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On Tuesday, we came back from another field visit. This time, we went to evaluate a humanitarian project by Grace Community Development Nepal (GCDN) for earthquake effected families in Singpal area. Two staffs from the government evaluated the project and collected some data. That area was one of the most affected area in Shinduli district by the 2015 earthquake. All the houses were destroyed and all families were badly affected. GCDN had a rehabilitation project after the earthquake and also provided tin sheets to every families for temporary shelters. They provided 24 pieces tin sheets per family so that it would be enough to build roof and walls for a temporary shelter. We went there to visit the area on last Monday, it was good to see that most families seems to have recovered again from the incident. Many families has already build a new “proper” house again and some of them are in the process of building a new house. Still, we could see some lefties from the earthquake in some places. The government interviewed the house owners about the project and how it has helped them.


Me and Cecilia were there as pure intern, to learn and see what the organisation has done in that area. It felt good to see that the villagers has received help from the organisation and that it has helped them to recover again. A rehabilitation aid is also very important as the earthquake not only affected people materially and physically but also emotionally. I was again very happy by the work of GCDN, that they really provided what the villagers actually needed at that time. I hope you also learned something new from this blog post and I wish you a nice weekend.

//Julee

We arrived at Singpal.

Photo by Cecilia E.

@ The first village

Lefties from earthquake

A little boy playing by himself

Mazes field

A cup of cofee and some suger cane

The whole team

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I want to share with you a favourite song at the moment. I have always liked this song, since the first time I heard it. I listened to it again a few days ago and the song became totally alive again. It comforts me and gives me strength. I hope you like it too. The song is by Worship central.

Enjoy! :)

"All my days are secure in Your promise

Never standing alone You're the Truth,

You're the Life, You're my future Jesus,

You made a way

I'm alive in the Love that You give me

Free to dance once again

You will lead me from glory to glory

Jesus, You made a way

You are the way

You are the way

Lost and dead, but Your love came to find me

Jesus, You are the way

Jesus, the only way"


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We came back to Kathmandu last Friday evening and on our way back we went to visit a historical place where the Nepalese army defeated the British army. On Saturday, we went to Buddha Stupa in Kathmandu and had lunch there. Last week, we also got a visit from our organisation in Sweden so it was really nice to hang out all together. It was also our friend Maya's birthday so we also celebrated her. After Buddha Stupa, we went to Thamel touristy area and it was really nice to walk around the area during night time. For dinner, they had planned a surprise dinner for us the interns and for Maya at a very good restaurant. I had medium rare New York steak which was really tasty. ;)

Enjoy the pictures! :)

//Julee

Photo: Cecilia E.

Photo by Cecilia E. │With Birthday girl, Maya

Photo: Cecilia E.

@ Buddha Stupa, Kathmandu

Photo: Buddhi S.

Photo: Buddhi S.

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Beside from our teaching lessons at the two literacy centres, we also had time to do other things. Between our two lessons, we visited a boarding school at Hirding several times. The co-founder of the boarding school is pastor at Hirding Grace church and he invited us to visit the school and he asked us if we could contribute with anything for the students. We had outdoors activities with them two times, which they really enjoyed. They don't ave any sport during school time, they only use to play during break times so they really appreciated that we could play some game with them during school time. I also had two computer lessons with the fifth class with they also really enjoyed. They have computer subject but the school doesn't have any computer so most of the students has never tried to use a computer before. They were very happy and fascinated by what they could do with computer.


Everyone had the opportunity to write their names in computer and I also let them tried the most basic things like, copy and paste, to change font and size and to change colours. They also tried Paint programme and they really liked it. They wanted me to do more computer lessons with them but I couldn't do that because of electricity problem and also because my computer is so old. In the village, they usually have power shortage during day time and my computer always ran out of battery after one hour so it was impossible to have computer lesson when that happened. However, I really enjoyed the two times I had the chance to teach them about computer. We also visited them when they had general knowledge lesson, which was interesting because it was about Harry Potter and they had no idea about Harry Potter. Luckily, Cecilia is a big fan of Harry Potter and I also had watch all Harry Potter movies so we could helped the teacher and students with what to answer.


