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From the right: Jacqueline, Florence, Diana and Katherine

As most of you might have noticed, we had a few guests at VRG last week. Four girls, Jacqueline, Diana, Florence and Katherine, from the Babro Johansson School outside Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, visited us for about 10 days. The girls stayed with host families from the school, attended some classes at VRG Djursholm and did some activities in Stockholm. I was lucky enough to meet them during a class as well as for an interview for VRGDT.

Jacqueline and Katherine are both in their final year of high school and are 19 and 18 years old respectively, while Florence and Diana, who was named after the princess, are 16 and in the same grade.

Where in Tanzania are you from?

Jacqueline: We’re all from Dar es Salaam. Most students in our school are.

Were you nervous about travelling here alone?

Florence: Yes, we were scared, especially when our teacher told us we would be travelling alone, without any teachers accompanying us! Even though it’s quite a long trip from Tanzania to Sweden we stayed brave and strong.

What have you done so far outside of VRG?

Diana: We visited Old town (Gamla stan), the Noble museum, Cosmonova and Täby Centrum!

At the mention of Täby Centrum, all four of them become very excited.

Florence: Täby Centrum was very nice and it had a lot of shopping, we love shopping! Shopping in Sweden is very different from in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam only has about three malls, and the shops here have so many more things!

How do you like Swedish food?

Katherine: We love it! We’ve baked ginger bread and made ginger houses with our hosts, as well as meat balls. I ate tacos too! I looove tacos!

Diana: Yes but tacos isn’t Swedish, tacos is Mexican!

After laughing about this for some time, I explained to them that these days tacos is almost a traditional Swedish dish since it’s become so common.

How do you like Sweden?

Florence: It’s very cold, but we still like it. We really like central Stockholm. It’s full of shops and we did a lot of shopping there.

Diana: It was so nice seeing snow for the first time! It was exactly how I imagined it to be

Jacqueline: Lovely country with beautiful, nice and kind people that seem to value culture.

What are you most surprised about our customs?

Jacqueline: Midsummer sounds very strange, the way you dance around a pole.

(The day before, during a common humanities class with the Tanzanian girls, we explained the Swedish midsummer tradition to them when talking about Swedish culture. It might have seemed like a fun tradition at first, until Theo specifically described that we danced like frogs around a pole that looks like a giant penis, got very drunk and made babies. “That’s why most Swedes are born in April, 9 months after midsummer!” – Theodor Ohlsson).

Florence: No I like midsummer, dancing is culture!

Katherine: People kissing in the streets is strange.

What’s the biggest difference if you compare Tanzania to Sweden?

Jacqueline: The economy. Dar es Salaam is a lot busier also, there’s a lot of traffic and things. The culture, too, is different.

What’s the best part about Tanzania?

Jacqueline: Tanzania is a beautiful, peaceful country with a lot of tourism, even though it’s a developing country.

Florence: The best part is the safaris!

Was your trip the way you imagined it to be?

Florence: We were told by our schoolmates that it would end up being boring. But we had a lot of fun! I think it was more fun for us because we were only a few people going.

(The school sends trips to VRG Jarlaplan annually, one in November and one in February, and it’s usually around 20 girls going.)

Is your school different from VRG?

Jacqueline: It’s very different, We have a school uniform and we don’t have phones and laptops in school; we’re not allowed to have technology in school at all. It’s very strict. VRG has more group work and projects than we do. We have more individual work.

How do you feel about your hosts?

Katherine: We love our host families!

Diana: We live in the suburbs, Täby and Danderyd, in houses.

What are your future plans after school?

Jacqueline: Last year, it became compulsory to join the military for a few months after graduation in Tanzania. So after I finish high school, I’ll go to a military camp. It’s to increase nationalism and learn to be strong and brave. After that I’ll study at a university in Tanzania.

Katherine: I’ve been accepted to University of Michigan but I’m not sure if I’ll go. There’s a 60 % chance I’ll go I think.

Are you excited to go back home?

Katherine: Noooo, we want to stay! We love it here, and we love our hosts. We hope to come back one day!

Is there any last thing you want to say to your friends here at VRG?

Jacqueline: Tunawapenda na asanteni sana

(Translation: We love you and thank you)

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Av Anna Haeger