Netherlands

Interest in Amsterdam - photo and retouch Erik Winther 2013
We have received lots of interest for our work from all types of actors since the academic presentation. It feels good, as we’ve been frustrated so many times – both by the many business opportunities that are just waiting for westerners, and because of the unnecessary inefficiencies in development aid. I’ll tell you about the spin-offs when we get closer to practical details.

Beside the leverage on our message, I think the best kudos came from Swedfund themselves, as they have requested us to continue on the same track on part-time as consultants. Feels like an indirect “well done”.

Interest

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Amsterdam by night - Erik Winther 2012
2013 started on a bridge in central Amsterdam, after the lovely three course dinner we arranged for fourteen persons, and before we entered the club.

Amsterdam has shown itself from its best side, and the days spent there with good-old Liv, Lisa (our great host), Karin and Lukas were really nice and relaxing. A beautiful city with lots and lots of tiny but ever so cute boutiques, out of which ‘360 Volt’ is one of my absolute favourites.

Happy New Year

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Eleven hours after I said goodbye to Lisa in Amsterdam, my Finnish Korea-colleague Lena arrive in Linköping. Great to meet her again! She came to visit Jonas, Mattias and me since it will take time before the four of us will be on the same continent again.

Because of the guys’ upcoming exams and my thesis not getting completed on it’s own (strange, isn’t it?); time was sparse. But with restaurant-lunches and Lena cooking dinners for us, we all managed to share tons of laughs and have a great time. Welcome back any time, and see you in Österbotten this summer :)

Moomin-Lena

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Travelled distance
33 000 kilometers.

Privacy
The two of us have spent around 99,7% of the last six weeks in the same place or room as the other (excluding showers and restroom-visits).

Interview-notes
Approximately 140 typed pages of bullet point-summaries. That no one but the two of us will ever see because of secrecy.

Taxi
Roughly 200 trips, out of which we had to write our own receipts in all but three cases in Ghana; apparently nothing they are used to…

Ghanaian ice-cream
The cheapest we had cost 0,5USD, and the most expensive portion-packed (think Nogger) we found was 10USD. No, we did not buy the latter.

Our relation
Was mistaken as a gay couple roughly as often as we were thought of as twins; despite being (only) friends & colleagues.

Conflicts between us
None. Thank you Wille for an unforgettable tour! :)

The trip: Hard facts

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The transfer in Schiphol was eight hours, so we took the metro to Amsterdam Central where my good-old friend Lisa studies this semester. She showed us around in the beautiful city, and made it more than obvious how great the new-years weekend there will become. Thanks and good to see you!

6h in Amsterdam

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Wow, how time flies! Our 48 days in Africa feels more like 4,8 or something. I will miss the bustling street life, the amazing countryside, the friendly people & all new friends, and -of course- the warm climate.

With tons of experiences and more than thirty 1-2 hour long formal interviews in the baggage are there loads of hard facts, tips & trix, dos & don’ts, and concrete business opportunities to process and explain in our upcoming report.

Apart from some samples shared here, the complete set of findings and the full-text report will be published on a separate page. The address isn’t yet decided and I am still working on the design, so it remains a secret. Until we reveal it: Happy Lucia Day and sleep well; I’m off for one last good night in the air condition’s cooling 26°C breeze. Sleep well!

Last night in Africa

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With only three more nights in Africa (for this time!), and a constant inflow of snowstorms to Sweden and Europe is it not possible to ignore anymore: we are facing a temperature drop of 50°C (as of last weekend).

Okay, you might not agree, but I kind of pity us a bit. Especially since I just got a cold from the air-condition despite having it set on 26 degrees, and because of our sightseeing in Amsterdam on Friday, which we are totally not dressed for.

Photo from a short and unexpected rain-cloud, shot from our hotel room with the ocean to the left.

The weather is changing

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The last two days in Linköping have meant temperatures below zero, icy winds and even snowfall. So getting into that plane this morning was not a hard choice! After all, last year made me used to far warmer climates.

KLM flies from Linköping to Nairobi via Schiphol, with the latter route served by 747s. First time I fly in a Jumbo-jet, which despite its size, reputation and individual entertainment-systems has a hard time competing with the much more recent A380-800 that brought me from Seoul to Dubai.

This sunrise was captured in China, but today we saw kind of the same. After which Wille spotted Öresundsbron from an unusual perspective, while we cruised south along Denmark’s east coast.

Departure!

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Week 41 (now)
Linköping – Thesis work, Korean evening and rehab

Week 42
Lund – Thesis work, hello to mom & dad and representation at LTH

Week 43
Stockholm – “Innovation in Action” symposium for the thesis
Linköping, thesis wrap-up, exam and removal of sutures

Week 44-46
Nairobi – Interviewing entrepreneurs/CXOs/governmental officers and safari

Week 47-48
Kigali – Interviewing entrepreneurs/CXOs/governmental officers and look-around

Week 49-50
Accra – Interviewing entrepreneurs/CXOs/governmental officers and water sports
Amsterdam – Hello Lisa!

Week 51
Linköping – Thesis writing

Week 52-1
Lund– Christmas
Amsterdam – New Years Eve

Exciting schedule!

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An early question that had to be addressed was where we were going to call ‘home’ this semester. The decision wasn’t obvious, considering we have our university and supervisor in Linköping, Swedfund’s central office in Stockholm, our opponents in Geneva and most interview subjects spread out all over Africa.

The solution we chose was to stay in Linköping during the pre-study and the finalization of the report, in-between which we conduct six weeks of field studies in the three most interesting regions; Nairobi in Kenya, Kigali in Rwanda and Accra in Ghana.

The tickets just got booked, and since we are flying with KLM is the transit in Amsterdam enabling me to stop by and say hello to my good-old friend Lisa. Nice!

Picture of the volcano Sundoro-Sumbing, shot from the 9th-century monument of Borobudur, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Location

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KHU main gate at full moon
So, the time has come. After waiving off all the exchange students, one at the time, am I now waiving bye to Korea myself.

This has been a truly amazing year and I am filled with gratefulness to all of you who have shared those experiences with me. The biggest and most important gift of being here is obviously the wealth of perspectives, and the friendships themselves, by spending time with amazing people from allover the world.

A deep, humble and happy thank you to my new friends from
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ghana, Guatemala, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sweden, Tunisia, UK, USA, Vietnam…and of course everyone from Korea.

You will always have a place in my heart.

Goodbye

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