When Nyamwaya told her thesis supervisor she was interested in going to India, he immediately said he could get her a research project - near the Himalayas.
“ My supervisor suggested a project exploring the realities of introducing technology in a locality. This appealed to me immediately since it is related to my work experience and research interests. So I decided to do this research for my thesis in the specialization Communication, Technology and Policy. I studied how farmers in a village in the Indian Himalayas have embedded a new growing technique in their farming practice. Every morning I woke up to the beautiful scenery of the Himalayas. The aim was to get a clear picture of how exactly the farmers do the planting, and to study to what extent the farmers make use of new growing methods.
I enjoyed the field work and living in a completely different country, it was definitely worth the experience. The field work was quite challenging. What I found interesting to learn is that there are many similarities between village life in Zambia and in India. There is more hierarchy, for instance among different age groups, in which young people are expected to show more respect to others. One of the most important things I learned about intercultural communication is the importance of showing interest and respect for other people’s cultures. I noticed that because I showed interest and had tea at their place, or learned some words in the local language, the villagers opened up to me. Adapting to a new country was extremely challenging, but it has been worth it.
The main reason for me to take on this project is because if I want to develop myself further as a development worker, I think I should try to gain experience in different parts of the world. It also strengthens my position as an international development professional as I have knowledge of the development context in India as well as Africa."