Update

The seasons are changing here in Tanzania.  Over the past few weeks the rains have slowed, but the clouds remain.  Most days are very cloudy and fairly “cool.  For the most part, our walks to and from work have been very pleasant because the clouds provide a very nice shield from the harsh rays of the equatorial sun.  Occasionally the clouds will part, Mt. Kilimanjaro will be visible, and we receive a taste of the impending summer heat.

As the seasons change, so do our objectives.  We are attending fewer meetings in the community and we are starting to understand specifics on most of BCC’s projects.  This is important because BCC is spending less time introducing us to distinguished Tanzanians and explaining programmatic details and more time working on some of the larger tasks that are major focuses of the strategic plan.

This transition is incredibly important.  Our major focus in Tanzania is sustainability.  Sustainability, in this sense, is a multidimensional term.  BCC is searching for financial sustainability, BCC is currently completing a new business structure that will help staff and project sustainability, and we are focusing on ensuring that every task we participate in is lead by an individual in BCC management.  This will ensure that everything we do here continues and that it does not stop once we leave.  We face a harsh reality every day:  If a project, action, or policy cannot be sustained by BCC, we should have not completed the item at all.

For the most part, those are the tasks we worked on last week, and those are the tasks we will continue to work on for the duration of our stay.  Our sustainable goals for this coming week include working with BCC management to explore grant funding for program options, working to write draft biographies for children who are hoping to attain a scholarship from an international sponsor, as well as working on formalizing policies for volunteers, cooperative businesses, microcredit loans, and vocational program placements.

One of our major objectives for this fellowship is developing social business ideas.  We met on Friday with Kaaya, the BCC director, and Jesse, our Safari driver friend.  We had dinner at Kaaya’s house and we took the opportunity to learn how to cook Tanzanian food from Kaaya’s wife Neema!  As you will learn on Tuesday in the “Through Our Eyes” section, Melissa did most of the learning and hard work while John did most of the note taking and food sampling!

At this dinner, we discussed Jesse’s new business idea with Kaaya in more detail.  As we have mentioned before, Jesse will be starting a social business safari company.  All of the profits from Jesse’s safari company will go to support BCC.  We will explain the concept of a social business and expand on Jesse’s safari company, North Star Tours and Safaris, on Thursday in the “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section.

It is a long process to begin any social business.  If we can work with BCC in a sustainable fashion and work to set up businesses, that will help BCC in the long term; hopefully the businesses will assist in the long term sustainability of BCC.

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