We also visited some of our students/attendants at their work and some of them to their homes. We also became very close to our host family because we spent a lot of time with them and they took care of us every day. I am so grateful for our time in the village and that I had the chance to get to know more nepali people. I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

With love

Julee

@ Boarding school

@ Talent show

Before sunrise

Guest house

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My main task as an intern here in Nepal is to teach about human rights, a subject that is very close to heart. During the past two weeks, we went to our first teaching trip to Hirding and Hayutar. I don’t have any degree in teaching, neither have I any professional experience on teaching so it was a very new experience for me. We were in the village for almost two weeks and we had a total of 9 days lessons during that time. It was an amazing experience to teach about human rights because it was something that was totally new for them, something that they never heard of before. Some of them have heard of human rights; that we all are equal. That was all they knew about human rights.


Most of the attendants are adult people who never had a chance go to school when they were young, which is against their human rights. We also had some young attendants between 12-15 years old who doesn't afford to go to school because of economic problem. According to the universal declaration of human rights, article 26; everyone has the right to education. Imagine how you would feel if you could not write or read, when almost everything is based on written language. Also, imagine how your life would be like if you never had a chance to go to primary school. What happened to our attendants is that it became difficult for them to participate in political affair for example. They told us that politicians use to come to their homes during election time (which is now in the whole Nepal) in order to gain their votes. But they told me that they didn’t know how to talk to them or how to ask them question because they don’t understand politics. The consequence is that the villager give vote to political parties without even really knowing what they are voting.


The most common issue for our attendants of being uneducated is that their opportunities to choose profession become very limited. Most of them are women and farmers. We had only one male attendant and he has a family sewing business. He joined the class in hope that it would help him improve his business. Cecilia though them about Basic English and personal hygiene and I though them about human rights. I divided universal declaration of human rights in 6 section with 5 articles per section. I thought them about each article in a very simple and easy way, also I gave many examples related to Nepali culture as well as some examples from Sweden and from Myanmar.


My experiences and knowledge from my childhood in Myanmar has really helped me to understand the Nepali culture and it has also been very useful when teaching about human rights to them. My education in social science and economics has also helped me to understand the articles as it include everything from legal and political rights to our rights to work. I am very happy that I had the opportunity to teach them about this important subject and that they now know about their human rights. I have also lived without knowing about my human rights and knowing them gave me confidence and perspective of life. I hope it will do the same to them. They also told me that they would teach their children about what they have learned which made me very happy to hear.


It is such an amazing feeling to know that I had the opportunity to be a part of their process on learning about their human rights. I feel honoured to know that my teaching in human rights will contribute to make a difference in their life, to a positive direction. Because now they know that they have exactly the same rights and value as everyone else in the world. Now, they also understand that no matter which tribe they belong or how low their education is, they have the same rights as everyone else. I also want to remind you that where ever you may live or who you might be, we all share the same rights as human being. If you don’t know about your human rights or insecure about what they are, then I encourage you to search for “universal declaration of human rights” and you will find out all of them.

With love

Julee

Photo by Cecilia E. │@ Hayutar literacy centre

Photo by Maya S. │@ Hayutar, the participents with brother Sabin and Maheshs

Photo by Maheshs. │@ Hirding literacy centre

Photo by Maheshs. │@ Hirding literacy centre

Photo by me │ @ Hayutar

Photo by Sabin S. │@ Hayutar

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Living cost in Nepal is very cheap compare to the living standard in Sweden. We live in an apartment at Champpi, Lalitpur which is very big and fine in the Nepali general living standard. The building of our apartment has a total of 4 floors and we have access to the top two floors of the building. In the first floor, we have the living room, 3 big bedrooms and bathroom, in the top floor we have a big kitchen with fridge and a big balcony with a view over the rice fields and the Himalaya. We have a pastor family as our neighbours who lives in the same building as our apartment. There is a small grocery shop very close to our house and it is very cheap to buy from there. Everything that is locally produced are very cheap in general and imported stuffs are much more expensive.

