When I first began working in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill, my initial impression was horror that the country was being run by a bunch of 20-somethings. At 23, I was solidly within the median age range and even felt old when I saw peers walking around with short skirts, finding myself thinking “how inappropriate!” It didn’t take me long to become accustomed to the age range of Hill staffers and soon it even made sense to me that they’d all be so young. The hours were grueling, the work was exhausting, and without energy, enthusiasm, and a youth-like belief in...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with Tanzania
I never thought I would move to Tanzania to learn about Bengali culture, but then again I never thought I’d eat octopus for dinner so sometimes one must adjust expectations. How have I happened to find myself sitting in an office shared by one Bengali woman, one Tanzanian woman, and me? Such is life at BRAC Tanzania’s country office.
BRAC Tanzania is one of the international legs of the Bengali NGO BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee). Started in 1972, BRAC has grown...Continue Reading >>
A Tanzanian friend, who stays at the same guest house as me, came up with an expression that can be used to make any frustrating, confusing, or illogical moment in Africa, funny. TIA (this is Africa!). I can’t even remember the origin of this phrase (bad referencing...Continue Reading >>
I have been in Dar es Salaam working with SELFINA for almost 6 months now, and my experience has been somewhat different to that of most other fellows. Unlike most fellows, I have not been going out into the field to visit clients. I have been based in SELFINA’s head office working on integrating kiva’s requirements into SELFINA’s existing processing, e.g. adding kiva-specific surveys to the loan applications. My goal has been to develop an efficient system for posting, journaling, data collection and filing (e.g. Ben Elberger, Dana Lunberry, and the excel master...Continue Reading >>
Days go by and I often forget how life in Africa can be so different than life in the States. Events from this past weekend remind me that I am going to really miss Tanzania when I leave in June.
On Saturday, I was driving to a friend’s house when I was stopped by a policeman who flagged me down from the side of the road. In Swahili, he asked for my license and then asked for me to...Continue Reading >>
1. You are constantly told to eat more ugali so you won’t be so skinny.
2. Cell phone towers are more common than traffic lights.
3. You see signs like this:
3.5. And this:
4. The most common phrase you hear is “Hey mzungu! Taxi?”
(“mzungu” is Swahili for “white person”)
5. A short cab ride can cost up to 3,000 TZS, but no worries…...Continue Reading >>
Hopefully, this is just volume 1 of “You know you are in Tanzania when…” blogs. I am banking on contributions from Dana and Johannah, the other TZ fellows for the next volumes…
1. Coworkers frequently walk by and casually mention that they have malaria.
2. The most common question you are asked is: “Are you a Muslim or a Christian?”
3. Gospel music plays full volume during the...Continue Reading >>
Loan officers are an integral part of the microfinance process. Without the hard work of loan officers, reaching the poor with financial services would not be possible. However, loan officers typically do not get very much attention. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting for you to meet a friend of mine at YOSEFO to help give you a better understanding of how loan officers fit into the microfinance process.
At YOSEFO, each loan officer is assigned a community center. There are 13 centers...Continue Reading >>
TANZANIA. Last week, I was given the opportunity to train BRAC Tanzania staff on Kiva in Kibiti, which is located about 150 km outside of Dar es Salaam. Riding from the noisy, congested (yet still completely lovable) city to the luscious green countryside brought refreshment to my senses.
... Continue Reading >>
This past weekend was very exciting for Tanzania. As a part of President Bush’s tour of Africa, he visited Dar es Salaam. It was the first visit by an American President, since Clinton’s visit in 1998.
With typical Tanzanian hospitality, Dar was ready for the occasion, and I couldn’t help smiling… Banners were strung up that featured the Stars and Stripes crossed with the Tanzanian flag, and welcomed “Your Excellency President Bush.” Billboards were scattered throughout the city featuring a panorama of Kilimanjaro, with an artist’s rendering...Continue Reading >>