This is only the beginning…

On our final day with our participants, Kellie, Amy & I met at the pool at 10am to do some work sending emails while drinking more cappuccino. I had woken early to the sound of sweeping, roosters, and laughing children. It was wonderful! (The primary school is directly outside my hotel room door.) The experience in Arusha is very different than the experience I had in Mikumi and Morogoro in March. img_8129

We got cleaned up and ready to be picked up by Amiri to go to the college at noon. There, we were invited for a traditional east African lunch featuring two kinds of salad, spicy rice with beef & potato, spinach, tilapia fish stew, and ugali which is a maize-based (corn) dish. It has the taste of cream-of-wheat, but it thick enough to hold its shape. It is meant to be pulled apart and dipped in the sauces of the stew. People either seem to love it or not. I love cream of wheat, so I enjoyed it. We were told that the rice dish is one that is also traditionally eaten using your fingers. I’ll admit I ate mine with a fork and knife – I don’t even eat pizza with my fingers at home.img_4129

Willy started the class off with their evaluations while the rest of our team finished eating. On the first day of class while establishing their class norms, they had agreed that anyone who was late would have to pay a fine of TSH 1000, so we were conscious to always begin on time.

We spent the first hour with the learners continuing to work on their business plans. We were amazed at the work they had put in to their plans in the evening! We had in-depth discussions with different groups who had a good command of English. We especially were fascinated by the projects which included exporting live rabbits to the Philippines, a tilapia fish farm, a millwright business, a t-shirt silkscreening business, and the plan to develop a hotel vocational training school! There were also horticulture, event planning, bakery and chicken farming business plans.

During our consultations ahead of the course, Amy & I had told our team that we were not comfortable handling the finance section of the course, as financing in Canada and Tanzania are done via different procedures. Sam, Willy, Aturebecca, and Marynurce had arranged for two guest speakers. One from a bank, and another who leases equipment. What amazing value-added it was for our learners! They listened so intently and asked many questions.

It was fascinating to me to listen to each speaker through the help of Willy, who was translating for me. The bank has a micro-finance program for up to TSH 5,000,000 or about $3,000 Canadian dollars. He told them that the bank in the past would only lend to the rich, but that they now recognize that if they lend to the poor, most will take the money and invest wisely to rise above their circumstances. They also have a “Queen’s Account” for women because they recognize men keep their money in their wallets, but women will spend it to provide for their children and households.

The equipment lender leases equipment with a 10% downpayment, with the rest being repaid over a maximum of 36 months. However, brand new businesses must pay 30% down. If the equipment needed is not available in Tanzania, they will order it from other countries and follow-up to make sure it is working. To qualify for this program, a business must be located within three hours of travelling from the EFTA office, and repayment begins after 61 days.

After the speakers, some of the learners presented their business plans to the group before we had speeches and distributed certificates. Sam had asked me to present the certificates (which also meant reading their names). I wasn’t sure I would be able to, but they assured me it was okay, and when we finished, they told me I need to move to Tanzania since my Swahili is so good! teehee.

We went outside to take a group photo, and a number of the students asked me to have a photo taken with them. One participant, Caroline, had given me a bracelet earlier in the afternoon because I am “always so happy and friendly”. I will treasure it!


We had tea of peanuts and chicken with the participants before they were bussed home. They had said in their speeches that the program had exceeded their expectations, and they just wished it had been longer. They suggested meeting up to four times a year for additional support. As a result, Kellie will be creating a Facebook networking page for instructors and participants of all of our ISTEP programs when she gets home. We have made a commitment to communicate and support our partners in the future, so we know this is only the beginning.

We tidied up the room and presented gifts to one another. I had brought along some entrepreneurship textbooks for their library, and Kellie had a number of gifts for the staff we were working with. Amy had brought many supplies like post-it notes and sharpies which the participants loved and took home. Amy, Kellie, and I each received beautiful 100% cotton, made-in-Tanzania Kikoys (shawls).fullsizeoutput_99d3

We moved outside around the pool for cocktails (beer) and nyoma choma (BBQ). The traditional meal was amazing. We were treated to barbequed beef, chicken, sausage, and goat with fried bananas, potatoes, vegetable salad, fruit salad, and piri-piri sauce. It was SO good and all the meat was so tender. The goat reminded both Amy & me of lamb. It was interesting that when we mentioned that we learned that the thought of eating lamb in their culture is similar to the thought of eating goat in our’s.

We talked around the table until about 8pm when we left to go back to the hotel. It was so fun to talk and learn about one another and our culture. I told them of our “Happy New Day” tradition, learned from Tanzanian guests this summer, and they confirmed it is really a tradition here. Sam is graduating with his MBA this weekend, so it was the last time we would see him this visit. We promised to stay in touch and keep sharing resources via our Google Drive.

When we arrived at the hotel at 8:30 p.m., we were told we had a visitor who had been waiting a long time for us. It was a delivery person from the Tengaru Cultural Village who had arrived at the hotel at 1:30 p.m. with eight bags of coffee for us. We had no idea he was coming or we would have made arrangements! We felt terrible so paid him and gave him a healthy tip for waiting so long.

As we went through the lobby, the staff tried to usher us out on the deck, but we told them we were going inside first and would be back. We had some wine left over in Kellie’s room which we knew we needed to finish before leaving. Her housekeeper had noticed the bottle and had brought a wine glass and beautiful flower arrangement. Amy & I had noticed “our table” was set with a candle, and wine bucket with two wine glasses. We briefly mentioned that perhaps they had set it up for us, but moved on when we realized there were only two glasses. img_4131

We finished the bottle of wine in Kellie’s room then at Amy’s insistence decided to go outside to enjoy our final night in the fresh air. We were intending to sit around the pool and decided to stop at the bar to order some beer. It turned out the table HAD been set for us, but the candle had been blown out. The wine was REALLY cold from sitting in the ice bucket for so long…

We sat outside until the wee hours of the morning, talking and laughing. We face-timed Jim, thinking he might be at the Enactus Pub, but he was working in his office. We had a great chat. We also laughed uproariously while we went outside to try a selfie in front of the Centre of Africa monument. We had tried to take a selfie earlier in the week with the Supermoon, and created the hashtag #womenover40shouldnottakeselfies.

Eventually, we decided it was time to go to bed and get organized to leave the following day. When in my room, I was able to connect with D’Arcy, Olivia, and Evan. Alex was at Claire’s and Sarah was at Nutcracker rehearsal. It felt good to talk to them and because I was on my way home, Olivia wasn’t too traumatized by speaking with me on video rather than text.

The week flew by so quickly and I’m sure we learned as much as the participants did. I will incorporate some of the things I learned in to my classes when I have returned to Pictou Campus. (“Pasha” energizers and more…) I can’t wait to bring some of my Enactus students here next year to share my love of this country and culture.

This particular project continues until 2018 and my Enactus group will be a separate project. This is only the beginning and I can’t wait to see the empowerment and learning our partnerships will bring in the future!



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