Pictures from left and right from Cecilia E. │ @ Our apartment

Photo by Cecilia E. │ @ Grace Comunity Development Nepal (GCDN) Office at Lalitpur

We use to take local bus to work which takes about 30 minutes and it usually cost 20 rupees per person, in Swedish krona it’s only nearly 2kr. When we are at work we always buy food which is also very cheap. In a small local restaurants you will received a smaller portion of food which is perfect for lunch and it usually cost under 100 rupees with tea. In a bigger Nepali restaurants, the food usually cost from 150 up to 500 rupees which is still a very good price. You will receive a bigger portion of food and Wi-Fi is almost always available in this kind of fancier restaurants.

When we go to field visits or travel for work, we usually stay at guest house or hotels. In some of local guest houses you only need to pay for your food and the accommodations are free. But then you must be prepared to live in the local living standard which is far away from hotel standards. If you are afraid of spiders then local guesthouses are not recommended as spiders are very common in this kind of guesthouses. We stayed at a very nice hotel at Jaleshwar in a two beds room and it cost us 2500 rupees after tax for one night, exclusive breakfast. In Swedish krona, it’s not even 250 krona.

@ Pawan Mithila Hotel

Photos by Cecilia E. │ @ A guesthouse

The price of tourist attractions differs a lot from place to place. At one of my favourite tourist attraction “Garden of Dreams”, the entrant fees only cost 200 rupees for foreigners and it was also around 250-300 rupees when we visited the Monkey temple. The most expensive entrant fee was when we visited Chandra Giri Hills; it cost 22 US dollar for foreigner and it was because we had to go up to the top of the hill with a cable car. Entrant fee at Durbar square, Bakthapur cost us 1500 rupees per person (ca 150 kr) which is also a very popular tourist attraction.


I also want to mention that Nepal is a very safe country compare to many other countries, the people are very kind and helpful. For example, in local buses people who have a seat place would always ask you to hold your bags if you are standing and if any mother with a child enters a crowded bus, her baby would always get a seat on somebody’s knee and that person would take good care of the baby. I have never seen or heard someone stealing or anything like that during our stay here in Nepal. You should still be always careful of course.

@ Garden of Dreams

Photo by Cecilia E. │ @ Durbar Square, Bakthapur

I hope this will be helpful if you are planning to visit Nepal. I think Nepal is a very beautiful country that deserves more tourists attentions so that tourism can contribute to development and growth of the country’s economy. It is a great place to visit if you love hiking, outdoor activities, nature, food and culture. Nepal is very rich in culture life with a lots of festivals during the year and also they have several cultural heritages around the country that are unique and beautiful. I am looking forward to explore more of Nepal during this upcoming months. If you have good tips on places to visit here in Nepal, please let me know. :D

With love

//Julee

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In the pictures below, you can see how the roads to a village can look like. It is quite an adventure to ride a car in this kind of roads. 😄


All the pictures are taken by me.

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In this post, I will tell you more about our visits to post literacy centres. First, we went to visit a project centre in Hirding village which was about 15 minutes’ walk from where we stayed. They start the class at 6 o’clock in the morning to 8 am in order for the attendants to be able to work after the class. During our visit, we had a chance to see how they are doing. At the end of our meeting we had an introduction session where the attendants could share their stories of why they are attending literacy classes. Most of the attendants were women and it was only one man in the class. The most common story they told us was that they never had a chance to go to school when they were young. The reason is because of their gender.

The traditional mind set in Nepal for many parents has been not to send their daughters to school because they thought women belongs to their husbands and therefore should not be invested in their education. It was heart breaking to hear their stories and to see their eyes fills with water. None of them said how they felt about their situation and how unequal it is but I could see it in their eyes how they felt. To have heard their stories, I was so inspired by their willingness to learn and that fact that they are giving their time to attend the literacy classes. Starting from next Monday, we will begin our teaching classes with them. I really hope that I will be able to empower them and strengthen their confidence so that they will be able to live their life with dignity.

