DAY 9 IN TANZANIA – FEB 2, 2013

This morning we are able to sleep in until 7 am.  After breakfast we spend some time talking together as a team.  The three of us were able to talk with Patti about our Safari experience.  Patti went on Safari last May – during her first trip out to Tanzania.  After that Tom, Steve and I packed for a trip to Dar Es Salaam for a meeting of the Tanzania Board of STEMM.  About 10:15 the three of us leave for the airport near Arusha.  We fly out a little after noon and arrive a bit after 1 pm.  At the airport we meet Nai, a member of the board.  The other member is Lazaro Nyalandu, one of the founders of STEMM.  Lazaro is now the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania.  We are scheduled to meet at 8:30 pm.  I have a feeling it will be a late night.

After we land the four of us get a taxi and head to our hotel downtown.  Soon we find ourselves in a traffic jam and it takes a lot longer to get to our hotel than what we thought it would.  We arrive a little after 3 and decide the best use of our time would be to review the educational guidelines together and offer suggested changes to the TZ Board.  After a couple of hours of review we decide to take a break and plan to meet for supper at 7:30.  About 7 I learn that Lazaro has called and would like us to have a supper meeting about 7:30.  He will send a car to pick us up.  Maybe it won’t be as late as I anticipate!

At 7:30ish the driver arrives and takes us to the hotel/restaurant.  We are lead to a lounge area on the second floor.  We wait and visit for a while and then Lazaro’s wife, Faraja, arrives.  We visit with her for a time and then head down to the restaurant.  We visit around the table waiting for Lazaro.  We are informed that he is meeting with the Vice President of TZ in preparation for their trip to the USA tomorrow.  They will be heading off at 5 pm to attend the National Prayer Breakfast.  Lazaro also has plans to meet with Rep. Steve King.  (If you check his web site under “media – photos” you will see a picture of him with the VP and Lazaro.)   Faraja tells us we should go ahead and order.  Lazaro arrives around 9 pm.  After our meal we have the TZ Board meeting.

It was a good meeting with a number of issues discussed.  One of the big issues we would like to get a handle on is the license for the orphanage.  So far we have filed paper work two times and have not heard anything further.  Lazaro will have someone look into it.  That is significant for two reasons: 1) we want to have the license so that we can legally operate the orphanage; and 2) we want the license so that we don’t have to pay the VAT (Value Added Tax – without the license we need to pay and additional tax on everything we buy.  With plans to continue building the orphanage and the need to replace our vehicle we would be able to save a significant amount of tax dollars if we had our license.)  Following our meeting we head back to our hotel.  Turns out I was right about it being a late night.

While we were in Dar, the other team members played with the children at the orphanage.  Lathan has been working with Steve to plan a couple of test plots: one of soybeans and the other of sunflowers.  He has been busy sprinkling those plots and keeping an eye on them.  He hopes to see a least a couple of plants sprout before we leave.  In the afternoon the team and the Wileys and Meyers go to the Massai market in Shambarai.