Meeting point

This picture shows a well known Swedish meeting point. You will find it at Central Station in Stockholm. It was also here I was supposed to meet up with Zanzibar delegation from the village of Makunduchi.

When I arrived from spending the night with my daughter in the outskirts of Stockholm our guests were already there. My worries about them not having printed out train tickets or that they might have muddled up time since we turned back our time yesterday were in unnecessary.

Tomorrow our program will start, now with everyone equipped with warmer clothing. In the morning we will visit SKL which is the federation of Swedish local authorities and regions. There we look forward to get some information on this organisation’s democracy responsibility towards local governance. Big thanks to Lena Langlet at SKL who could facilitate the visit. On the Zanzibar delegation we also have Mr. Mohamed Salum who is director for the Central District on Zanzibar and also secretary for the corresponding Zanzibar organization to SKL.

This is all for now and I will be reporting on this blog on development of proceedings during next week.

Updating on life

Abby has settled in

In November last year I predicted I would be writing more often on my blog. Well, it didn’t happen… Truth is I have had too much to do. Besides trying to learn some Swahili and Italian, sold our house, emptied it, sold and gave away stuff by the tons, bought a flat in Granloholm, Sundsvall, took a car trip to Lisbon with lots of stuff to the flat there, went on to empty it and order renovations that are now in (slow) progress. I have a new granddaughter since august. Anyway, I’m back now and hopefully not having to go through so many energy and time consuming activities in the future.

As far as learning Swahili I can say that I have completed the Duolingo course and that it gives me some ideas on how the language is built, I have some vocabulary, but without practice I am at a loss. I embraced the much easier Italian language and what prompted me to learn it was that my grand daughter Liv Gudasic is in Florence doing a course in Graphic Design. Hopefully we will find the opportunity to pay her a visit in the future.

Life in Granloholm is pleasant. In a smaller flat we have achieved becoming free of all debts and simplified our life as things are well organized here. We have 200 meters away, the possibility to leave all our waste sorted out and not having to take it by car to the recycling stations. We have a common laundry but can do most of our washing indoors.

The bus runs nearby at regular times without much delay. I travel on a monthly ticket that costs me only 100 Sek. Our cat Abby has settled nicely in.

This new situation means that we increase our possibilities to travel which is something we look forward doing.

Next coming week we will be receiving a delegation from Makunduchi and this will mean a trip to Stockholm to receive them. More about this in coming articles.

Sundsvall in winter by Liv Gudasic
How Liv sees Sundsvall in wintertime.

Becoming Portuguese

I have now taken decisive steps to recover my Portuguese nationality. At the registration office I was told I needed a criminal record for both the UK and Sweden and some type of proof that I could speak or understand the Portuguese language.

As to whether I could speak Portuguese or not it was easy enough for the the officer at the local agency to decide in that but we agreed that it would be necessary to contact my old school and acquire a certificate of education ( habititações). This is what I did this morning.

The school where I completed my studies in Portugal was the Liceu de Oeiras. It was great fun to go into the premises and see that many things still looked the same.

At the school office I showed my school book that people at the office had not seen for a long time. This “caderneta escolar” followed the student throughout secondary school. This photo shows my marks at the 7 th year of schooling or 3rd of secondary school.

In those days the school had about 2000 students with girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon. We went from Monday to Saturday, Sunday was free.

The entrance to the school still looks very much the same. Here we can see how it looks like today.

Entrance to old Liceu de Oeiras.

In about one week I will return to get my certificate of education. Another small step for man, and another small step for mankind.

I thought

In S. Sebastian

Before my partial retirement on 1st of January I had the ambition of starting to regularly write on this blog. Well, it didn’t happen. When I tell people that I do not know how I found the time to work it always gets a good laugh, but it has been the truth, honest.

In these six months we have sold our house in Furubergsgatan and bought a flat in Luleåvägen. We went on holiday to Cala Millor- Mallorca and I was also in Makunduchi – Zanzibar in February.

In Cala Millor we were fortunate also to join an international group of other holiday makers whose company we truly enjoyed.

I am writing from the flat in S. Pedro Estoril where we plan to make some improvements. Our trip to Portugal, this time, was made by car. It is a long stretch of 4000 kilometers. We crossed over in Gothenburg and spent a few hours there feeling the pulse of a very pleasant city center. After that we made two more hotel stops and slept two nights in the car.

The first stop was in Cologne with its impressive cathedral. Even there there was a very pleasant atmosphere of eating and drinking. The mind boggles when we think how utterly destroyed this city was left after bombing in the Second World War. Something for present and coming generations to think about as populism and nationalism grow again in our midst.