We also visited two other centres and they told us the same story. There were also some young attendants under 18 years old and I am really looking forward to get to know them better. We will also have classes with them when we finish our project in Hirding village. Both centres welcome us with beautiful flower garlands. One funny thing is, where ever I go in Nepal, people always think I am a Nepali and they find it so difficult to understand that I am not a Nepali. They always reply to me “but you look just like a Nepali” haha. :D I don’t even try to say that I come from Sweden anymore, I always says that I am from Myanmar to save some time, haha :D

Photo credit: Maya M. │@ Bastipur Hayutar

@ Bastipur Hayutar

@Koltar

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I am back in Kathmandu and it’s time for a new post. 😃 Last week, we went for another trip to visit literacy project centres in Shindohli district. We were mostly in Ghynglekh rural municipality. Grace Community Development Nepal (GCDN) has 3 different post literacy project centres in this municipality. We stayed two nights in Hirding village and one night in Rampur village. This trip has been the craziest, the most emotional and amazing trip I have done in Nepal so far. The villages are placed up in the mountain, which in so many ways reminded me of my childhood village in Chin state, Myanmar.

The hills, the smells, the roads, the people and the nature, everything reminded me of my childhood. To experience those memories again after more than 10 years in another country was really emotional for me. I wish I could experience that with someone who would understands how it feels like. I was happy and grateful to have the opportunity to experience all those things that reminds me of my childhood, but at the same time it was a sorrow not to experience it in my home country. It took me a few hours to process everything, which I did in the car on our way to Ghynglekh. Once I have processed everything, I could really enjoy our trip which was awesome.

I got to try the local dry fish which was delicious, it tasted just like in my childhood memory. It is harvest time for rice fields everywhere in Nepal and I have been wanting to help the farmers to harvest rice. Just because it’s been so long ago since I did it the last time and during this trip I finally got the chance to do that. Methods use for harvesting as well as for plating are exactly the same as we did in Burma so I could still remember everything. Next Sunday, we will go back to the Hirding village and this time we will stay there for 2 weeks which I am really excited about. One thing that I am not excited about is the road trip because roads to the village are terrible and when the roads are better the traffic are crazy instead.

All the pictures are taken by me if no names are written in below.

Photo credit: Maya M. │@ Bastipur Hayutar

Photo credit: Maya M. │@ Hirding

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Last week, we also did a lot of fun stuffs after work so I want to share some of them with you in this post. On Thursday evening the Rice Factory owner at Siraha took us to the chhath festival. It is a Hindu festival for worshiping the sun, which they did by offering fruits and other sweet things. The women went down to the stream and payed their offer from there with their face toward the sun. They did that during sunset on Thursday evening and again during sunrise on Friday morning. We went to two different festival places and all the village members came there as well. All the girls and women were waring traditional Sari or Lahenga and they look so beautiful in it. It was a lot of people with lights and music so we had a lot of fun.

In the second festival place, they had a show with different music and dancers which was really nice to watch. On Friday after work, we also went to visit a dam which was the main source for the monsoon flood and the interesting thing is that Indian government has the key to the gate doors of that dam. When the monsoon reign came they didn’t open enough doors in order to protect Indian from the flood. As a consequence a huge area of Nepal got affect by the flood. It was very interesting to have visited that place and when we arrived to the dam it was already dark so we couldn’t see much but it was very beautiful with all the lights. We went back to Kathmandu on Saturday and on Sunday we went to visit Nargarkot and Durbar Square in Bhaktapur area. Durbar Square is like a palace with a lot of beautiful details in the architectures so I really enjoyed it. I will share all the pictures down below so I hope you like it. 😊

Photo credit: Buddhi S. @ Chhath festival
Photo credit: Silas │@ Church Photo credit: Buddhi S. │@ Nagarkot
The whole team │ @ Siraha
Photo credit: Cecilia E. @ Saptakoshi
@ Saptakoshi bridge
Photo credit: Buddhi S. │ @ Durbar Square, Bhaktapur
Photo credit: Cecilia E. │ @ Durbar Square
Photo credit: Buddhi S. │ @ Nagarkot

