Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kicking asses

I’ve gone over to the dark side at work, preferring to hire Westerners now because I know they will actually answer my calls and will probably do the work we contract them to do. It wasn’t actually intentional. I would’ve happily worked with a Tanzanian graphic designer, even after sleazy Amour (who disappeared somewhere, the only trace an e-mail from his former boss to warn me to avoid working with him on a private basis – ha!), but those I contacted simply never answered my request. Or maybe they never received my e-mail, or didn’t open their inbox – you can never be sure.

And now when the printers fail to deliver the correct file for the third time in a row, six weeks after we ordered from them – well, my employer’s principles of sourcing locally start to feel like something they throw in just to add an extra challenge to your day.

The other side of capacity-building – one of those bits of awful development aid jargon, nicely lambasted here – is how we work with our own colleagues. Continue reading

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Postcard from the plains

Its name comes from the Maasai word, siringet: endless plains. Serengeti is in all the tourist brochures, the destination everyone’s heard of, making the long-term expats and many Tanzanians slightly dismissive of the place.  Other parks are more beautiful, they say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bad news

“I have some bad news”, said my colleague, when I answered her call on Sunday. So she wasn’t calling to check I’d got back from Zanzibar in one piece – since there was yet another ferry sinking recently, Tanzanians are a bit nervous about boat trips. No, she had bad news, and oddest of all I didn’t get that sudden heart-sinking feeling you usually get when you hear those words, because I knew it was coming, knew all along there’d be a story from among my colleagues at some point, even dreamt a few days ago that one of them was killed in a car crash.

Not a traffic accident this time but cerebral malaria. JD, our gardener/groundsman – the one who told me just a few days ago with an earnest face that I looked good, I was getting fat – had got sick fast, had been brought to hospital and then sent home, got worse, and then died, leaving a wife and five kids behind. Continue reading

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Too dark to read

Words of wisdom from Jahazi festival….

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