First day of class in Tanzania

After getting off to a slow start, our first day of class went well; despite the fact I have been teaching for seven years now, each time I meet a new class, I get butterflies. I had woken up just before 5am and was unable to get back to sleep.

Because our participants are mostly teachers who run small businesses on the side, we are running the class from 1pm – 6pm daily. To be prepared for the first day, we were invited to the campus at 10:30 for “tea” which consisted of beef and andazi which is a Tanzanian donut. The campus is a half hour drive from our hotel, so we had breakfast and a cappuccino outside while rereading our case studies before being picked up.img_4118

While on our way to the campus, we learned that our driver’s name is Amiri, not Dismas. Dismas is on safari in the Serengeti for 14 days. We apologized profusely for calling him Dismas since we arrived, but in fairness, we had been told that Dismas was picking us up. We have been giggling about it ever since because this is the second time it has happened to us since we’ve been here! We were calling our driver in Ngorogoro “Edwin” when his name is Emmanuel. Edwin is the person from the office that we had been corresponding with before we got here. All three of us are name users, so it’s not like we called them the wrong name only once or twice! So embarrassing!

We spent time at the campus getting ready for the session, and then waited while our partners printed off all the papers we needed and finished translating the documents from English into Swahili.

Things were running behind, and we all had lunch together while waiting for the participants. We were told to expect around 10 people, but we ended up with 28!

We made the session as interactive as possible, beginning an hour late, but working them hard until 6:30 p.m. with one break for tea and ground nuts (peanuts). We asked the participants to each give us three business ideas, and it was interesting to see how similar their ideas were. Most of the participants are women, and they were interested in farming, and baking businesses. One woman, who appears to be ambitious wants to write a business plan to start a vocational training college.

We left them with homework to help them narrow down their ideas, and on Day 2 we will spend the day writing business plans. Most of the participants speak English, but a few are only comfortable in Swahili, so we had to be aware to speak very slowly, and our co-facilitators from the college translated for us.

We got back to the hotel around 7:30 and had dinner and some wine. Because the staff have gotten to know us so well, the general manager of the hotel offered us a discount on our meal, despite the fact we weren’t hungry enough for the buffet. We ate from it anyway, our of a feeling of guilt. It was delicious with anything you could think of to choose from. We sat outside on the deck under an umbrella while it rained, and were able to facetime into my Enactus meeting at Pictou Campus. Two of my Enactus students are travelling internationally this summer, so it was rewarding for me to connect Kellie with them further.

It was probably (definitely) way too late when we went to bed, but we’re trying to make the most of each day.

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