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)

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

Lizard & escaping the traffic jam

Hello everyone!

I finally arrived in Tanzania a few days ago. I know I’m quick in writing and it’s because I feel the internet I am using is quite unreliable. So I am trying to make the best of it.

As you may have noticed hehe, I will be writing the blog in English because a) I study in English & all thesis progress will be written in English. And b) all my family and friends can follow the updates, without being “left out”.

First of all, I want to start off by saying I AM ALIVE, this is more to my family that have been bombarding my phone asking “did u arrive?”. YES. I did. And it is suuuper hot!!! When I arrived, it only took 30mins to get through the immigration & passport control + collect my luggage, so a big round of applauds for the airport staff. Usually, it can take up to even 2 hours. So this was beyond awesome. So, what have I done these few days?

I have slept! I was so exhausted by the journey. And when I finally felt a little alive, I had a friend help me with getting a sim card, setting up internet etc etc. Oh and I found a lizard in my kitchen. I feel so welcomed 😀 On a more serious note, I have studied. I have been writing my literature review and some other ‘fun’ assignments that I have to send in to my supervisor (in Sweden) next week.

Also, I have managed to escape the hectic traffic of Dar es Salaam! Two days in row! Now, if anyone has ever been to Dar es Salaam you would know that the traffic jams here can get quite crazy and tiresome. So, me escaping it for 2 days is also beyond awesome. I hope I did not just jinx my own luck lol. Anyhow, I am supposed to start the ‘real’ thesis work next week, tomorrow I am dubblechecking with my supervisor if that is still possible and hopefully by the time I write next time, I have started the empirical thesis work. OOH and I am so bad with taking pictures… But, in the next blog I will post some pics.

I hope all of you are doing well in lovely Sweden. Did I mention it is 31 C here. And sunny 😀 hehe

See you in the next post 🙂

Time travels fast…

The rain has just passed, the sun is slowly coming out, and the wind is decreasing. Soon the sky will be blue again and the temperature will rise.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset I’m sitting on the balcony, looking at the palm trees, and listening to the songs from the birds. Today I have been in Tanzania for two months. I am back in Dar es Salaam.

For the past five weeks, I have been travelling around Tanzania, working on my projects, making interviews, talking to people. My first impression when I arrive here was that people are very friendly and helpful, and this view remains. In all places I have been, I have made many new friends. People say that the Tanzanians are peaceful and warm people, and I am keen to agree.

Nevertheless, there are many problems facing people here in Tanzania. Corruption is common, poverty is widespread, children are out of schools, and every day some people IMG_2933fight for survival. They struggle to meet their basic needs. Some people in the villages just eat once in a day. The food is simple: ugali (a local porridge of maize flour) or perhaps rice and beans. If being lucky, maybe they can add some vegetables, fruits, or eggs. It varies from one day to another. Moreover, the value of the dollar is increasing right now, and it does affect the Tanzanians. The Tanzanian shilling is getting weaker. Food, hygiene articles, medicine, oil etc. are likely to become increasingly expensive. The external support they were receiving from other countries is weakened. For some of the people, life is hard.

Frequently, people ask me for money. They hope that I could help them. They think that the solution might come from external givers: that we in the West have the money and capacity. I understand how they think, and in some senses they are right. We are extremely lucky to be born where we were born. But I do not believe that the solution is external support in that way. I believe that Tanzania has all the potential to decrease the gaps, reduce poverty, and to prosper. Tanzania has resources, they have human capacity, they have willingness to develop, and the people want to have a good and peaceful life. The main problem is that many are lacking capital and/or knowledge how to proceed with their future objectives. And there, I believe external support could help, to give the main tools for development. Then, external support could be sustainable, and help in the long-term perspective.


Even so, the way towards sustainable development might be a long journey to walk for Tanzania. But change could also happen very fast here. Already, I notice that there is a shift in people’s mindsets and many Tanzanian I talked to believe that good education and equality is vital for their future development.

In October this year there is an election in Tanzania. My fingers are crossed that people will use their right to vote, and that good governance, provision of political goods, and human rights will be prioritized and implemented by the political party that wins.


The blog was originally publiced on:

Time travels fast…

Being sick…

It’s Friday night, and I am in a room. One of the walls is damaged. It looks quite old, and a little dirty. The light is not functioning properly; the shed that comes from it gives me an odd feeling. There is a tap in the corner. Water is running from it, and it leaves black marks in the sink. Different things are spread all over the place. There are bars in the windows. I don’t feel well…

Am I in a prison-cell?

