Jessica Axbergs medlemsblogg
Love the contrasts
Second week at UN environment (yes, now UN has changed the name from UNEP to UN Environment) and this week has been short. Apperantly a holiday was announced by the Kenyan government (just a few days in advance) that monday was off. But UN staff can not follow short-announced holidays so we had to go to work anyway, but no need to cry! We had tuesday off as that was an official UN holiday planned a long time ago. So, this week has consisted of a lot of reading and helping my supervisor on some feedback on briefings for a future collaboration. Also, I’ve done some mandatory tasks like attending security introduction for all new staff members and applied for an intern pass visa.
Today the interns, UNV:s (United Nations Volunteers) and JPO:s (Junior Professional Officer) were called for a very good and interesting meeting with the director of UN environment. Discussing what the department has done good, what to focus on in the future and what changes the interns, UNV:s and JPO:s wants to see – in order to make the work more efficient and transparent. A lot of good points and ideas were adressed which hopefully will be brought up at the senior meeting next week.
Thoughts from the week:
Contrasts define and make countries unique. The contrasts in this world is the big reason why I want to travel and see and experience other cultures and values.
- The differences between Sweden and Kenya are huge regarding some things like infrastructure, poverty vs rich and management. Things are done very differently here and I experience that time is not money. Like it is in Sweden. Whilst in Sweden we are very focused on time, planning and effectivness. Here, its a little more relaxed and time is not the central part of your day. For good and bad. As a swede, I can of course get frustrated when someone is late or does not stick to the plan, but on the other hand it’s good to not always go in the fast lane and stress less. And while Kenya can learn some things from the Swedish model about welfare and management in a society, Sweden can also, most definitely, learn many things from Kenya. Im not saying that I’m an expert or ”this is how it is” but my own generel opinion from being here is that people are more open and friendly here and that family and friends are the central part of your life. You help and support the people around you and you do it without asking for anything in return. Swedes are of course not heart-less and egoistic but we sometimes become too individual and only focus on or own well-being and career.
- Foreigners I meet here often live, eat and go to places so seperated from the locals. How can you engage with a country if you dont meet the locals? People are often scared of the un-known and of things that are different from what you are used to. Just a few weeks ago I met a couple from abroad that were so impressed that we walked in the streets here and that we sometimes took the local transports. They had read that its very dangerous here and that you need to think about security at all times. This could not be more wrong. And I would blame some parts of it on media, only covering the negative aspect on African countries, but also on ourselves. You have to come here and experience to know how it really is. Of course you have to be smart and use common sense. But you have to do that everywhere and bad people you can find in every country you go to. So start engage in conversation with the man that sells bananas in the street, go to the tin-shacks restaurants where the locals go and taste their delicious food and take the piki piki (motorcycle) or matatu (buses) to places. Try it and you will meet wonderful locals, make new friends and experience the real Kenya.
Over and out! And lala salama (good night in swahili).