Less than a week left, and finally got the dream interview!

Sunday afternoon and I’m writing this only having less than a week left here in Ghana. This past week I’ve really been debating with myself whether or not I should stay a few more weeks here, at least till my VISA expires 3 weeks after my departure date… A big part of me really likes it here, and it already feels like a sort of home. On top of that, I’m not too excited to go back to Sweden at the moment. But a part of me also feels ready to go home, mainly to be able to see friends and family. This last week I’ve just felt really lonely. Also I really really cannot wait to get back to Sweden and all the Swedish food! I’m honestly writing a list on my phone of things I’m gonna eat when I come back, no joke.

The main reason why I feel ready to go home is because I have now scheduled another 3 interviews this coming week, and I feel like the material I have now is what I wanted from the beginning, and good enough. One of these interviews is with the chief of child protection at UNICEF! I couldn’t believe it when I got the answer from him, I cried haha. They were always on top of my list of organizations I wanted to interview. Everyone kept telling me they were a looong shot and it would be quite impossible to get an interview there. Well, if you really really want something fight for it and it will work out one way or the other.

Now I’m heading to the Accra Mall, to sit down at the coffee shop and drink plenty of my favorite coconut icepresso and study! That place has really been a comfy place where I have spent many days studying, drinking coffee, meeting new people, and, buying my new phone, I will miss it!

Meeting so many inspiring people

Hello, from a very rainy and windy Accra!

I can finally say this past week has been very busy, with interviews! YAY! Last week included a smaller breakdown, both because of the lack of internet which is really making everything A LOT harder, and because my lack of interviews and just some general homesickness (never thought I’d say that!). But as usual, after surviving a really bad day like that the next day brought a lot of positivity and strength and motivation! So on Thursday I went about 2,5hrs drive from Accra to an NGO and spent most of the day there, interviewing staff. They had built like a whole small community, with a school even, for rescued child trafficking victims. It was amazing to see and spend the day there. Then both my Friday and Saturday was spent with another organization here in one of the slum-areas in Accra. This is an organization that a Swedish woman started, that I found by finding her old master thesis online. I had a very useful interview with one of the staff, and on Saturday I got to join the youth ambassadors meeting they have every Saturday. They had a little small presentation for me about educational systems in Ghana and child trafficking. WOW, so so grateful for this experience. Afterward, I got to present what I’m doing in Ghana and my studies, and since they had shared the educational system in Ghana I shared what I know about the educational system in Sweden. Huge huge differences, here children who want nothing more than to go to school cannot, or even if they do they face sexual abuse and rape by their teachers, and in Sweden, there’s so many who are complaining about even having to go to school… Perspectives… Then we just continued having very interesting conversations about child trafficking and governments, what needs to change for trafficking to end etc. I left that place with such a warm feeling in my heart.

Stolen phone, discouraged and other struggles 5 weeks in.

My apologies for the delayed update. I got my phone stolen, and couldn’t get a new one until a week later. Plus there hasn’t been any wifi at the house for the past week now so I’m surviving on some mobile data for the most important things.

I must admit that the past 2 weeks have been quite challenging for me… put aside the stolen phone, no internet, plenty of personal struggles and challenges, I feel quite discouraged regarding my field study while writing this post. The stolen phone and lack of internet have really put me back when it comes to reaching my contacts etc. On top of that, my “plan” was to hopefully have conducted all of my interviews by the end of my first month here, that hasn’t worked out. I still only have 4 interviews from one NGO. It is not that I didn’t expect these obstacles, and I always had an open mind knowing there is a big possibility I wouldn’t be able to finish my interviews in the first month. But it stresses me a lot, and me + school-stress is not the best combination… The one thing that calms me a bit is knowing that I have the possibility of staying here in Ghana a bit longer if I need to since I don’t have anything urgent that I have to get back to Sweden for at the moment. Actually not even until mid-August… But it’s hard when you feel so motivated and prepared and then there are things you can’t control that stands in your way…

A little different kind of post today, but this is my reality at the moment and I think it is important to share all the stages of this study, both good and not so good.

To finish off on the positive side, I have managed to go on weekend trips almost every weekend. It has been amazing to see more places in Ghana outside of Accra, I will try to post about it in the coming days!

Some fun random facts about Ghana that I’ve experienced so far!

Hello from a new week in Ghana!

Spending this Monday trying to plan this coming week and what I want/need to do! I am currently writing a letter to the minister of the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection here in Accra, to hopefully be granted an interview with the director of the human trafficking department there. I really really hope I will get that interview, would be SOOO helpful! Other than that, this weeks will be filled with studying as usual. I am still trying to find a good location where I can sit down and study, so far it is either at home in the house or a cafe in the mall. I miss a good old library…

I thought I would share some things that I have noticed so far after my 3 weeks here, that are quite different from Sweden. Most of them positive, some a little less.

