Getting to work – the purpose of our trip!

After our safari ended, Saronga thought we should check in with some businesses on our way back to the campus. The temperature is in the 30’s, it is humid, and we were wilting! The heat here is the kind of heat where you sweat even when not exerting energy. I was windblown and exhausted from lack of sleep the night before. Although we did not have our questions with us, we stopped in at two places to make appointments for later in the afternoon. At the second stop, we discovered the principal of the campus, Chris Ayo, having lunch with the owner of the business, so we ended up joining them and having lunch with them.
I wasn’t hungry at all. I went to the vehicle to grab my bag and change my shoes and when I came back in, there was a beer waiting for me. Jim and Saronga had ordered sandwiches which I ended up sharing after a second beer appeared in front of me! I needed something to sop it up in my stomach!! After lunch, we thankfully made arrangements to go back to the campus for a short rest and made an appointment to come back for our interview at 4pm.
At the campus, I hopped in the shower to cool down, changed, then had a power nap. Too soon, there was a knock on my door because it was time to go.
Our first stop was back to the Genesis Motel where we met with long-time owner, Godfrey Michael, and chatted over bottles of water. He has been in business for many years, and is currently in the process of expanding his business into three other national parks, so we received some insightful information from him. He gave us permission to use his name, business and stories in our curriculum, and then we visited the attached snake & reptile park.
Our next stop was the Tan-Swiss motel, operated by Josef, a Swiss national who married a Tanzanian woman. He has been in business for 15 years and are in the process of building a swimming pool on their property. His information was interesting as an “outsider” who had come from different cultural values to open a business in Tanzania. His barriers and challenges were different than some of the others.
He and his wife have two young foster children, an almost four-year-old boy and an almost three-year-old girl, who took a shine to me. They pulled up chairs beside me and were engaging with beautiful smiles and laughter. I gave them each one of my business cards and a pen to draw with. I must admit, my notes from that interview are probably not as complete as the others we did!!
When the interview was over, Saronga told us he had one more place he wanted to take us. He is friends with William, the manager of a new property, Mikumi Resorts, and although he wouldn’t be relevant in our quest for information, he felt his friend could benefit from speaking with us.
To arrive at Mikumi Resort, you must travel through Mikumi Village which was a humbling experience. Talk about feeling conspicuous!! There were so many people in the streets, and in their yards – cooking, raking, gardening, talking, washing, playing… Saronga showed us where he used to live. The children all smiled and waved as we passed by. The roads were terrible – rutted and potholed from the recent rains. Unfortunately, the rain wasn’t enough to produce a good crop of corn or sunflowers, and the gardens looked dried out.
At the end of a very narrow lane, we reached the gate for Mikumi Resort, and when the gate opened, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was the opposite of what we had just driven through, modern and luxurious. We spoke with William at the bar before receiving a tour, and also met another of Saronga’s grads.
As it started to grow dark, we went back to the campus for supper. This time we were able to serve ourselves, so I could choose a smaller amount. There were a number of choices and I had brown rice, cooked bananas, a dish I originally thought was spinach, but turned out to be amaranth , and stewed beef. Saronga was disappointed when we said we couldn’t possibly have another beer, but we were just too tired and hot and feeling the effects of jet lag.
We went to our rooms after supper, and I showered before bed to cool down. Another busy day tomorrow with class in the morning, a tour of the campus, a visit to the hospital, then the journey to Morogoro.

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