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Today is the beginning of a new week, I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. Last week was full of activities for me and it is hard to know where to start, but I will try my best to explain it to you. 😊


The original plan was to visit 3 different literacy project centres in different villages from last Wednesday to Sunday but we had to be flexible and visit other project instead. I think I have mentioned it before that Grace Community Development Nepal (GCDN) is currently focusing on two projects; humanitarian project and human right project. Nepal has been affected by several natural disasters such as landslide, earthquake and of monsoon flood. The purpose of the humanitarian project is to help people who are affected by those kind of natural disasters. Recently, during this monsoon period several places in Nepal has been affected by a heavy monsoon flood. According to Aljazeera report, more than six million people has been affected and over 48 thousand homes have been destroyed in Nepal. The GCDN priorities has been to provide support to the most affected families who haven’t received any help from the government or other NGO.s. For some week ago about 200 household in Siraha has already received the relief materials but due to the festival season over more than 50 household could not receive the necessities which was provide to them. So this week, we changed our plan in order to provide support to the remaining families. It was such an interesting experience.


Siraha is in the southern part of Nepal and it took us about 7 hours’ drive from Kathmandu. We started our trip on Wednesday. We arrived at Siraha on Thursday before lunch so we went straight to a Rise Factory to put some order. After lunch, we went to visit the affected area. We could see that there were still some water left between houses from the flood, also it was important to see how they lived. So far, in my experience most Nepali people live in concreate buildings with some exceptions where people live in tin sheet houses. However the most affected families in Siraha area living in the simplest houses without full walls. Also the floor are built on the ground which I think is the reason why they are mostly affected by flood as the buildings are so low. We went there to collect the missing names on the families whom houses has been fully destroyed. Shortly after when we arrived, all the village members came to us and wanted their names to be written even though their houses has not been destroyed. They claimed to us that they also needed help and that they are also poor. Many of them couldn’t understand why only some of them would get the support, so they started to argue with us. It was such a difficult situation because it was impossible for our organisation to help everyone as so many people were affected by the flood. The limitation has to be made to support only the most affected families.


When we finished collecting names we went to see the chairperson of Red Cross in that area to discuss how we should handle the situation. Later, we also went to the police station to discuss the matter with them. After the meeting, the conclusion was made that the relief support would be provided to 50 households according to the original data collection. On Friday morning we prepared the relief items; 100kg of rice, 2 packages of soaps, a package of salt and soy beans, 5kg of beaten rice and 1kg of lentils would be distributed to each household. When we finished the preparation we went to the polis station and distributed the items from there. The policemen were so helpful and so friendly which was nice so we could feel safe without worrying that something would happened to us. There were of course many people who were denied because they were not in the most affected list but it went well without any bigger conflict.


I was so impressed by GCDN on how they managed the situation and the fact that they are having a good relationship with the police officers and with other organisations. The chairperson of Red Cross also told us that GCDN project in Siriha is very appreciated by the people because they are providing a full package of items that would last for nearly 4 months. He told us that, some organisation are only distributing a very small amount of items which did not last for a long. During this trip, I could also understand in a better way really how Grace Comunity Development Nepal is organising a project and how they are working with local people for the best outcomes. I think it is also very wise that we bought all the items from local businessmen because in that way the organisation also contribute to the local economy which I think is also very important. The conclusion of this trip is that it has been the most instructive and enlightening experience. We also had a lot of fun during this trip so I will write about it in another post. 😃


May God bless you all!

//Julee

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The first week in Nepal has been all about learning how things works here and to adapt into this new lifestyle. It feels good to know that we can now manage to take local busses to office and to churches. We have also learnt how and where to go grocery shopping. We often eat lunch at restaurants and for dinner we cook by ourselves. The most famous Napali dish is called Momo which is dumplings. I have tried 3 different types of momos and I really enjoy eating momos. There are also many Korean restaurants here in Kathmandu area so we also tried a Korean restaurant near to the Monkey Temple. I really like Korean food so it is nice to be able switch between Korean and Nepali dishes.


