keskiviikko 29. toukokuuta 2019

Back in Baku

Today I am in Baku, Azerbajzan again. I have been here almost two years ago last time. This is a work trip for AESOP project. AESOP is enforcing students’ rights in Caucasian Universities of Azerbajzan, Georgia and Ukraine by establishing Ombudsmen Offices.

We have moved along to the final year of the three year project and all the nine partner universities have now got working ombudsmen offices with regulations in place. These ombudsmen offices have started working on complaints about unfair treatment, sexual harrashment etc. Important issues of the students academic life. My work in this project has been to provide best practises from JYU and to quality assure the work of the Caucasian universities. We have proceeded to the activities analysis phase where we will analyse the ombudsmen models against the complaints.
After our management meeting ended, we were once again taken to see something interesting in Baku. This time we visited Open air museum called Gala, which has gathered many historic archeological findings from the area. There exposed lied old Wedding rooms of Azerbajzani life - used for two different bachelor parties... first women and her friends, then men. They sat down on rugs and pillows, ate and told stories. And there was even a shelf for your swords and hats...

The Open air museum is next to a church yard, which is basically a graveyard. The museum has some usual azeri home animals - chicken, donkeys and of course Camels. On the streets of Baku, you can but endless amount of Camel Wool scarfs. Those are a typical souvenir to bring home.

I got to feed the camels and as you might have seen in my instastory, one gave me a big sweaty kiss on my arm... they were handsome camels, I must say.

We also had some traditional food from Azerbajzan, which is like a Greek-Turkish fusion. I love the food here: fresh greek salads, fresh meat kebabs, dolma, cheeses, olives the size of thumbs... Yam!

On our second day we did data extraction and task division and planned our paper & report to write. After the working hours ended, we took a stroll in the old city of Baku. These rocky streets are separate by a city wall. The touristic centre is full of flying carpet merchants and you can easily buy Aladdin’s lamp if you want one. My colleague had not visited before and had a lot of things to buy. I managed to say no to most of the ”tat”, event though I’d love an Azerbajzani carpet in my house... the problem is on how to get it home... on the other hand, there was also an excuisitly beautiful lamp - with the reasonable price of 400€... definitely will have to start saving for one;)

Baku today is full of Football tourists because it is the finals of some European Championship league where Chelsea is playing against Arsenal here in Baku stadium. This meant that there was even more police than usual and perhaps a bit more traffic. Possibly the merchants had also risen some of the usual prices for tourists, but then again, it is nice to be able to give back to those who live here. I love my Azerbajzani Tea tray which I bought last time I was here and It’s always visible on my kitchen counter. In fact I really like Azerbajzani style in general. They are very hospital, generous and nice people. Very hard working and willing to do their part. In the last two years of working with them, I realise that I have developed a special bond with this country and many of these people have become my friends. Certainly this would not have happened without the Erasmus plus project program and I am grateful for my boss Marja Kankaanranta for trusting me to manage these projects. It has been eye opening and also special time in my life. Something tells me, I will be back here.

An Azerbajzani friend of mine asked me to write this post in English so that’s why today the recap is in Finnish.

/ Tällä viikolla olen töissä Azerbajanissa taas. Edellinen vierailu 2017 vuonna tapahtui samaisen AESOP-projektin puitteissa. Siinä on siis kyse ombudsmen -toimistojen perustamisesta Kaukasuksen alueen partner-yliopistoihin (Azerbajzaniin, Georgiaan ja Ukrainaan). Työskentelyn lomassa tutustuimme jälkeen Bakun nähtävyyksiin, historialliseen ulkoilmamuseoon - Taidetta jätteestä - museoon ja tietysti Bakun vanhaan kaupunkiin. Pidän Azerbajanilaisista ihmisistä. Pidän heidän työmoraalistaan, ruoastaan ja jopa tyylistä. Huomaan, että parin vuoden aikana minulle on muodostunut tietynlainen erityinen suhde tähän maahan ja olen saanut täältä ystäviä. Tämä on tietenkin Erasmus plus -ohjelman ja Marja Kankaanrannan ansiota, sillä hän on luottanut minulle näiden muutaman projektin luotsaamisen JYU:ssa viimeisen parin vuoden ajan. Kiitos! Jostain syystä tuntuu siltä, että tämä ei ole viimeinen vierailuni Azerbajaniin...
Our project coordinator offers toast for a successful meeting. And of course, for women!
Mikko came to help me with data analytics
My friend that ordered this blog to be in English

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