Arusha

This week has been crazy.  The lack of electricity and internet access have made blogging a bit difficult so I apologize for falling off the face of the planet.  I’m in an internet cafe and don’t have much time left so let me give you a quick update on my life.

Last Saturday I traveled from Dar es Salaam to Arusha, Tanzania.  I arrived at the bus station 30 minutes early for my “7:00 AM bus”.  We left at 9:30 because we had to fill every seat.  The bus was fine except we stopped every few minutes to pick up people on the way.  And the guy I was sitting next to had some serious BO.  I mean serious, there’s no way this guy had showered in the last week.  And in Dar you stink after that long because it’s HOT.  Anyway, it was a cultural experience and we made it to Arusha with no problems.

In Arusha I’ve been staying with a missionary family.  It’s been nice spending time with English speakers, eating familiar food and being around other believers.  On Sunday they took me to their church that the father is pastoring temporarily.  It was definitely the simplest church I’ve ever been in.  There were around 10 people in the congregation plus the 6 members of the missionary family. And me.  Half the walls were missing because of termites.  And the entire church service was in Swahili so didn’t get too much from the message.  But it was a great experience seeing people worship in a very setting.  Definitely a change from our American mega-churches.

On Monday and Tuesday I did a couple of focus groups around Same, Tanzania (pronounced Sa-me).  The village I went to was an hour off the main road and I loved seeing the countryside.  We only had 1 flat tire on the way.  The focus groups went well and I received the same reaction as usual… “When will you bring us these stoves?”  I can see firsthand that the products Paradigm provides really benefit the communities.  Even the NGO workers want the stoves to use for themselves!

The last couple days I’ve been in Arusha meeting with various organizations.  Arusha is so much better than Dar es Salaam it’s ridiculous.  The heat and mosquitoes in Dar are just too much for me.  Arusha is right at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro so the climate is much cooler and everything is green.  That probably explains why so many NGOs are headquartered here.  It’s been great meeting with these organizations and seeing their interest in the product and working with us.

On Saturday I go back to Dar es Salaam for some more focus groups next week.  Thankfully I’m only there for 1 week before I head to Zanzibar.  Supposedly they have great beaches so I might have to extend my stay by a couple of days 🙂  I can’t promise any more posts soon because of my technical difficulties but that’s what I’ve been up to the last week.

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