Last friday we went to visit Chandra Giri Hill which lies on the Kathmandu Valley and it is 2551 metres above sea level. The Swedish highest mountain, Kebnekaise, is only 2097.5 metres above sea level and it was really cool to be so high up on a hill. It was a bit scary to look down from the cable car because in some areas, the cable road was placed very high up from the ground. The view from the top of the hill was so beautiful even though the view shifted all the time because of the clouds. On Saturday we went to local church service close to our office. It was interesting because women and men sits separately and we couldn’t understand anything that they said. :D But I could definitely feel their love for God and it was nice to see that both men and women are participating during church service.


Here in Nepal most people work from Sundays to Fridays so that’s why they have church services on Saturdays. The staffs’ members at our office are free both on Saturdays and Sundays which is nice. We have heard of some international churches here in Nepal, after some google research we found one international church in Lalitpur area so we decided to try that church and so we did. It took us about one hour to find that church because none local people at that area knew about this church. At last we finally found the church and when we arrived the sarmon has already begun. After the church service, we tried to say hello to as much people as possible and we made friend with a Romanien friend who invited us to her place for lunch. The church was full of people when we arrived so we had to sit outside. It was interesting to see that there are so many foreigners that are working here in Nepal. Many of them are here with their families and children.

I have to go now for lunch so I will write to you again soon. :)

//Julee

Korean food; Bibimbap and Kimchi stew
Photo credit: Deepak T. │ @ tiny local bus.
@ Chandra Giri Hill

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Me and Cecilia, we finally arrived to Nepal this Tuesday, the 17th of October. This is the first time I am returning to an Asian country after nearly 10 years now so I was very moved when I stepped out of the plane. I tried not to cry because I was surrounded by too many people. It is such a good feeling to be back in an Asian environment. We are staying at a guest house in a village of Lalitpur. The place is surrounded by rice fields and hills which reminds me a lot of my home village in Burma. When the sky is clear we can also see the Himalaya from our place. Kathmandu city is very crowded and very busy which to me is a mixed of Kualalumpur, (Malaysia) and Yangon (Burma).

We had the introduction at the office the day after we arrived and now we are free from work from today until Sunday. We have been greeted with such warmth welcome and kindness. Our friend from the office has been guiding us today to explore Kathmandu city. We went to visit two of the most famous tourist attractions; the Monkey temple and Garden of dreams. Tomorrow, we will go up to the Kathmandu Valley. I am very happy that we have been given this opportunity to explore Nepal before the seriousness begins. Here are some pictures from today;

Kathmandu city
Photo credit: Deepak T. │ @ Monkey temple
Photo credit: Cecilia E. │ @ Monkey temple
Photo credit: Deepak T. │ @ Garden of Dreams
A view from our apartment @ Chhampi

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A calling is describe as; ”astrong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially whenaccompanied by conviction of divine influence.” [1]

For many years I have felt this strong feeling that I need to gosomewhere else in the world to give my time to serve and help people who livein underdeveloped countries. Every time I see videos or articles aboutchildren, young people, women or elders who suffers from poverty, injustice orinequity in anyway makes me cry inside. Sometimes, I cry out if I am alone. In away it’s like I can feel their pain and sufferings which makes me sad. It alsomakes me think how injustice life is as there are so many people in the world,working as hard as I do, never getting the same opportunities as me living inSweden. So I dreamt of making a change someday and to be a part of making achange in people’s lives. I never knew that it was a calling until the end oflast year when I felt more and more that I must to do this. I thought if Idon’t do this before I start my career I might not have time in the future so Idecided to fulfil this calling this year.

I am so grateful that my parents shared their belief with me ever sinceI was a child. Today, I know that it is very difficult to accept God especiallyin Sweden. My faith in God has helped me so much through everything in my life,both in difficulties and in joy. There is no other feeling like experiencingthe presence of God; you feel grateful, your heart is warm and crying out ofjoy. I wish everyone would experience that someday. To be a believer is aconstantly choice in my everyday life. In Sweden, I have experienced that manypeople are afraid to let their friends know they are Christians in fear thatthey would be judged. My faith in God plays a central role in my life and Inever want to feel ashamed of it.

