I am back in Dar after spending almost a week in Nairobi and a few days in Arusha. Nairobi was cold, and as my bus got closer and closer to the coast upon returning to Dar, I was shocked at how hot Dar was—I didn’t think I would have forgotten in only a week! I had a great time in Nairobi attending the Africa and Middle East Microfinance Summit. For 4 days, I attended lectures, seminars, and workshops starting in the mornings and lasting until the evenings. I learned a ton, and afterwards I was completely exhausted. There were lots of laudable people there—not only Muhammad Yunus, but also the president of Kenya, the Queen of Spain, the Princess of the Netherlands, the former president of Peru, the VP of The Gambia and the heads/ CEOs of basically all the big microfinance institutions. There were over 1500 delegates from about different 80 countries! I don’t know how to say this, but it was kind of a big deal. Oh, and I met Prof. Yunus and got a picture with him!
This is me standing in front of Kenyatta International Conference Center
The four days of the conference flew by because we were so busy everyday. When I got to Arusha on Sunday afternoon (we came back on a more reliable bus and I reached Arusha after only 5 hours) I was thankful that I had time to just relax and recuperate. The best way to do this, of course, was to find myself some ice coffee—that actually had ice! I spent the rest of the day finishing my book and drinking coffee in a coffee shop.
That evening, I got a call from my MCC reps. I was in Arusha to meet with them, but they weren’t going to make it back to Arusha until late in the week so we had to have our meeting on the phone. I learned that they had just been in Dodoma, and the other MCC family who is working there wants me to come and join them to help with a project. They have tried to start a savings/loan program with a group of women from the church, but have failed. They want me to come and do some data collection about the situation—about the clients and their businesses—to see what can be improved to make the program successful. I am very excited about this, because I might actually be able to apply some of my newly acquired knowledge about micrfiance! I also just found out that I will be living in a house with two other volunteers from the states, I will have my own room, I’ll be living a simple 7-minute walk from the church, I get a bike if I want, and we do out own cooking! Sounds pretty good to me. I’ll be moving on May 1st…
(Note: if you want to send me anything by mail, please don’t use my Dar address anymore. You can use the Arusha address that is on my prayer card, or hopefully I’ll find out a mailing address for Dodoma soon)