I put our stop in S. Sebastian at the top of the line. It is indeed a beautiful city with an atmosphere that just makes you feel dizzy which I will admit was helped by the Tapas dinner at the Baztan in the old town. Highly recommended as far as I am concerned.

Yesterday was crowned by meeting my new cousin Pedro Magalhães and his wife Teresa. More about this on coming texts.

Kuwakaribisha marafiki zangu kwa Sundsvall

Welcome to Sundsvall, Makunduchi friends. Next Sunday you are expected to arrive after a long and tiring trip. From the sunshine of Zanzibar to a Sundsvall profoundly immersed in the November cold and darkness. A dramatic contrast, but we will do what we can to ease up for you. I want to take the opportunity to fill you in on the events here since your last visit.

We have had a general election which means that Swedish voters chose their representatives on all three levels of government. As far as the national level is concerned there is a situation unique in Swedish modern history and after 10 weeks since the election there is still no government. What has mainly upset Sweden’s democratic set up has been the growing support for the Sweden Democrats a party with immigration issues at the center but where many experts widen the explanation to insecurity on some parts of the population about undefined future, brought about by modern technology, globalization and desertification of rural areas. We could safely say that this party thrives on people’s worries and fear. Somehow it has shifted Swedish  political map and we are experiencing now three main ideological fields, Conservative Nationalism, Liberalism and Democratic Socialism. The Green Party was practically wiped out despite awareness of climate change and pollution issues.

As far as the local Sundsvall government is concerned we are continuing with same partners, (Social Democrats, Center party and Left party).

On Monday Mohamed and I will give our local parliament a short presentation of our cooperation so far. I will share it here for your benefit.

I am leaving the chairmanship of the School Board but carry on with focus on Culture and Sport plus an elected seat on our Municipal Parliament.

I look forward to seeing you Mbanja Makame, Mohamed Muombwa, Suleiman Selele and Zainab Fadhil on Sunday, when we will try to start the “Friends of Makunduchi association” that I already have mentioned before.

I also expect that you will share with us the main questions affecting your beautiful island of Unguja with challenges facing Zanzibar and ideas to solve them.

Note: Swahili texts are also welcome here!

Why friends of Makunduchi?

It’s Friday. When I write something on my blog it generally happens on Fridays. The reason for that is that we generally have fewer meetings booked on Fridays. As I partially retire after the New Year I will probably write more often on my blogs. Promise or threat? You decide!

Today I am sharing thoughts about the reason to start in Sundsvall an association for friendship with the community of Makunduchi, southeast area of Zanzibar.

For three years now, the municipality of Sundsvall has been carrying out a project financed by ICLD ( International Center for Local Democracy) together with Makunduchi leaders. During this time and even before, people from Sundsvall have visited Makunduchi and many contacts have been established.

My experience is that when a project finishes the contacts generally die out. We would like to avoid that. What is then the purpose of the association?

Anyone that has been to Zanzibar and left the all-inclusive closed up hotels by the Indian Ocean can understand that the standard of living for people is low. The purpose of the ICLD project is the exchange of views and experiences aiming at developing democracy at local level. Even though we do not come with cash to make improvements our friends in Makunduchi have valued this cooperation and stuck to it. This is for me a sign of strength about the understanding that development happens when we put the effort and seldom does it end well if the aim is charity. Charity is the opposite of what our association should be about.

Most of us in the Sundsvall community are not mildly aware of the real deep issues that face Zanzibarians. It’s my hope that we can reach a better understanding of these issues. At the local level, we can see things happening in Makunduchi with the support of local elected people and other representatives. The needs for better education, healthcare, sanitation, jobs, electricity, running water are evident going into any village.

The purpose of our association, if it finds legs to walk, that is to say if there is a sufficient interest, is to find ways to support these needs without falling into the trap of charity. I am confident that with the help of this association a contribution can be made to create better conditions for development in Makunduchi.

