This tuesday Erika and Axel from Architects without borders and the Design team of St Catherine Sweden visited the ABAR for the Swedish Architect association to talk about their work as “Helping architects”. Of course they talked a bit about the rest of the organisation too and the audience seemed interested and had some questions afterwards.

If you are one of the audience that din’t manage to aks your question don’t hesitate to contact katrin@stcatherinesweden.org. Maybe you are even interested in working together with us?

You can also like and follow our Facebook page if you want to stay updated!

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Erika Bergström and Axel Thorén presented their master thesis based on the work they did in Muhanga this autumn. The reviews where incredibly positive and we hope their work will be spread to many others, not only landscape architects.

We are also very happy to still have them in our St Catherine Design team even though Erika has moved to Gothenburg for an internship and Axel continues developing his design knowledge in other courses.

Their thesis handled children´s space in the Ugandan culture but also raised questions in a bigger perspective. During the work they also developed a student representative group in the St Catherine organisation that we wish to continue keeping contact with through the designprocess. These children practised both drawing plans and sections and building models during the work, which is very good for us to communicate.

St Catherine Sweden says thank you for great and important work!

10 days left to take off now! I’m returning to Lund and hopefully the last pieces will come together before my and Carlos’ planes leaves Copenhagen. Carlos goes first, the 1st and I 5th. 

I’ve been working on an uppgraded version of the website with my cousin so now we actually have our own theme called St catherine. It will probably not come in use before I leave but everything good is worth to wait for…

/Katrin

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We are superhappy that Fortnox have decided to sponsor our autogiroprogram. It means we can finally start collecting monthly donations from all you generous supporters and every krona, dollar or Ugandan shilling will go straight to the project. Everything will soon be set up!

Short info about Fortnox a company that offers different kinds of administrative software solutions run over internet. Fits for example companies and organisations like ours since we work from different places. Find out more on their website www.fortnox.se.

Carlos and Katrin presented seperate examples of what we could bild as the first stage of the Resource Centre in Muhanga.

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It made everyone in the group realize how important it is to secure the steep slope from mudslides when the rainy season comes. The discussion really took off and we look forward to start working closer together with watersystems, construction and designing spaces for the functions needed.

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This Friday we took part in the day of landscape architecture in Alnarp. Katrin held a presentation in only 6 minutes and 40 seconds about our work, mostly focusing on the design team’s work with  Participatory Design and how we built a swing together this summer.

St Catherine Sweden’s  first boardmeeting of 2014 just ended. Soon our application for becoming a “insamlingstiftelse” will be sent in and we are looking forward to a new year with new achievements. We have received a project plan from the Ugandan organisation. It will be our starting point for our workplan this year.

Christmas times also brought us many donations and we want to thank all of you who chose to share the challenge with us!

More than a week has already passed since I left Muhanga. It’s been an overwhelming week and eventhough a part of me don’t want to I’ve been trying to re-acclimatize to the unafrican way of living. I think I’ve learnt a lot this week from experiencing the contrasts in the opposite direction. I actually feel relaxed from looking at these pictures, reminding me about “home” in Muhanga.

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These pictures are from the second baking-workshop. We tried the jiest-recepies this time. Since it was Kanelbullens Dag in Sweden we made Cinnamon buns, bread buns and, eventhough it’s no jiest, the swedish Kladdkaka (sticky cake). We still have some problems with the oven not getting hot all the way up and everything baked is actually fried from the fire underneath but an expert is consulted for the baking project….

 

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I and Rominah went to the market to sell bags made by three girls working at the project.

 

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Carlos sent some drawings from the Design team in Sweden so with the help from Geoff (guard/gardener at site) and Rominah (administartor behind the camera) we put it up with strings to see if it fit at site. Since it suddenly started to rain we had to finish fast. The next morning I could get help from the kids in school to straighten everything. Now they all know how to measure and make straight angles. Hopefully they can do the same as we develop the design here in Sweden.

 

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Since the children new how to use the measuring tape we put up a stick where they can measure each other and write there names to see how they grow. I’m hoping next time all of them know how long a metre is!

 

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The same Saturday the library was open for everyone as usual. All visiting children drew their future dreams and I’ve brought all the cards to Sweden. They will be our inspiration in the continuing work and hopefully we can do some nice cards we can use in our mission to find fundings…

 

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Before I left a dinner for everyone living and working at the project was a nice way to say Goodbye and see you soon! I also had the opportunity to kill my own food, an achievement I’ve been wanting since I started eating meat again. With great support from Norah (Annes sister) I actually made it all the way to cutting it to pieces and preparing.

 

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Norah, Saviours, Maria, Anne, Rominah, Agatha, Adele and Austine

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These are the people I’ve been eating, sleeping and learnt so much from. I’ve made a fool out of my stupid Mzungu-me so many times but they have always been understanding, helpful and simply incredible!

 

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Since I left in the evening from Kigali, Rwanda I brought Anne, Norah and Eutheluce over the border. Here we are in the garden outside the Genocide Memorial Centre. It was an exhausting day for all of us since Kigali is a much more western cultured city and it was the first time for some of us both to cross the border and being in a museum. It turned out to be a way of showing them a bit of where I come from and I think it was really important to see how they reacted in this atmosphere, after 2 months I reacted the same way to some extent.

A piece of me got africanized and I’m trying my best to forget as little as possible until I go back!

My last days in Muhanga went fast and where full scheduled. I apologize for little reports but the rainy season also brought trouble with electricity and internet.
Now I’m back in Sweden and will start updating you with pictures.
This first is from our design meeting yesterday. We catched up on each other’s work and I brought some Ugandan food I’d prepared just as Anne’s sister thought me. Pocho, chapati and g-nuts!

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Carlos, Richard, Anton and Linn enjoyed the meal.

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/Katrin

Yesterday I returned to Muhanga after two nights in Kabale and a day of Gorilla trekking and some research in town. I’m not going to tell all about my very problematic flight from Zanzibar here.

My plane was full so I had to reschedule in the middle of the night. Slept 3 hours at the hotel and after some negotiating with the people on the airport I was only 4 hours delayed to Kigali. Because I had to call my tourguide Jackson to inform about my delay he moved my from one part of Bwindi (the gorilla national park) to an other I ended up the only one in my group! Unbelievable experience to visit 19 gorillas together with a guide and a guard!

Coming back to Muhanga was an even better experience though. The feeling of coming home in a country so different from my regular home is really something. It makes me start to re-evaluate what is really important in life.

I was also very happy to find a new stove  at site. Anne has invested the balance money from our last stay in this one to start up baking skills practice and to sell the produced cakes to create incomes to the project. Our first try was 4 pizzas and 4 sponge cakes and believe it or not but I actually bought almost all ingredients myself in Kabale. Without any help from Anne!

Even harder to believe might be that I was the teacher in pizzamaking and baking. I felt like I was running a Tv-show when I mixed the ingredients on top of the desks in the library. In front of me I had 4 very concentrated ladies and our guard/gardener Geoff. I think the interest from some parts was mostly in the results…

Pizza was very good! Sponge cakes needs improvements. It is really hard to get the entire oven warm so they where mostly baked from underneath.

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