Monday, September 1, 2008

The Power of the Internet

9/1 – Well, happy September to everyone!  Last week was pretty chaotic, with people visiting from South Africa and our inter-web being down for about half the week.  It’s mildly disconcerting how much I rely on the internet for work, and this black-out period has really brought that unsavory fact home.  I forget how people dealt before the advent of such a time consuming tool?  Lots of snail mail and newspapers, I imagine. 

So, enough orating.  The last week of August has been productive, though not as productive as I would have hoped.  The contractor with whom I’ve been communicating on the Matonyok project failed to show up for a meeting late last week, which means that we might have to pursue a new course of action.  Unfortunately, many of our prospective contractors are either American or Dutch, and the Tanzanian government taxes non-natives some exorbitant rate which in the end will drive the bottom line of the project up quite a bit.  Something about native employment rates which, in the end, makes quite a bit of sense – since why would an NGO planning on helping Tanzania pursue ex-pat architects and contractors?  We still have yet a few contractors to contact who are Tanzanian and who will hopefully sign on to this project, but we need the structure built by December and fully functional by February.  

On another note, I was invited to a gathering at Matonyok on Sunday where members of the board of the Trust were trying to raise enough money for a new running water source – about 350,000 Tsh.  However, and what I found particularly interesting, was that they made a conscious effort to not rely on international support for the project.  Rather, they plan to raise the funds from within Tanzania, among their friends and neighbors.  This ‘ground up’ approach is something that I really haven’t seen among many organizations in the area, and I commend Emmy and N’demno on their perspicacity.  

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