One of the best thing to be a Christian is that I have brothers andsisters in Christ all over the world, in only three days I will meet many ofthem in Nepal and I am very excited. Every time, I shared about my belief withsomeone who also is a believer I always feel a close bond instantly, as if thatperson is my sister or brother. That is a wonderful feeling when you meet someonenew. This was one of the reason why I wanted to do this trip with a Christianbased organisation. I am a member of a Pentecostal church in Luleå and I amvery happy that my church, together with PMU is sending me to this mission tripto Nepal. PMU is a part of the Pentecostal movements in Sweden which focuses ondevelopment. They have partners in 35 countries all over the world, includingNepal and I am very happy that they are helping to fulfil my calling. I am surethat God has something to show me in Nepal that I cannot understand from Swedenand I am thrilled to find out what it is.

With love,

Julee

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Today, I want to share with you something special. For those of you who doesn't know, I got engaged this summer and we are planning to get married next summer. 😃 So last week, we did a pre wedding photoshoot as I love Autumn colors. I also wanted Chin tradition to be apart of our wedding so both me and my fiancé wore Chin traditional costume (laithil). It felt very special to know that my mother has made the top and the scarf that I wore, and that everything is hand woven. I remember that my mother made them when I was a little girl and I like to wear them only for special occasions.❤

I hope you enjoy this post, have a nice weekend!

//Julee


Photo credits: Alexander G │Camera asistant: Ahliang Z.

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It's finally October, which mean that it is about just two weeks until I am going to Nepal, so excited! :) Also, I think it is time for a new blog post. This time I want to share with you my thoughts on another subject which is very close to my heart and that is education. I have realized that education is one of the important key to personal freedom. Knowledge can give us the power to rule ourselves and to be able to understand how things work in a society which is very important. It is hard to play a game without knowing the rules of that game and I think that is what education is doing; teaching us the rules of life’s game. School has always been important to me but many times I couldn’t understand the meaning of learning some certain subjects or courses as they felt useless to me. Today, I can understand that education gives us so much more than knowledge. I believe it also gives us the power and the ability to rule our mind.

My pray and hope is that everyone (no matter where they live or how old they are) will have the opportunity and possibility to study. According to UNESCO, of all children in the world there are still 10 percent of children that are not enrolled in compulsory school. 780 million of adults in the world doesn’t have the ability to read nor write. [1] I truly believe that education is one of the long-term solution for development and I am very happy that the organizations that I will be working with, both in Sweden (PMU) and in Nepal (GCDN) are supporting education. My partner organization in Nepal are working with post literacy project which I think is awesome. Education is equally important for both adults and for children. If you want to learn more about other projects that these organizations are working with, please visit their respective webpage in the links below:

https://pmu.se/en/

http://gcdn.org.np/

I wish you a wonderful Autumn!

//Julee

[1] (http://www.unesco.se/utbildning/statistik-om-utbildning/)

📷 by Julee

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Today I want to tell you more about my internship programme and the reason behind why I decided to join the internship programme with PMU. Let me start by introducing a little bit about myself. I was born in Myanmar(Burma) and spent most of my childhood there(until I a was 12 years old) with my family. Since I live in Sweden today, Myanmar is mostly known as Burma which is why I will use Burma when referring to my home country here in my blog. I grew up in a small village with approximately 250 household in Chin state. In my village we had no electricity, no phone or TV at home. We lived a simple life by growing our own food and animals such as pigs and chickens. We had our own fruits at our garden that we could pick at any time. I had many good memories from my home country and I long for the day that I can go back to visit my relatives. Like I told my friends I would cry only by seeing my home country from the plane of joy.


Even though I had many good memories from my childhood, there are also many things from my culture that bothers me today. In Burma we had to pay school fee in order to attend school and I remember I always enjoyed going to school. During summer breaks I would to long for the school to start again. Because of the high school fee I knew many children couldn’t afford to go to school. Fortunately, that was never the case for me. In my village it was a norm in the society that female members should take care of household duties. It was shameful for women not to give birth to a son as a son is an heir to the family and the one who “carry on the family”. A women was seen as a property, meaning that she would no longer legally belong to the family once she got married, also many men treat their wives as their property. They think they should decide and control her life. She should be obedience to her husband and treat him nicely. She should not leave her husband unless he told him to leave because if she does her family must pay back her dowry, which in our tradition is given by the man's family to his wife’s family. Normally her family would not afford to pay the dowry back if she leave her husband.


