Tanzania…I feel as though I never left
Today I spent the day at the Karibu Fair. It was the first of a three day event. I always enjoy being a vendor at this fair every year in an effort to network with the businesses here. It is good to have a presence here.
I signed up for the fair back in April and was sent a reply email that the cost would be $50.00. I paid the fee directly to their bank account and today I learned that NGO’s are free. They have a tent set up exclusively for us! They asked me to write them a letter, which I did and I hope to get a refund tomorrow.
I have some wonderful people next to me at the fair. One woman is an African American woman who recently graduated from Georgetown University with her Masters in International Development, she chose to come to Africa to do charity work with a women’s organization who make beautiful baskets, she is in charge of sales & marketing. Like me, she didn’t have to work here.
I asked her why she came to Tanzania to work; having the ability to work in the USA and she said something to the effect of…In Washington DC there are so many intellectual types who call themselves “experts“; they write books, give talks, teach classes …they claim to know everything about Africa…yet most of them have never stepped foot on the continent! If they did come, they stayed in five star hotels and never fully experienced the true Africa. Many of them have written more than one book about life in Africa. She was tired of it… She had to learn for herself… Unfortunately, I know exactly what she is talking about.
So how does one become an expert on life in Africa? Perhaps spending a few years here living in solidarity with the people , running a grassroots organization with little or no salary ? I am not sure what makes anyone an expert, all I know is that I have been working here for 6 years and I learn something new about this place and its people every day. I am no expert, I am a novice…however I do have some tales to tell that make my life quite interesting.
I arrived here just a few days ago and have been incredibly busy since. I an trying to catch up on some sleep and get adjusted to the new time zone.
Spent only 2 hours with the children as I have been here, there and everywhere trying to get some things done…it is all good. I like to be busy. I am finally learning that I can’t do everything…I cannot teach and run the NGO, that is why we employ a teacher.
Today I was working on making new relationship with new vendors for our Christmas ornaments; which is a big income generator for us. We receive no grants, no real substantial outside funding, all funds are generated from the hard work of volunteers…so this is needed. I just hope our inventory is adequate. Silly me left my business cards at the office, so tomorrow I need to take a stack.
Tomorrow is another day and it is quickly approaching.
Keep the faith.