Monday, 12 May 2014


I'm ill and it's not great. It's never fun being a bit under the weather, but it's even less fun when you're a long way from home and the only "home" available to you is a not very homely guest house which, in spite of being thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis by our thorough maid, never seems to get clean. I have started missing home a lot more over the past month, saying that even though I don't really know where home is. Home has now become synonymous with Europe, Europe being Sweden and London. I miss my family a lot. And I miss feeling clean which seems impossible here. I also miss trivial luxury, the small things that feel anything but luxurious when living in Europe. H&M for instance, or going to new restaurants or visiting museums. Also I am in dire need of a new pair of shoes, which is why I bought two pairs in Kampala. Both of which broke within less than two weeks. Obviously all of these things are somewhat different when working in the village as no one would expect you to look clean/decent/representative. When I first arrived in Kampala I did not understand why international employees had perks such as hardship trips back to their native country, but I totally get it now. A break is needed in order to fully appreciate the experience, I think. And a break is also needed to buy high quality shoes (and low quality clothing from H&M). I am starting to very much look forward to my return to Europe (only three months and a bit to go!) whilst at the same time knowing that it will most likely be two years before I am back on the African continent in a professional context. And as such I should enjoy it while it lasts. Also there really is a lot of exciting things happening before moving back to London.

I'm going out in the field on Wednesday with work, for instance, for the first time in six months. This will also be the first time that I go out in the field with one of our partners on my own and as the only Embassy representative. Needless to say it's all very exciting. I will visit some of the refugee settlements in Arua (Arua is one of the main settlement areas for the refugees coming from South Sudan, the amount of which has now exceeded 100 000 just in Uganda) before travelling on to Pader to visit a school primarily established for former child soldiers that were forcibly recruited by the LRA. Never having been to a refugee settlement before I am not quite sure what to expect. The case of Uganda and its refugee policies is, however, very exciting (hence me doing my dissertation on it). Rather than setting up refugee camps for the hundreds of thousands of refugees to whom the Ugandan state is now host, Uganda's refugee policies mean that refugees live in settlements, enabling a legal entitlement to the freedom of movement for the refugees (which is in stark contrast to the Kenyan government's recent crackdown on refugees). Also the refugees in Uganda can choose to not live in the refugee settlements, which one might think should be obvious but instead this has been known to be a very controversial issue in host countries - and communities - across the world. Humanitarian issues and the policies around them might very well be the most interesting and complicated subject I have come across in my studies and, indeed, in my professional life (although that might be because I didn't study and/or work with quantum physics). At some point in the future I am hoping to get to work with only or at least primarily humanitarian questions. On the ground, or at HQs with close proximity to the nearest H&M...

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