No. In front of me there is an angry-looking woman with a needle in her hand. She wants to take a blood-test. I am in a hospital… Suddenly, I cannot help myself, but I start to laugh. I cannot stop laughing. The whole situation is so bizarre. The nurse looks at me with a strange look in her face. She asks me in a very harsh tone what is so funny? hospitalBetween my laughter I try to explain to her that the situation is so different from what I am used to, and then we are both laughing. It feels better. She takes the needle from the sterile package, and she completes the blood-tests. Now she dosen’t look angry any longer: she is smiling and we are talking a bit in Swahili. Soon, I am off to the doctor in the next room, and two hours later, I am on my way back home: with two different kinds of antibiotics. I should soon be cured, the doctor promised. After four days of vomiting and high fewer, and I am looking forward to be healthy again.

Being sick in another country is always a challenge. You never know how the health system works. You don’t know what is the best option to choose, who you should contact, or which hospital you should visit. You don’t know how you should describe your symptoms, or if the medicine given to you actually will help.

During my third week in Tanzania, I was sick in Dar es Salaam. Nevertheless, I was blessed to be surrounded by new and supportive friends, which helped me to maintain a good spirit, despite my symptoms. Every day, my friends helped me to buy water and food, provided me with resorb (against dehydration), kept me company when I was not sleeping, or called me to ask how I was feeling. They looked up hospitals to me, and accompanied viewme during both my hospital visits. Thanks to this, I never felt alone or afraid. They helped me through some challenging days. I am very grateful to be surrounded by so many lovely people.

Asante sana marafiki yangu!

Dar – The City of Contrasts

If I didn’t see the sunrise and the sunset every day, I would have a very hard time to tell how long time has passed since I arrived. No day is the other day alike. One day here almost feels like a week somewhere else. There are so many new impressions, so many new surprises. I have been in Dar es Salaam for a bit more than two weeks now, and one thing that hits me every day is the vast contrasts this city offers.

IMG_2871For the last couple of weeks, I have been able to travel between different parts of society. From meetings with highly respected professors from Western well-known universities; to having dinner and drinks with people from the World Bank; to discuss development- issues with international and local NGOs; to meet local students; to talk to people who are trying to make a living from different small business; to see how the lower middle class is living; to go to the beach, and for a day feeling like a tourist… My life these weeks has been shifting. I have experienced the more simple life of the middle class in Dar. Travelling as they do, getting stuck in traffic jams, and standing in the dala dala (the local small bus) for hours without being able to move much, sweating a great deal, as well as walking through the flooded roads, and eating local food (rice and beans) at traditional places. From this, to the life of the expats: having fancy dinners in the top-roof restaurants in the city-center, and relaxing time in the tourist areas. I must say that the contrasts are striking.


These experiences can be seen as an expression of being privileged. I am a white young woman from a Western country, which might be the factor that enables me to travel between these different worlds, and be able to return to my safe hostel in the end of the day.

However, I am grateful that I didn’t do this trip at an even earlier age, because it is challenging. When I listen to Tanzanian students who have devoted their whole soul to somehow be able to pay the tuition-fees a little bit longer, and make their dream of education come true, I cannot help to compare it with my own situation. I was luckily born in a country where we have a system with free education, a monthly student-grant, and even can be awarded scholarships to write our theses in another country of our choice… Again: the contrasts.

So, to be white in some senses means to be advantaged. We may still have the opportunity to do things that others are not able to, and for this I believe that we should be very grateful. (And I also believe it is wrong, and it’s a quite post-colonial-mindset.)

Nevertheless, being a white woman here also includes many challenges. You can never walk un-noticed in the streets, IMG_2939never take the bus without getting many other offers of transportation, never be sure if the people you meet are helpful and friendly of good intentions (as I believe most people here are) or if you have met some of the few that just want to use you or hurt you. It is hard to tell when you should be suspicious and when you just should be thankful…

Thus, every day here is a challenge, and at the same time: a new adventure.

Karibu Tanzania!

”Mambo!”, ”Habari!”, ”Mzima!”, ”Salama dada!”, ”Karibu Tanzania!”

Almost everywhere I go in Dar es Salaam (not least in Mikocheni, where I am staying for the moment) people are greeting me with friendly words. “Hi, how’re you?”, “Peace, sister”, and “Welcome to Tanzania”. It’s hard to pass anywhere in the streets without getting attention.  Even though there are numerous white people here, I get the feeling that some locals are getting curious when they see a white person, a mzungu, and especially the kids. People salute you, and when you respond, many of them get surprised, but excited, and they continue talking in Swahili.

