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The final episode of Babelfish season 1 has been published. The podcast will be on holiday until August. So far 30 interviews with non-believers from 7 countries in the eastern and southern parts of Africa have been produced.

I have talked to humanists, atheists and freethinkers from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. All of them had fascinating stories to tell about their life and the challenges they face.

Many of them grew up in religious families with no room for critical thinking, questions and discussions about belief. Growing up most of them have felt alone, thinking they were the only ones doubting the existence of God.

Now they are building communities for non-believers in their countries. In some countries humanist schools are formed, educating the kids in science and critical thinking. Other humanist schools are supporting single moms. Humanitarian projects are being run by non-believers.

In some of the countries the communities are very small with almost no resources. But in all countries non-believers are having metups, debates and social events in order to grow the small communities.

Everywhere I went non-believers are discriminated and stigmatised. Not due to legislation since the constitutions are based on human rights, but due to the religious society. Some have experienced to be shunned from their families, some have been fired. In some cases, there has been violent reactions to non-believers fight for human rights.

Sometimes it looks like an uphill battle to change the society’s view of non-believers. But everywhere I went I met amazing people full of energy and optimism. They keep up the good work and I am sure they will change the world.

It’s been quite a journey for me as well. A year ago, I started the planning – a bit scared, nervous and excited. I have had doubts many times, thinking this was crazy – thinking I wasn’t able to do this. But I did – and I will continue.

Season 1 has been finalised. Tomorrow I’ll fly to Ghana to meet another group of amazing non-believers. The interviews will be part of season 2 which will begin in August.

Next step is to cover the rest of the world. I am actively seeking funding and sponsors for a tour around the world. The tour will start by the end of August.

You can also support the project by donating money through Patreon – or for the Danish audience through 10er.dk.

Have a nice summer

POV International & I

2019-02-28 | Babelfish, Denmark, Uganda | No Comments

The new humanist celebrants in Eastern Africa – 
Picture from Kato Mukasa

I am happy to be able to break this news today. Going forward I will be a writer for the Danish online media POV International. This is amazing. They have so many fantastic journalists and writers who publish on their platform. The writers don’t get paid, but the readers can donate directly to the writers.

POV International will bring my travel stories. The articles are in Danish. The title of the series is (roughly translated to English): In search for the worlds non-believers.

The first article has been published today. I tell about my visit to Uganda. The next article will be about my visit to Rwanda.

I hope this is an opportunity to gain a wider audience in Denmark. And maybe in the long run to an international audience.

Succes – finally

2019-02-01 | Babelfish, Uganda | No Comments

After struggling with slow performing internet connections I now have access. I am in a the MVUU camp in the middle of the Liwonde Nationalpark in Malavi and the internet connection is the fastest I have experienced in this country.

So today I have published another episode of my podcast. In this episode I talk to Max from HALEA Uganda. He tells how he tried out different religions before realising he don’t believe in a god. And we learn how ‘the Secret’ influenced him, how he has been shunned and lost friends, but also how he gives medical support through Rotary.

Find it in your favourite podcast app or on this website. Enjoy.

Challenges

2019-01-30 | Babelfish | 3 Comments

Unable to upload podcast

For the first time while travelling I faced some challenges – challenges not related to transport, accommodation, food or money. Not at all – instead I was not able to get online – I have never experienced an internet connection performing this poorly. And this in a large hotel in the capitol of Malawi.

For several days I tried to upload new episodes of my podcast. Again, and again the upload failed after a while. It has been so frustrating not being able to do anything about it. When talking to the reception they promised to investigate it, unfortunately they never gave me any feedback – I had to ask them again and again. I never got any explanation, not even a ‘we are sorry for the inconvenience’, nothing. I’ve stayed at much cheaper guest houses where the service was 10 times better.

To make matters worse I discovered the subscription feature on my blog had stopped working. It was not possible for people to sign up. And I was not even able to log in and check up on it – the pages wouldn’t load due to the poor internet connection. I think I could have punched someone at this point, several times.

In the end I gave up and went to bed.

And the next day I asked for help on LinkedIn – not that anyone could fix the performance issues, but if someone could look at the issues with the subscription feature, I would be very happy. A former colleague from CGI Maria Ana from Sweden helped me and will help me in the future – I got myself a wingwoman 😊

The subscription feature is working again – or it’s partly working. If you have already tried to sign up without any success it is not possible to sign up again (we are working on solving the issue).

