be too long.. well that didn’t work, it took me 2 hours to get to the immigration service at the airport. TWO hours standing in my boots and my blazer, HOT does not even begin to describe it. So 2 hours in the line, not because the line was too long, it was because the queue was not organized. Imagine standing in a queue and the person standing 100 m behind you magically now happens to be 200 m in front of you. It was really like “the survival of the fittest” mode. Any chances people had to come forward in the queue were taken. When it finally was my turn to get to the immigration service I was surprised that the officers were so nice and polite. The process was quite easy I got my stamps and everything and was practically good to go. Next step, I picked my bags up and went to the place where all the families were waiting when somebody grabbed my shoulders. That was my brother and outside was my sister waiting to pick me up. Before we even reached the car at least five people had offered to take my bags and a taxi ride. My first impression was that Ghana is hot hot hot… Surprise huh?

Anyways as I said I’ve been staying at my sisters house for a week and now I’m looking for a cheap accommodation that is nearer the University of Legon where my supervisor is at. So far I’ve been trying to acquaint myself with the environment and getting access to the basic things I need. D has shown me around Accra and Tema, I’ve eaten REAL Ghanaian made fufu. Other things I’ve experienced are the blackouts (that can be really inconvenient at times), heat heat heat, Ghanaian hospitality and some azooonto dancing. I was supposed to meet my supervisor today but had to reschedule so we’ll meet on Thursday morning. Tomorrow D has offered to show me some hostels for international students nearer Legon.  Other than the blackouts and trouble with the internet, Ghana is a really lovely place to be at and the people are so friendly.


Reflections on Sida’s MFS-course in Härnösand

 In the beginning of last week I attended Sida’s MFS-course in Härnösand. On Sunday I travelled by train from Malmö 7 o’clock in the morning. I hardly got any sleep but managed to get myself up in the morning anyway. Somehow when I know that I have something important to do in the morning it wont matter how much sleep I get, I still manage to get up. So the trip took me about 10 hours with a stop in Stockholm. On the way to Härnösand I just noticed how the amount of snow kept on increasing as we got further north and closer to Härnösand, which was really nice to see (never been this far up north!!). When the train finally arrived in Härnösand, around 5 o’clock in the afternoon I got off the train and took a look around.. confused as I was, I was still happy thinking YESS!! there were other students looking as confused as myself. So I asked one of them if they were on their way to the MFS-course and they said yes. The group grew and we were about 20-25 students walking together through the snowy town of Härnösand, trying to find the place that we were supposed to be at. It wasn’t that far away from the train station. So we walked  and walked with our bags and everything…when we finally got to the place, we first arrived to the main building where we got our passage cards/keys to our rooms, main building and the “guest house” where we stayed. I really liked the rooms, nice and clean! 🙂

Sunday evening started with a short introduction, mingling and dinner…

The following days were really educative and I learnt so much, especially about Swedish development aid and the history behind it. We also got to see a little bit of Härnösand on our way to restaurant “vägg i vägg” where dinner was served every evening. Härnösand is a very nice town.

I think not only MFS grantees needs this course but everyone that is interested in carrying out field work of some sort, or is going to do such. I don’t want to reveal details about the course because there might be others who are attending soon. But let’s just say that the lecturers were so passionate about what they were doing which was so inspiring for me who is now planning my project.

I got so many new ideas for my thesis and developed new ways of viewing certain issues.

Overall this course was so worth it, I would attend again and again if it was possible. I’m happy that I got the opportunity to see the northern parts of Sweden and meet other intelligent and driven students who are just as passionate about what their doing as I am, but also the passionate lecturers. Priceless experience! Now, I feel more prepared than ever and I can’t wait for this field study to start!

Preparations for Ghana!

So I planned to post my first blog post when the preparations for my trip had started so that one can follow every step of the experience. Since I’ll be travelling to Ghana I thought that I might as well blog in english so that my supervisor, interviewees, my fellow students and family abroad can follow my experiences. Also since my program is in english. Anyways, all the preparations have seriously started now and I’m very excited! I’ve booked my train ticket to Härnösand for the course that’s taking place there. Also these last 2 weeks I’ve taken all the necessary vaccines. (Which was scary by the way, cause I’m truly scared of needles!). I also figured I need to learn how to operate the dictaphone for my interviews, so I’m now trying to acquaint myself with that. And some days ago I finally booked my ticket! Took me about 2 weeks to decide on that so I’m happy and relieved that it’s done.

Well, for now I’m trying to organize and plan the studying part and I’ve found tons of useful literature. So now I’m planning and hoping that the most important parts that could be done in advance like introduction, previous research, theory, method etc. will be completely finished before departure.

Other than this there’s not much happening when it comes to the preparations. Meanwhile I have a paper to be handed in soon, so I’ll have to work on that. Will keep you posted, so stay tuned! 🙂