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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jumping in with both feet

It's been a whirlwind few days. The hospitality, generosity, and friendship from the local hosts and the rest of the team make this very enjoyable.

Sunday, we had a meeting with Theo Mlaki and Phil Mogendi (two of our hosts from Digital Opportunity Trust) to recap the conversations we had with our organizational hosts at the Saturday night dinner.

Radka Zahradkova and Bwana Mlaki
We went to lunch at Break Point, and then continued a long-ish drive to the cultural heritage sites at Bagamoyo (which means "I leave my heart here". This was where slaves - many of whom had seen the sea for the first time - were loaded onto a dhow and taken to the markets in Zanzibar for sale. They were not sure if they would ever see land, their land, or family again. Most did not.

The local guides whom Phil arranged were knowledgeable and happy to answer our questions.

We toured an ancient mosque and ruins at the Kaole site, and walked around a several-hundred-year-old Baobab tree.

Walking to the Baobab tree

We saw the place where rebels were confined and hanged; at stark contrast was a group of musicians and dancers not 100 meters away.

Dancers and musicians at Bagamoyo Beach
We ended our exploration that day at the point where so many started theirs; the first port that was built there for the slave trade.

Boats for commercial travel to Zanzibar
Monday (yesterday) was full of information and education for us. We started with another briefing and Q&A session with David Sawe (IBM Tanzania General Manager) then were collected by our host organizations for briefings by them and more insight into their businesses and their challenges. We learned a lot about the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), they provided a nice lunch, and we went mid-afternoon to the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC), part of the Prime Minister's office.

Our hosts and other meeting participants have the patience of Job with our learning cycle and all our questions.

We got back to the hotel a little before 6 ... I had a glorious twenty-minute nap ... and then dinner (seafood pasta) by the pool with my team, summarizing all we had heard & learned yesterday, and planning out the tasks we have in front of us today. There is *so much* opportunity here that could be enhanced with skills transfer, education, and modest budgets.

Time is at a premium for us here ... I find the mornings a good time to reflect and write; the evenings are time for trying to clear my mind just a little before getting to sleep. I think the anti-malarial medicine is giving me odd, vivid dreams. Like the one last night where I was singing with Barbra Streisand, having been to a garage sale with my friend Harvey Mallory and watching a tornado off in the distance.

Lots on the agenda today, including some time at the IBM office to print out some of the reference material the organizations have given us. Tomorrow, we leave for Tanga and the opportunity to work with some of the organizations in the region & districts. We will be back in Dar es Salaam twice more - once for our midterm reviews, and once again at the end of our assignment (which will approach all too rapidly).

I saw the news about the explosions in Boston. My US team from there are safe, and I hope the same is true for you and your loved ones.

#ibmcsc Tanzania

1 comment:

  1. Strange...I was singing with Barbra this morning on my car ride in...