  • People always say good morning, good afternoon, good evening before beginning a conversation. Took me a few days to pick that up, they must have thought I was so rude…
  • The traffic here is CRAZY compared to Sweden. Everyone drives like crazy, honking to everything and nothing, and I wouldn’t say traffic rules are what decides how people drive. I’m taking both Uber, but also the local ‘bus’ called trotro which is the cheapest option. It is all the same, you kinda feel happy you are still alive when you get out of the vehicle haha! It is definitely true what they say, if you can drive in Accra you can drive anywhere in the world!
  • People are so friendly and welcoming. Maybe sometimes a bit too much for a European… I love the fact that everyone talks to everyone, every house is open to everyone, people sit outside and talk and just spend time with each other. It is a whole different culture in that sense compared to Sweden, where most people just want to stay in their own corner and spend as little time as possible with strangers or interacting face to face.  But the downside might be when the Uber driver says he loves you and asks to marry you after 5 minutes in the car. It happened to my roommate from Germany, it seems like she handled it well whereas I’m thinking I would’ve either freaked out and jumped out of the moving car or gotten quite angry… Neither which would be a very good solution haha, so I am happy she told me about this so that I’m prepared with a chill answer if it would happen to me. + always sit in the backseat, less risk for it to happen!
  • Obruni – white man. This is the main word Ghanaians use to get my attention on the street. At first, I found it to be a bit strange and felt uncomfortable, but after discussing it with some Ghanaian friends I’ve understood that it is not an insult or a bad word per se. As I connected it to be, like if someone would call black man after a Ghanaian on the streets in Sweden – we all know what would happen then.
  • Goats, chickens, lizards, cockroaches, (huge) spiders and dogs are everywhere. In our yard by the house some chickens from the houses around daily come for a stroll, it freaked me out at first but now I kinda like it! Regarding the spiders, I killed one my first week here, but now I have named the one in my room because I consider him my roommate! Can’t say for sure if I like having him there just because, or if it is because seeing him in his usual spot calms me knowing that at least then he is not in my bed!

 

Life is changing…

Hi everyone!

This Friday I celebrated 2 weeks here in Ghana! I can’t believe how fast time passes here, it is crazy! It stresses me a bit, to be honest, but really trying to just keep calm and enjoy as much as I can.

So far I have spent a few more days with the first organizations I met with, conducted some more interviews etc. Otherwise, regarding the field study, I’ve been trying to get in contact with some of my contacts, and also making new connections and meeting new people that have been able to put me in contact with valuable persons that I will be able to meet up with! Connections really are everything when it comes to a country like this I have noticed, meeting someone who gets to talk to you in person and see you and hear about your project and can immediately think of friends or relatives that can help you!

The life in Accra is otherwise quite amazing, I’m getting comfy here, I have my house, my roomies, I know the roads, places to eat and where to buy the most amazing fresh fruits! Last week two of my roommates left though, so the house feels quite empty… You really become like a family living here, so we had some tearful goodbyes, but we will for sure meet again in the future!

Also, got very sick last week and after a few days I couldn’t stop thinking I had gotten malaria… So I headed to the hospital for some tests, but luckily it was just some infection that some antibiotics is currently taking care of.

Last Friday I was able to take part in something very amazing, scary, huge, life-changing and overwhelming. I was able to take part in a presentation in two different boys schools here in Accra, regarding the SDGs. A project that is called The World’s Largest Lesson. Where the aim is to educate children about The Sustainable Development Goals. Some of my contacts are from the organization AIESEC, and I will be joining this project related to the SDGs. This is a major advantage for me in my field study, my university study, and for me personally! It is connected exactly to my passions, my goals, and my studies. Back to the presentation, it was in front of hundreds of children (and some adults), and I had to use a microphone…! I have never been very comfortable speaking in front of a lot of people, always tried to avoid it. But I did it! Looking back, I’m not sure how I was able to but I did it! Even though my voice was shaking, my brain froze a few times and I forgot the most simple words in English… And the sweat, it is already SO HOT here, but nervosity makes me sweat, and I had to wear a grey t-shirt… You can imagine the rest haha! BUT I DID IT! It was overwhelming and huge, and life-changing for me because the second I started something fell into place inside of me. I felt that this is exactly where I should be, right here right now. In front of hundreds of children, speaking about their rights and how they are our future and can help make this world a better place. I have goosebumps writing this. I am so grateful for where I have gotten.