Easter dinner with new rafikisThey welcome you to Tanzania, and want to get to know you. However, far from all Tanzanians speak English. Therefore, to be able to interact more with the locals, I have signed up for two weeks of Swahili classes here in Dar es Salaam. And so far, I have really enjoyed learning Swahili! As soon as I picked up a few words, the Tanzanians have been extra friendly and helpful!

These first days in Dar have been great fun, but also very intense. Tanzania is extraordinary, and very different from Sweden. The weather here is hot, sunny, and humid. The rain can come all of a sudden, and can be very strong. The people look different, and they’re all wearing beautiful and colorful clothes.  The roads are crowded with people, cars, Dala dala’s (busses), bajajis, and motorcycles – and people drive like crazy! Here, you better look twice before you cross the street (and you better be fast)! For the good and the bad, Dar is definitely vibrating!

Overall, Dar es Salaam isn’t what I expected it to be – it’s much better! I’ve already met new people, got several new rafiki (friends), and seen different parts of this huge city. I arrived a bit more than a week ago, but I already feel like I have found another place to call home. Tanzania is beautiful, and I’m certain that this stay will be a mind-blowing experience!

Preparing the food

In addition, last weekend, another MFS-student and I got invited to an Easter celebration with our new Tanzanian friend. We got picked up at our hostel, and drove to her family’s place in a village outside of Dar. In the village, we had a delicious traditional Easter dinner. Our friend’s family was lovely, and they treated us as part of their family. It was interesting to see how Easter is celebrated in a middle-class family here in Tanzania, and we really enjoyed the company and the barbeque.

Now I have to continue with my studies – time travels very fast!

Take care! Kwe heri. 🙂

En vecka i Moshi, Tanzania

Altanen till vårt hus!
Altanen till vårt hus!

Här är altanen till vårt hus. Utsikt över Kilimanjaros topp på baksidan!

Vi startade från Köpenhamn förra måndagen, och resan var allt annat än kort! Först mellanlandade vi i Dubai, där vi skulle spendera följande tolv timmar. Vi började med att stämpla våra pass för att kunna gå ut och eventuellt hänga där lite. Det började med att jag (Linnea) blev stoppad av en polis (eventuellt pga min utstickande outfit som var haremsbyxor och linne, folk var verkligen uppklädda här), och hela min packning checkades. Väl ute från flygplatsen kändes det inte så roligt längre och att åka taxi in till “fejkstaden” kändes mest som ett jobbigt projekt. Vi förberedde oss istället på att hänga på flygplatsen den kommande natten, vilket vi inte var ensamma om. Vi fann en varsin hård stol och kommande timmar gick mest ut på att hitta en mer bekväm sovplats.

Efter en tung natt avgick flyget mot Dar Es Salaam, som var i princip tomt på människor, vilket kändes lite skumt på ett så stort plan. Efter en något omskakande flygtur blev det en kort väntan i Dar Es salam för att sedan flyga i en timme till Kilimanjaro. Vår kontaktperson Sanna kom och mötte oss på flygplatsen och vi fick veta att vi skulle få hyra ett hus som ligger i Shanti som hör till Moshi´s ytterområden. Huset vi bor i är jättefint, med en liten trädgård, och en fantastiskt fin altan. Vi har tagit det ganska lugnt den första veckan, eftersom att studenterna vi planerar att intervjua har påsklov denna veckan också. Vi har varit i Marangu som ligger i anslutning till berget Kilimanjaro, där vi fick en guidad tur om Chagga-kulturen, vilket var väldigt intressant och lärorikt, då vi fick veta mer om bakgrunden till Kulturen här i Moshi och förhoppningsvis fick en större förståelse för “Våra” studenter. Vi har tillsammans med Sanna och Kimby (som kommer härifrån) ändrat våra intervjufrågor så att de ska passa mer här, samt fått de översatta till Zwahili. Vi har även gjort några större förändringar på vår metod, där vi tänker använda oss av intervjukort och även färgpennor och papper, sjukt hur mycket mer kreativ man känner sig här!


Vidare ska vi gå en liten Zwahili-kurs i veckan, vilket känns väldigt behövligt. Dock har vi snappat upp och lärt oss en del korta fraser. Vi har även hunnit med en lokal bar/nattklubb där folk verkligen släppte loss, intressant, men jag ljuger om jag inte säger att jag kände mig något obekväm, uttittad osv. Mycket god mat äts det, även om vi inte riktigt uppskattar all Pommes och allt friterat, men det finns ju en del andra alternativ, tack och lov…

Annars flyter det på bra här och vi känner att vi kommit in i allt lite mer, men det tar tid att anpassa sig, speciellt till att inte kunna röra sig “fritt” på samma sätt som hemma. Men vi låter allt få ta sin tid! /Linnea