If you haven’t been following my Twitter stream you may wonder where I’ve been. Well, right this moment I’m in Singida in northern Tanzania, sitting at a desk in ActionAid’s district office here. All is going well with Project TOTO.
Today (D5) we’ve drove north from the capital Dodoma, headed for Mwanza on Lake Victoria. I reckon I’ll only get to post meaningful — or at least lengthy — material once I get a few hours to myself. And I’ve no idea when that’s likely to happen.
It’s half-way through my time in Tanzania and we’ve travelled half the country it seems. I can’t post much while on the move — have you ever tried to type on a netbook while your 4WD is doing 60km/h down a dodgy temporary road dodging b-double petrol trucks which suddenly emerge from the dust right in front of you? So I’ve decided instead to take copious notes — mental, pictorial and on paper — and let the writing emerge once I return to Sydney.
Meanwhile, check out the photos Lena Aahlby took, posted over at Archie Law’s blog.
Before Project TOTO takes me to Tanzania — in just 20 hours — I had to get ActionAid Australia‘s blogs online. Done! With, oh, hours to spare!
Stressed much? Oh yes!
Archie@ActionAid is the new personal blog of CEO Archie Law. His first post, From Melbourne to New York, Phnom Penh, Johannesburg and back, reveals his not-very-secret musical background and why he’s dedicated a good chunk of his life to the international humanitarian and development sector.
It’s Archie’s first entrance into the blogosphere so, please, have a read and let him know what you’d like to hear about. You can also follow Archie on Twitter.
If you’re interested in the technical details, read on…
Continue reading “First ActionAid blog online”
It’s D-7 for Project TOTO, and I’m stressed beyond all belief. It’s now less than a week until I leave for Africa, and my Farewell Party is tomorrow. Meanwhile, the astoundingly clever First Dog on the Moon at Crikey has contributed a morale-building cartoon.
Click through for the full-sized image.
Yes, I still have thousands of things to do. But it’s Friday night and I’m exhausted, so I’ll tell you all about it in the morning. Probably.
Meanwhile, I’d live to know what you’re thinking about Project TOTO, so have a look at the previous posts and say stuff and ask questions and things.
And if you’re wondering who the people quoted are, try @mpesce, @snarkyplatypus, @kcarruthers and @apostrophepong. And also click through to ActionAid Australia for The Good Cause.
It’s D-9 for Project TOTO. My international itinerary has been set and, thanks to some clueful bookings, we’ve squeezed in an extra day for preparation. I leave Sydney next Friday afternoon 26 June.
It seems today I’ll also finally finish the stressful non-TOTO tasks that have interfered with pretty much everything in my life. Provided no-one tosses any more hand grenades in my direction, I’ll therefore have more writing and a clearer plan later today — both for the preparation and for my time in Tanzania.
OK, the timetable and the plan as it stands…
There’s three main ways to fly from Sydney to Dar es Salaam. One goes through Perth and Johannesburg. Another goes via Dubai and Nairobi. But the plan which best suits our needs goes via Bangkok in three flights.
- Depart Sydney on Friday 26 June at 1530 via Thai Airways, arriving in Bangkok at 2155 local time. My last trip to Bangkok was the same flight, TG996, but the old Boeing 747 has been replaced by a Boeing 777. If we get phonecasting working I’ll try posting a podcast while flying across outback Australia using the aircraft’s satellite link.
- Depart Bangkok at 0035 via Kenya Airways, arriving in Nairobi on Saturday 27 June at 0605. I’ll sleep across the Indian Ocean, and wake up to the sight of dawn over Kenya from 10km up.
- Depart Nairobi at 0805 via Kenya Airways to touch down in Dar es Salaam at 0920 local time. What a great time to arrive!
From there, the schedule is still as in the project briefing: Saturday to orient myself; Sunday to Zanzibar; Monday and Tuesday in Dar es Salaam working with the ActionAid Tanzania guys; and then Wednesday through Saturday looking at the field projects. I’ve got Sunday 5 July to myself in Dar es Salaam before flying home the way I came.
But I’ve still got lots to do before that…
Continue reading “We have flights! And almost a plan!”
A few people were talking on Twitter about ActionAid Australia‘s newly-painted office on Parramatta Road, Camperdown in Sydney. So here’s a picture.
My plan to blog daily hasn’t gone so well, but yesterday’s briefing session at ActionAid Australia went just fine. My head is exploding with information and possibilities. Here’s the brain dump.
- Assuming everything goes to plan, I’ll arrive in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday 27 June. Two weeks from today. So I leave Sydney in about 12 days, flying (probably) via Perth and South Africa.
- I’ll have most of Saturday to myself to relax and get used to the idea of, you know, being in goddam motherfucking Africa. I’ll also catch up with ActionAid Australia researcher Lena Aahlby, who’s heading over a week before me.
- Sunday 28 June is orientation day with ActionAid Tanzania. “Great, meetings on a Sunday,” I thought. But no. We’re catching the ferry to Zanzibar, like where there’s fabulous tropical beaches, to see for myself that right next to those 5-star resorts there’s the most abject poverty.
- ActionAid Tanzania has chosen two people to be their first official bloggers. They’re based in Dar es Salaam, but travel regularly to all the field projects. One specialises in policy and governance, the other in communications. They can show us the real situation in poor rural areas, sure, but also explain why poverty continues.
- I’ll spend Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 June working with these guys to set up their blogs and introduce them to “social media culture”, for want of a word. We’ll do that in the Dar es Salaam office, where we’ll still have the 1Mb link and access to shops if we’re missing anything.
- For the rest of the week, we’ll travel Tanzania by 4WD and small aircraft, visiting as many field projects as we can fit in. The exact itinerary is still being worked out, but one priority is heading up to the north-west border to Lake Victoria and, oh, Rwanda. I’ve heard of that.
- My plan is that we’ll all post something at least once a day, words and at least one picture. Maybe we can post some video. I’ll be sending a bazillion tweets via my Twitter stream. But we’re also working on something special in the podcasting department, which I’ll tell you about later today.
- Since I’m only in the country a short time, I’ll be trying to connect the bloggers to as many people as possible. We’ve already discovered that ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke) has one of their people blogging from Dar es Salaam, Pernille Baerndtsen — though of course she brings a European perspective.
So there you have it. Over the next 12 days I’ll be telling you what we’re doing and how you can help and so on. I will try to stick to my planned regime of daily posts.
There will be a going-away party announced soon too because, as Kate Carruthers so delightfully put it, “Let’s face it, you might get killed.” Cheers, Kate.
Oh, and ActionAid Australia also gave me a cultural briefing on Tanzania.
[Photos: Lutheran church in Dar es Salaam by Greenery; Lake Victoria, Tanzania, by Marc Veraart. Both used under a Creative Commons license.]