Falta-me o Pedro

É a segunda vez na minha vida que vou para Portugal sem lá estar o Pedro. A primeira foi quando me embarcaram no “Alcantara” no dia 11 de outubro de 1952 com destino a Lisboa. A 23 de fevereiro de 1954 nascia o Pedro. Desde então fomos irmãos. Passámos 14 anos como irmãos primeiro crianças e depois adolescentes. Passam- me muitas imagens desses tempos pela cabeça. Tivemos como todos momentos bons e maus. Coisas que me marcaram talvez não o tenham marcado tanto. Nunca o saberemos. O Pedro não se abria muito. Quando os nossos pais se separaram foi um rude golpe. Estávamos em idade difícil. Não entendíamos muito bem o que se passava, mas as brigas dos nossos pais eram difícil de lidar.
Fomos parar ao colégio Valsassina como alunos internos e no verão fomos para a colônia de férias na Praia das Maçãs. Para mim esse tempo foi dramático. Como irmão mais velho sentia que tinha que proteger o Pedro.
As coisas acalmaram quando fomos para Carcavelos viver com a nossa mãe, irmã Joana e avó Bua. O Pedro era muito generoso. Sempre nos lembrávamos quando íamos à Feira Popular e ele sempre tinha uns tostões para fazermos qualquer coisa extra. Na Praceta de Carcavelos o Pedro adoptou cães abandonados e fez comércio com bichos da seda.
A qualquer jogo de mesa que participasse tacitamente e irremediavelmente ganhava. Não havia hipótese. A escola no entanto não era para ele e nunca percebeu muito bem o que lá andava a fazer. Preocupava todos quando desaparecia para pescar ou fazer campismo. Nunca deu nenhuma importância aos confortos caseiros. Preferia mesmo era uma vida simples e sem complicações. Mais tarde aderiu à vida de praia e gostava de dar mergulhos no nosso mar Atlântico.
Quando era pequeno lembro-me de o ver jogar ao berlinde com grande entusiasmo e de cócoras. Da varanda a minha avó preocupava-se com o Pedro e seu futuro. Talvez pudesse ser relojoeiro?
Não foi para muito longe. Foi para a montagem de filmes. Gostava daquele ambiente que requeria paciência e ambientes fechados . Foi nos filmes que conheceu a Maria João e com ela teve as duas maravilhosas filhas Marta e Catarina.
 O Pedro integrou-se na nova família. Cumpriu o seu papel de pai acompanhando as filhas quando cresciam. Penso que foi um bom pai para as meninas e que se esforçou por fazer o melhor. Sempre mostrou orgulho por elas sem precisar de o dizer diretamente.
A vida do trabalhador da área do cinema não é fácil. É um ramo para entusiastas sempre com pouco dinheiro. O Pedro nunca ganhou grande coisa no cinema e quando as montagens passaram para a digitalização não sei se acompanhou as mudanças. Para dizer a verdade nunca percebia grande coisa quando falava da sua vida profissional. Sei que tinha alguns amigos nos filmes. Estava sempre disposto a ir com eles por esse Portugal fora fazendo diversos trabalhos ligados às produções cinematográficas.
Mais tarde na vida quando se separou da Maria João conheceu a Sara e com ela teve o Miguel. Este filho passou a ser o motivo principal da sua vida. Andava sempre com o Miguel e ajudava a Sara. Teve um amigo no Andy que apoiou a família nos momentos difíceis. Faleceu no passado dia 12 de maio após prolongada e dolorosa doença que enfrentou à maneira da sua personalidade tentando envolver outros o mínimo possível. Era o meu irmão e sinto a sua falta.

O Sporting merece melhor

Ser dirigente é um cargo de responsabilidade e confiança. Ser dirigente significa representar aqueles que elegeram mas tambem aqueles que não acreditavam. Nestes dias faz bem reflectir sobre o significado de ser dirigente. No Sporting Clube de Portugal, clube de que sou sócio à distancia, (pago as quotas mas não posso ver os jogos), existe um clima de extrema frustração que é produto de muitos anos de gestão deficiente que será o motivo principal da falta de titulos conquistados pela equipa de futebol.

Sobre os jogadores e técnicos não podem  caír suspeitas pois são profissionais e fazem o melhor que sabem pois não só servem o clube como tambem tem ambição própria e normal de desenvolver a sua carreira. Depois de uma época das mais bem conseguidas dos ultimos tempos instala-se de novo um clima de frustração e desalento. O culpado principal é o presidente Bruno de Carvalho que por várais vezes e nos momentos mais dificeis fez um triste papel juntando-se aos mais descontentes e alienando-se da sua condição de lider.

Ser presidente é um cargo de confiança. Infelizmente no tempos em que vivemos há um foco muito grande nas pessoas e muito pequeno nos factos e nas ideias. Nestes ambientes surgem aventureiros sem qualidades de direção que promente mundos e fundos. E as massas acreditam. Nada se consegue se não houver um plano a curto e longo prazo e muito trabalho sério. De Bruno de Carvalho transparece populismo e ego. O clube não é ele e já deveria ter-se demitido pois está a arriscar a própria existencia do clube que ele diz ser o amor da sua vida.

Os métodos de Bruno de Carvalho podem ser comparados a lideres populistas com tendencia a serem ditadores. Assim não vamos lá. Um dirigente máximo tem que passar ao lado de dar uma imagem de que somos vitimas e que todos estão contra nós.Não pode passar as culpas quando as coisas correm mal para outros já que o dirigente máximo é tambem o máximo responsável.Não pode encorajar adeptos a fazer justiça aos jogadores. E tudo isto faz o presidente do Sporting.