As if this wasn’t enough, I got accepted to my master’s program I applied for!

This post feels a bit all over the place now, but that is kinda how I feel now being here. So much is happening, I’m learning so much – about the world, but also about myself. I hope everyone else out there doing their MFS are able to enjoy this life-changing journey as much as me!

First few days in Ghana!

HELLO!

My journey has started! Day 4 here in Accra today, and so far I really really REALLY like it here.

My accommodation is great, I live with the best people! A nice bunch of different nationalities, they are definitely a big part of why I already feel so at home here.

Also, the weather is great. So so great, it is definitely very hot and I’m constantly sweating but I’d take this any day instead of cold and grey weather!

The weekend was very chill, getting into everything. Yesterday I had my first interview with one organization, that is working with street children. I spent the first two hours with one of the workers there out on the street to see how it is. This is in an area of Accra that is mentioned as a scrap-yard. Many children live on the street there, picking metal to sell. We did not get to walk more than five minutes before there was a very serious incident with a young boy there. Nothing has ever affected me as much. This place was really something out of this world. That kind of place you would not ever believe existed unless you saw it with your own eyes. Yesterday was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life and that I will keep in my heart forever.

 

The house I’m living in and the backyard!

Some food one of the girls in the house from Ivory Coast cooked for us, amazing!

They are a big fan of everything ginger here.

Introductory/preparatory post

Hi!

Thought it was time for me to post a little introductory/preparatory post here on the blog since my countdown is now down to only a week left until my departure to Accra, Ghana!

So far I think I’ve managed to get everything sorted before leaving! Packing is still on the to-do list… As well as some more school assignments…

As mentioned in my introduction, I’m going to Ghana to conduct a minor field study. The material I will collect during this study will be my main material for my bachelor thesis that I’m currently writing! Human trafficking is a subject that has had my interest for many many years, and children’s rights are my big passion. Since this MFS is funded by SIDA I will be going to Ghana for my study, but I find it very important that people from developed countries understand that trafficking in children also happens in their countries! People around me sometimes say that it doesn’t happen in Sweden (for example), but IT DOES. I will never stop trying to share my knowledge and experience in this area, and this field study for my thesis writing is definitely one way I will be doing that!

Next update will be live from Ghana!

Äntligen här!

Hej allihop!

Nu har vi äntligen anlänt till Ghana, Accra och hunnit installera oss lite. Vi reste lördagen den 29 Mars kl 7.30 och kom fram till Accra ca 20.30 (svensk tid). Allt gick smidigt och bra! Väl framme på flygplatsen så hade vårt hostel fixat med transport. På flygplatsen var alla väldigt vänliga och välkomnande. Det fösta vi hörde var Welcome to Accra! De hjälpte gärna till med väskor, detta mot dricks vilket var svårt för oss eftersom vi bara hade dollar. Resan till vårt hostel var en upplevelse dels för att vi var lite rädda för de körde som galningar och tutade hela tiden och dels för den stora kontrasten jämfört med hemma.

Vi bor på ett hostel i Accra som ligger lite utanför stan. Alla är jättevänliga och hjälpsamma och ägarna till vårt boende är ett äldre par som föredrar att bli kallade Auntie och Uncle vilket gör det hela familjärt. Här är billigt och god mat. En lunch, fried rice and chicken och två öl till det för bara 30kr. Vi ser vackra kvinnor i långa färgglada klänningar med matchande sjalar till och stora fruktfat på huvudet. Här är ett högt tempo med mycket bilar, skjul med mat och andra saker som de säljer. Marken består till största del av röd sand och höns springer runt på gatorna.

Vi har utforskat staden lite, växlat pengar, lokaliserat oss och fixat med internetuppkoppling. Nu är det dags att ta kontakt med organisationen som vi ska besöka och börja göra intervjuscheman.

Vi kommer att uppdatera med fler inlägg och bilder inom kort =)

Kram Annie och Mona

Äntligen framme i Ghana

Akwaaba, detta e vår blogg !

Vi har nu kommit till rätta här i Accra på ett grymt hostel. Vi landade i lördags och har under helgen mest fixat alla praktiska saker som internet och telefoner samt försöka ta in alla nya intryck. Vi har även hunnit smaka på alla frukter staden har att erbjuda (mangoträd i trädgården!) och dansat loss på en AC (after church).

Idag ösregnar det och är måndag vilket vi tar som ett tecken att det e dags att sätta igång med uppsatsen på allvar.

 

Akwaaba!!

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.

Later!!!!!!!!!!