Throughout this IBD trip in Tanzania, we have been fortunate to meet some extremely talented and helpful people. In the past two weeks, we have met people from NGOs, small businesses, and government agencies. I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of interest and hospitality that the Tanzanian people have shown us. I will share one of the many positive experiences that I have had with the people here.
To understand the market for animal feed in Tanzania, our team had to reach out to a few small entrepreneurs in the poultry business. After I found a few contacts on Google, I called a small business owner named Mr. Charles. After hearing about our project on the phone, Mr. Charles personally came to our hotel for a meeting that evening. He also invited some of his friends in the feed industry and within the hour, they were all at our hotel. After a thorough discussion, he promised to send a car the next morning that would take us to poultry farms and feed manufacturers so that we could get a better sense of the industry. The very next morning, one of his friends appeared to escort us to the farms. Our drive to these farms took more than 2 hours, and the entire time, I was suspicious that there was a catch. I was sure that the friend would either ask for money or some other favor. At the end of the day, I offered to pay for the driver and the car, but the friend mentioned that Mr. Charles had taken care of everything, and we didn’t need to worry about it.
But the longer I’ve been here, the more I’m beginning to understand why Mr. Charles did what he did. The welcoming nature of the Tanzanians is embedded in their culture. In Kiswahilli, the word for welcome is “karibu” and I hear it from almost everyone I meet. In the last two weeks, I have been extremely impressed by how welcoming the people in Tanzania have been.