Hundreds of women


Meeting with Makunduchi teachers

We must by now have met hundreds of women in the villages of Makunduchi. The purpose of this cooperation project is to strengthen local government with focus on education. In this perspective it is extremely important to meet villagers and specially women that are those who take responsibility for school matters. We learnt that no schools have running water, they are overcrowded too. A school, for example,  has 800 students and twenty teachers. Some teachers come in as voluntary. This means they do not get a State salary. Teachers take money out of their pocket to finance these teachers. With classes having about 60 learners it is not surprising they need the extra help. Shortage of teachers is a problem. So is the quality of premises. In Kawenja they have locally built the walls for a new school but the government won’ t come and put the roof on.

We have just finished a meeting with 5 local teachers. Much of what was said at this meeting confirms what we have heard from local leaders and parents.

Sundsvall is not alone from Sweden, here in southern Zanzibar. Yesterday came a number of students from Celsius school in Uppsala. They are on an exchange program just as our own students from Sundsvall’s Gymnasiet will do later this week.

I do not know today to what extent our participation will make an impact. I am however impressed by the level of dialogue we can see, exists here. Mr. Mohamed Muombwa and Mr. Abdella Ali accompanied us yesterday which was valuable for our meetings and communication.

Right now I am expecting a call from a radio journalist back in Sundsvall eager to learn more about what we are doing here.

The Umeå years (1)

studentkår

When I had completed enough subjects in the Adult education (Komvux) courses, I applied to the University. At that time we discussed the two nearest alternatives, Uppsala and Umeå. The latter was further up north and Sweden’s newest University. I managed to get in on a sort of trial as I had not managed the level of Swedish required. I enrolled for the English AB course. It was meant that this subject would take a year. Due to my previous knowledge of English I decided to speed up the course. I did most of it within the term.

My student life in Umeå was all, but glamorous. I rented a furnished room at a private home in Scharinsvägen. Once again I had an elderly landlady. There were no cooking facilities so I needed to plan my meals so as not to get hungry at night, which I did not succeed very well in doing.

I came home at weekends especially in the beginning. I did not know anyone so I enrolled at the Social-Democratic Student Association.  

I got to and from Umeå by bus. These buses took between three and four hours and some stopped quite often.

My life in Umeå during these first years circled around the University. It was the most left winged environment in the Swedish academic world and I will come back to this. On the 20th November 1976 I got my first 40 academic points. I could come home for Christmas with a sense of duty accomplished.

London-Alnö

CrossingLanding in Gothenburg meant stepping into a new country! Sweden! Regardless to say but worth repeating it was the follow up and direct consequence of blind and true love. It just wouldn’t hold, to be apart any longer.

After travelling on the train between the two most important cities of the country I can but recall how I just could not understand and take in that the heat I found there was so intense that transpiration was taking the best of me and that this feeling g was shared by my fellow travellers despite open windows in all compartments!

Mona was there at the Central Station eagerly waiting for our reunion! The painful wait was over and we could look forward to a few weeks sharing each other’s company! We took ourselves to the next means of transport- a VW light blue 1300 commonly known as” beetle”! Mona sat at the driver’s seat and even if I would have wanted to help drive, I couldn’t, as I did not know how!

Our long north bound journey started, taking us out of Stockholm and passing through a number of towns on the way! There were many miles in front of us and I learnt they were about 40 Swedish ones! A Swedish mile, Mona explained was quite simply 10 kms. It did not matter, we were together and the towns of Uppsala, Gävle, Söderhamn and Hudiksvall had to be driven through before arrival at the destiny of our trip- Mona’s Sundsvall and her home on the island of Alnö!

My eyes tried to take in as much as possible especially when it wasn’t endless forests that met them. The road signs showing danger of wild elks crossing the road was if anything exotic. So was also the fact that night never dawned properly on us…

We crossed the much awaited bridge taking us to Alnö. This one I had seen on postcards and looked familiar. When we arrived on the island it was late. We had to keep quiet as I was shown my quarters in the basement where I shared my sleeping hours with a bath tub and a boiler!

Next day we would meet the parent’s. First mother Aime and about half an hour past 4 o’clock the father that made his way upstairs to the kitchen where dinner awaited and firmly shook my hand with the words- OLLE!