Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Back to the communities!

I thought it was time to once again uptake my pursuit in blog writing. It has been a long time since I have last written an update. Very briefly, I spent 2 years living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from October 2013 until October 2015. During that time I worked with both Plan International and VSO International as the Manager of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning.

What started out as a volunteer position turned into a full time job. While I am very grateful for my experience working for international development agencies, I missed learning and working directly with communities. Nonetheless, I learned a lot about operating on a large scale, networking, fundraising and maintaining. Below are some pictures of my time in Tanzania.
Bundling greens with women in Morogoro

Cafe in Zanzibar with friends from VSO

My partner that I met in Tanzania (Andrew)

A night out with friends

A Tanzanian wedding, congratulations Nelson!

Working hard by the beach

Political rally right outside my house 

I am now back in Canada, once again planning for my return to East Africa, though this time I hope to follow the dream that was born back in 2012, to start up my own non-profit organization in clean energy technology, specifically charcoal briquette making. I wanted to post my journey online so people could follow along with me, and keep me accountable to actually turn this plan into reality.
The first step, while in Canada, is to figure out whether there is a need for this business. Though I have always thought there was through literature and my experience living in East Africa, I need to go and talk to the people as well as interview other companies doing similar work to get a better idea of the barriers and challenges. A partnership may be better than forging it alone.

I visited some smaller scale projects while I was in Kenya. Here are some local farmers in Nakuru, pyrolyzing the organic waste themselves, where they make and use their own substitute for charcoal.

My inspiration to return is really founded in the people I met while I lived in Nairobi in 2011/12, many of whom I am still in touch with today. This, intertwined with the people was the lively culture. Tho there is mass poverty, sickness and death all around you, there was also amazing hope there and such an energy, that I really cannot describe with words. Nairobi is a hub for technology, social enterprises, new ideas and innovation. I am very excited to start thinking about returning there.
My small family, back in Canada

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