If you are one of the unlucky ones… please send me an email and I will register you manually – sorry for all the inconvenience.

This blog post should have been about something completely different related to Africa & humanists, but I have been too frustrated to write anything that made sense.

I know this is first world problems – people living here are facing much more serious problems than this. They have power outages, floods, droughts, lack of clean water, climate changes, a growing population they cannot feed.

I can leave – I can go home, turn on the electricity, get clean water out of the tab and be sure my internet connection is fast.

I’ll be back… with new podcasts and blog posts when the connection is good… I’ll be back

Goodbye Kenya – Hakuna matata

2019-01-18 | Babelfish, Kenya | 1 Comment

Karen Blixen

Looking out on the scenery through the shuttle bus window driving from Nairobi to Arusha in Tanzania I’m thinking about my week in Kenya. The horrible attack in Nairobi the other day with 21 lost lives, reminds me of how fragile life is. The people and the fantastic animals remind me of how beautiful life can be in this country. A country with a complicated history, influenced by the whole world.

On one hand Kenya feels very peaceful – the security levels are the same as in the other countries. When you get used to armed security everywhere, the thorough security checks when you enter a mall, a hotel, a bank etc. you stop wondering. Al-Shabab continues to make life unsecure for everybody here. It’s difficult to understand how they cope with the fear continuing living their lives.

On the shuttle bus a group of passengers with unmistakable Indian decent reminds me of the melting pot of different cultures that is Kenya today with more than 42 tribes. Arabs, Europeans, Indians and as the latest addition I see Chinese signs all over the country showing how much China invest in infrastructure – not just here but all over Africa.

The landscape passes by – the flat land surrounding Nairobi turns into green hills and later mountains. I see Masai with their red clothes looking after their cattle and donkeys. It is the first time I have seen donkeys on this trip. The sky is so incredible high with the flat savanna and the green hills and mountains in the background. It makes you feel tiny and insignificant.

It is understandable why Karen Blixen fell in love with this country. I visited her museum with Harrison from the atheist organisation. Fun fact: he had never heard about her, so I taught the Kenyan a bit about Kenyan history. It was amazing to visit her farm, learning more about her life here and how she influenced Kenyan tourism.

It is difficult to be a non-believer in this country. In contradiction to Denmark Kenya has a secular constitution. Legally there is no discrimination, but in reality, the country is very religious, which means everyday life is influenced by religion.

People are very friendly and curious. As a Dane you would never say hi, shake hands and talk to a stranger in the street. After a few days you realize Kenyans mean it, they just want to talk – while you thought they wanted to trick you and get money out of you.

It’s been a week with many experiences, many emotions – highs and lows.

I will end this blog post with some of the highs – I met Harrison, the nicest guy who open his home to me. He is the best-known atheist in the media in Kenya, fighting for equal rights for non-believers. I saw a black rhino for the first time ever, it was amazing, big and a bit scary. And then there was the beautiful lioness, she passed our car not more than half a meter from my face – I’ll never get tired of watching them in the wild.

Have a nice weekend and as they say in Swahili – Hakuna matata

P.S. A new episode of my podcast Babelfish has been released today – check it out

Some facts:

Kenya (Denmark)

Population:  52 mio. (5.8 mio.)

Area:  580.000 km2 (43.000 km2)

Density: 89/km2 (133/km2) Life expectancy:  64 years (80 years)

It’s alive !!!

2019-01-16 | Babelfish, Uganda | No Comments

Finally – the podcast has gone live. The first 3 episodes has been published.

Kato Mukasa

In the first episode I talk to Kato Mukasa who has several roles within the humanist community. Internationally Kato is member of the IHEU Board. He is also involved in coordinating activities in Africa and Uganda. In Uganda Kato is Legal Director for HALEA Uganda, and manager of the Pearl Vocational Training College.

Wasswa Peter Mukasa

In the second episode I talk to Wasswa Peter Mukasa who, besides being Kato’s brother, also is deeply involved in HALEA Uganda.

Viola Namyalo

In the third episode I talk to Viola Namyalo, a young humanist, involved in HALEA Uganda. Just after I left Uganda Viola was elected Chair of the African Working Group of Young Humanists International (YHI). YHI is the youth section of IHEU.


You’ll find podcast in your favourite podcast app: iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. Or you go to the Babelfish page in the above menu.

I expect to release 1 or 2 episodes per week. Bear with me – English is my second language.

Enjoy.