Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Beach Sighting!!

Emily E.

Well it was another bright and early day in Dar! After a scalding hot and then freezing cold shower, we were off to breakfast. We were all dressed quite smartly as we were meeting with important people again. Little did we know that our own lives were about to change and we were about to also become important people. That's right. We opened the paper this morning, and there were our smiling faces on the third page! And thank goodness the article was in English because on the news last night we had trouble deciphering what they were saying about us! Granted, we did see a lot of Douglas' and Connor's smiling faces, so it couldn't have been too bad! After leaving the hotel we saw that we were also in a second paper, much to our own surprise, and the newspaper buying frenzy started again! So parents, when we grace you with our presence again, we will be Tanzanian celebrities! (I think the article will be online, the name of the paper is The Guardian. Try and look it up!)

Our first stop was the Tanzanian Investment Corp (TIC). However, Chris L. got to go back to the doctor. The TIC visit, it was quite interesting. We learned what all Tanzania has to offer to both international and domestic investors. From the briefing, it appears that Tanzania is on the verge of breaking into broader economic markets which is very exciting for them. But, the most exciting part of this briefing was when one of our very intelligent students asked our lecturer about a piece of legislation we had learned about at the US Embassy yesterday. Our lecturer had never heard of it and it greatly impacted his business. Quoting Mr. Mengi yesterday, this is what he would call a "communication failure." TIA people, TIA.

We then embarked on our journey on the bus where a fierce game of Battle of the Sexes Trivial Pursuit ensued. I would say that the boys were much more into it than the girls but of course the girls dominated. Never a doubt.

We arrived at our destination, the Paradise Hotel, in Bagamoyo, which was on the beach! We had a delicious lunch with a Mexican theme provided by our host, Mr. Mahad Nur. After lunch we all ran out to the beach and I think we each dipped at least one toe into the Indian Ocean, and it of course felt different than any other ocean we had ever touched. But after our frolic along the beach we returned to the Paradise Hotel Conference Room where our host gave a wonderful talk about his road to success and his current ventures. I was immediately struck by his story because he has overcome so much. At one point in his professional career he owned two very prosperous factories, that both accidentally burned down within a span of five weeks, and this occurred at a time when there was no insurance. He no longer had any assets. Now, he is a very prosperous hotel manager with hotels and other investments all around the country. The fact that he was able to overcome so much adversity was truly inspiring and I can only hope that all of us will have the courage to persevere when we encounter such hurdles.

The hurdle we encountered on the way home was surviving a bus ride that included a broken air conditioner and 13 of us singing at the top of our lungs in about 80 degree heat. We persevered, nobody passed out, and Dr. G did not jump out the window in an effort to save himself.

Sadly, it was the last day of business meetings and dressing up in the heat. However, through some strange logic the homework continues! Bummer. Oh well, all in all, it was a great day and tomorrow we head to the beach! Get excited!

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