Shalin 2015

Volunteers without borders: grabbing the opportunities to learn

Volunteers without borders: grabbing the opportunities to learn
25 nov 2015

Time flies and so do we. In the beginning of November Me (AK) and Elsa decided to open a new chapter in our book.  We, said our goodbyes to Dar es Salaam and Tanzania, and headed towards west to face new challenges we had picked in Nairobi, in the September conference on innovation and incubation in Agriculture. We left our dear home for our future and new volunteers who would take care of the GOIG work and continue working with Vikuruti farm. IMG_20151106_121235

Our journey started from Dar on Friday afternoon when we gathered all our secular property and stepped into an old but very vivid train. For 50 hours we travelled through the wilds of Tanzania; from Dar to Mwanza, through Dodoma, Tabora, Shinyanga and many other smaller villages. We saw all the wonderful forms of the nature; amazing landscapes, rumbling thunder storms, beautiful sunsets and bright night skies with hundreds of shooting stars. 


Breaks at small train stations in the middle of the wild, cockroach hunting in our sleeping cabin and standing out of the restaurant car windows examining the passing views filled our days. During the last night, we got to experience the arrival of a newborn human life along the corridor of the train and experienced Africa at its purest.


On Monday morning we continued our journey from Mwanza and took a bus round Lake Victoria. After spending a night in the beautiful town of Bukoba, finally on Tuesday, we crossed the border and entered Uganda. New country, new habits. Months in Tanzania and Kenya had taught us to notice even the smallest differences between these East African countries, which in many ways share the similar culture. Food sold on the street was different, people more reserved and everyone speaking either English or their tribal languages, no use for our Swahili skills here. Another bus took us to Mbarara, the main town of western Uganda. In the town of agriculture, surrounded by hills, fields and green nature, we are going to spend at least next few months.


After settling down, and familiarizing ourselves with the area, we started our work at EHC, Excel Hort Consult Ltd. EHC is one of the cooperation partners to Shalin, and concentrates on developing agribusiness by focusing on the improvement of agriculture value chain as well as by creating agribusiness innovation and incubation centers throughout eastern Africa. By working with the marketing and communication of the company, we are learning new skills of development work in a corporate environment. Our days are filled with standard working hours, alternation of sunshine and heavy rains, cooking, cleaning; basic everyday life. This is our home for now.



I’m AK, Finnish lady, traveling with my amazing two year old daughter. I am infinitely curious and tend to see the silver lining in every situation. The dream of saving the World little by little (and maybe myself in the meanwhile) has brought me to Africa again. I have a degree in Sustainable Development and now I’m completing my master’s studies in Communication for Development at University of Malmö. I’ve spent one year in East Africa doing my internships at first with Forestry Training Institute in Arusha (Tanzania), then in Thika (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) with Shalin. Currently I’m based in Mbarara (Uganda), and work in communication and marketing with EHC, Excel Hort Consult Ltd, a partner of Shalin. During my stay I’m doing research for my master’s thesis about stakeholder communication within development projects. I’ve also been assisting Out of Africa Film Festival with communication and marketing as well as done bit everything here and there.


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