I’m back in Sydney. I’m almost caught up on sleep. Almost. It’s time to start writing about my Project TOTO journey to Tanzania for ActionAid Australia.
I’ll split my posts into two streams:
- Brief essays like my old Unreliable Bangkok series, which I’ll call Unreliable Tanzania. They’ll be personal reflections about my experiences in Tanzania, observing not just ActionAid’s work but also the people, society and country generally — as well as recording my own state of mind. They’ll be presented in rough chronological order, but will weave together thoughts from throughout the journey — much as I did in The Poverty Web.
- There’ll also be posts reflecting on Project TOTO itself. What worked? What didn’t? And, given that ActionAid is already looking for the next outreach blogger, how can we improve things for the next participant and generate more value for ActionAid?
In between, I’ll post my photos on the Project TOTO (ActionAid) Flickr group — but don’t rush there just yet, because currently there’s only photos from the farewell party, and that gives totally the wrong impression.
Now, having explained that framework, this very first Unreliable Tanzania will break the pattern by giving you a quick rundown of my itinerary — because things changed somewhat from the initial plan.
Continue reading “Unreliable Tanzania 1: Fatigue”
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.]