“Polite, considerate and friendly”

July 30, 2019 | Valérie, Développement international et mondialisation, Tanzanie, Uniterra, Friends in Development (FIDE) - Communications and Documentation Officer

Whereas most people associate Tanzania with wildlife and landscapes, the thing I will remember the most about Tanzania is the generosity and friendliness of the people here. “Polite, considerate and friendly” are words often used to describe Canadians and those seem to apply perfectly to Tanzanians as well. There are 120 ethnic groups and therefore 120 tribal languages in Tanzania, which makes the country the second most ethnically diverse in the world. Despite this diversity, Tanzanians live such in harmony with one and another. Once again, this makes me think of Canada as it is perceived by many, myself included, as a multicultural country that embraces all races, ethnicities and religions.

If not for the people, I will miss Tanzania for its food which is very simple and yet so rich in taste. Living in the small city that is Babati, I have had the opportunity to eat local dishes every day, whether it was rice and beans with milk tea (black tea infused in boiled milk) for lunch or chips mayai (omelet filled with fries) for dinner.

The work culture in Tanzania was definitely a challenge throughout my whole mandate and even after 3 months, I can’t really say that I got used to it. For instance, being productive all the time isn’t a thing, whereas frequent tea breaks and 2h lunches are. During these 2h lunches, everyone eats together, and no one brings their own food unless they are willing to share with the whole office. Also, no one tells you what you are supposed to do and you are expected to create work for yourself. Last but not least, everything takes time here and you can’t rely on schedules. This is where the whole “hakuna matata” saying means more than just “no worries” – it also refers to time as in “do not rush”. Without a doubt, the latter has made my work more difficult and longer than it could have been.

However, when looking back at all the tasks I have achieved, I have done more than the Uniterra team and I had anticipated in my work plan.

In fact, in 3 months I have:

• Redone completely the website;
• Updated the website and social medias weekly;
• Developed a Gender Equality Policy and presented it to the staff and board;
• Designed a newsletter;
• Developed participants form to track the gender, age group and knowledge level on specific subjects of beneficiaries at trainings and meetings;
• Conducted interviews with beneficiaries to see how their situation improved;
• Created a guide on how to use WordPress for my coworkers.

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