On the second offical workday of our site visit, our team woke up at 6 o clock in the moring to eat breakfast at the home of a federation member of Phast Ujenzi: Farida, who lives only 10 minutes walk from our camp at Mikadi Beach. In comparison to the slums we visited on Saturday, Farida lives in, what appears to be a higher class house with chickens in the courtyard, a propper living room with a TV, kitchen and several other rooms. For breakfast she made us, chapati (Tanzanian pancakes), ugali (polenta like balls of corn dough), ‘Africafe’ instant coffee that was desolved in ginger ( !) infused water and a delicious smoothie made from passion fruit, mango and advocado. Besides providing us with this breakfast, her hospitality allows us to get a better glimpse of what life in a Tanzanian household looks like from the inside. Luckily for us, she has invited us for breakfast for the rest of the week!
Being well fed we were ready for our first official stop of the day at the Finnish Embassy where we were invited by a friend of Venla’s called Matti: who has been working in Tanzania for little over a month. At the embassy we were getting information on the history of Tanzanian Finnish interaction between the governments, the economical and political situaition. Altough this information was interesting and it was an honour to be invited to the Embassy, I don’t know how useful the Embassy can be for our project and whether we were intersting to them. Especially since Matti had a busy schedule and therefore did not have much time to meet with us. Which meant that after a short hour we were on our way to the next meetingat CCI
After a wild drive in a hot and humid mini van driven by Mr Issa: Tanzania’s biggest fan of Celine Dion, we were dropped off at the Center of Community Initiatives Tanzania (CCI). There we met with Dr Tim Ndezi, who told us more about the work and challenges he has been going through ever since founding this NGO in 2004. In my opinion, one of the most interesting things Dr Ndezi spoke about was how their NGO is using knowledge and methods developed in countries, such as India and the Philipines facing similar challenges to Tanzania, instead of looking too much towards the West. During our meeting, Dr Ndezi spoke of the cultural problems with selling urine as fertilizer and that there needs to be a change of perception, further education and marketing in order to make it work as a product.Our meeting with Dr Ndezi was very fruitful because I think he managed to frame the problems clearly and bring us up to speed with the project, whereas before our meeting, in my opinion, we were still mainly thinking about general problems that occur in development and sanitation projects.
We completed our day by going to the Village Museum, an open air museum in the middle of the city where several indeginous dwellings can be visited and where a group of dancers give exhibitions, of what we only could interpreted as a traditional Tanzanian ‘twerking session’. (something Erik and I found out the hard way…)
After our introduction to the sexy side of Tanzanian culture we moved on to Slipway: an expat area in Dar es Salaam, where we ate seafood and drank Conyagi (Tanzanian gin) at a resort like restaurant. Meaning this was a restaurant catering to rich foreigners, not locals. Meaning: Mr Issa (our driver) could not afford to eat with us and had to wait for us at a distance. Concidering the reasons for our visit, going to a fancy restaurant felt a bit out of place.
As a team we know we are very lucky to be able to work on this project, but for us it is a choice: an adventure that we literaly can step away from. But while we might go on our urban safari, the problems we are getting exposed to and doing a project around are very real, especially for the groups we work with. Being part of the Aalto SGT studio allows us the see Tanzania from a unique percepctive as we get the experience a cross section of the whole society, from Embassies to slums, in just two weeks. Perhaps going to a fancy restaurant is part of that experience. Through our experiences of today I do think it is important to keep the reasons of our trip in mind.
Will and the Tanzanitation Squad