Since I am a daughter I was always told not to trust men if they flirt with you because they could say anything without actually mean it. Once a girl believe in his sweet lies she could be pregnant without marriage, which was a nightmare for every parent/mother in Burma. I have seen girls who got pregnant during their school time and they had to quit school as they became a mother because they now have to take care of their children. If her man doesn’t marry her then it is seen as “shameful” and I have never seen any young mother who continued their study to finish their education. My mother use to tell me that no matter how good you do at school if you get pregnant before you finish your study than your life will basically be over as a women. Any of this would happen to a man, nobody would blame him as much as they blame a woman and he could still carry on with his life without risking all the chances in his life. The men in our society had so much more rights and power. There are so many unwritten rules on how a girl/woman should behave, how she should speak and what she cannot do. Even small little thing such as during a folk gathering only men would sit at a higher chair while even an old lady must sit at the floor. A women should not drink alcohol or smoke because if she do she wouldn't be seen as a proper fine woman. The list could go on and on. What I am pointing out here is about the norm we had in my home country, it doesn’t mean that this was the case for every single person.


Growing up with this type of society it was a complete shock for me when my family and I moved to Sweden when I was 14 years old. The first connection that I had with the Swedish society was at school where both male and female students would smoke openly, where both male and female drinks alcohol without any big deal. The longer I stayed in Sweden the more I understood about the Swedish society and about how gender equality differ from my home country. In Sweden, both men and women help each other with taking care of their children and with household duties, most importantly women are not treated as a property or with a lower value nor lower rights. Young mothers can still continue to go to school and doesn't have to give up their dreams in the same way. The more I saw of the Swedish society the more I realized how unjustified women were treated in my home country. When I lived there I thought it was normal the way things were.

At high school I started to think I must give back someday. There are so many people in the world who doesn’t afford to go to school and who can’t learn about their rights. As I would finish my study at university this summer of 2017 I thought I must go as a volunteer to make a change in a ny way that I can. I knew that PMU Sweden (https://pmu.se/en/) was sending young people between 20 to 30 years old to different countries to the many projects that they are working with. So I decided to apply for their internship programme which is for at least 4 months. Luckily I was accepted to attend the programme. In about less than one month I am going to Nepal to help the local organization with teaching about human rights. It has been a long process but I know it will be worth it.


This trip means so much to me in so many ways, it is not just about my willingness to help other to improve their lives situation. It is also about expressing my gratitude of my past, to remember the simple life that we lived and not to get blind in my new life as a Swedish citizen.I am so grateful to all the experiences and perspective that I have gained from my childhood. They made a strong impression in my life every day and taught me what is important in life. I am now looking forward to learn everything from Nepal and hopefully I will be able to make a difference in the lives of Nepali people.


This post has become very long now. I hope you enjoyed reading my story and please keep in mind that what I have written here is based on my own perspective and experiences. Thank you!


//Julee


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I am very excited and nervous to now have a blog of my own. It is scary in a way to open another door into my life, but I hope it will be worth it. I have been thinking to start a blog one day, but I never really felt the need to start it earlier. The reason why I decided to start a blog now is because I am joining an internship programme with PMU Sweden. During and after our internship programme, we are suppose to share our journey and experiences through different platforms, so I thought now is the perfect time to start a blog. :) Which mean that during this upcoming four months, I will be sharing my experiences and thoughts from this trip. However, my intention with this blog is to create a personal blog which mean that I will continue to use this blog even when I finished this intern programme. I also want to apologize in advance for my misspelling or incorrect grammar as English is not my native language. I believe the best way to learn is to face the challenge!


I will explain more about my internship in another post so stay tuned! :)


//Julee


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