Aos sócios sportinguistas peço calma e que dentro dos processos democráticos pelo que se deve reger o nosso clube acabem com a presidencia do actual presidente antes que ele acabe com o Sporting.

The Makunduchi papers 2017 (2)

The Sundsvall delegation arrived in Zanzibar on Friday afternoon the 6th of October and left on Thursday evening the 12th October. On such a short visit it was important to see and experience as much as possible on the spot. For the trip to Makunduchi from the airport we were assisted by motorcycle police which helped us regain some of the time lost on our way down.

We were pleased to be received by most of our friends including coordinator Mr. Mohamed Muombwa and senior citizen Mr. Hafith Ameir.

Makunduchians are proud of what they are doing to develop their region in south Zanzibar at the same time showing a fantastic hospitality. At the entrance of the hotel a considerable number of villagers were there to greet and welcome us.

I lift two main subjects during our visit1) The development of dialogue and participation aiming at improving school results and 2) Enterprising initiatives to develop the local economy.

In this set of mind I would like to refer to the workshops and study visits starting immediately at arrival during the weekend. We were shown several projects and I would like to lift the initiatives of agricultural production taking place in various parts of Makunduchi. Mr. Suleiman Selele could, with his experience in health care, fill us in on different aspects concerning nutrition and health. These production units engaged mainly unemployed women. All could witness on lack of water being the main setback for these units. We visited also productive agricultural units where there was availability of water.

Another important development already mentioned was the Swahili house under the wings and supervision of Mr. Mwita Masemo.

The education workshops gathered headmasters and school board members and some of the themes discussed were the role of headmasters in the school system, the role of parents, communication towards the central government and challenges of teaching and learning in the English language, foreign to both teachers and students.


Discussions took place among and between delegations in a spirit of hope and commitment. For my part I am proud to have led the steering committee on behalf of Sundsvall’s Municipality.



The Makunduchi papers 2017 (1)

Sundsvalls Municipality (kommun) cooperates with Makunduchi Wards on a two year project that can be extended for further activities next year. This cooperation is financed by the Swedish State as part of the national cooperation budget and is administered by the association of Swedish Local Authorities (SKL).

We have now established good relations with our partners in Zanzibar and are advancing in what can be described as a dialogue and exchange of experiences concerning Local Power and its responsibilities and duties towards local populations.

I am chairman  of the steering committee in behalf of the municipality of Sundsvall. My experience so far, is that there is progress being made and that our partners are aware that their role needs to be better defined and new responsibilities need to be formalized by Central government.

When we started our work with Makunduchi there was a natural incidence in education issues. What could be done so that more students could reach a higher level of education and how could local politicians contribute to make this happen? In this sense we discovered that we had the same goal in both communities even though there is an enormous gap between what the two communities are achieving today. Local elected members see now that they have a role to play and that this is dependent on gaining support and trust from the populations in order to increase the number of citizens that can support themselves economically, being that education is probably the most important factor of development.

In Makunduchi there are positive developments such as the “Food Festival” aiming at taking up questions of health and hygiene as well as developing the noble art of cooking. The outdoor museum ” Swahili House”, has its aim at showing traditional living as far as housing and daily chores are concerned. Courses are being held to improve leadership and management skills for community leaders. Discussions are progressing on how school boards can claim better results for the students and what the role of parents should be.

On this article I will mention the warm reception we were met with as the Sundsvall delegation came to Zanzibar last week.

At the airport, after an eight hour delay,we were expected and met by the Honorable Mayor of Zanzibar Town Mr. Khatib Abraham Khatib This reception was followed up by new and profitable contacts with central government. A visit to the House of Representatives where all Swedish guests were presented by name to the whole assembly. Later we could have a talk with the honorable speaker of the house Mr. Zubeid Ali Maulid and deputy speaker Mme. Mgeni Hassan Juma. From there we went for a reception at the office of 2nd Vice President of Zanzibar Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and even present at that meeting was the minister of Education Mme. Riziki Pembe Juma.

I am pleased that the Sundsvall delegation together with our friends could take up important issues concerning the development of Makunduchi and its people.

The delegation of Sundsvall: Mrs. Arianne Sundman, speaker of Sundsvalls municipality, Mr. Hans Zetterkvist, Vice chairman of the Education Committee, Mrs. Maria Åström and Mrs. Linda Strandfjäll members of the Education Committee, Mrs. Christin Strömberg and Mr. Björn Swedén Project coordinators, Mrs. Åsa Jerfsten Technical advisor on Education matters, Mr. Hans Fridholm, Water technical Expert and myself João Pinheiro chairman of Education Committee.