We left SFO bound for Dar es Salaam on Thursday, May 10th. Our flight schedule required a long layover in Amsterdam, so we decided to explore the city. We rented bikes and road around Vondelpark and Museumplein. We then went to the Van Gogh museum before grabbing a beer at an outdoor café.
The next morning we flew to Dar es Salaam and settled into our hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean.
On Monday, we were finally able to put a name to a face as we met the Kilikmanjaro International team. We kicked off the project by presenting our work to date and outlining what we planned to accomplish in the coming three weeks.
Our client team took us out to a local lunch spot on our first day to sample Tanzanian food. We had mishkaki (skewers of meat or fish, traditionally beef), rice, potatoes, beans, and bananas.
Early in the week, we introduced some of the frameworks we would be using with our clients, including the ever-so-colorful PFPS Business Model Canvas. It started out pretty empty but quickly became more colorful.
We even got approval of the locals!
We also used several other tools we had learned in other classes, including a triangulation exercise we learned in Strategic Brand Management. After laying out the foundation, we began interviewing various stakeholders of the company. Our client was incredibly supportive of us meeting as many people as possible. We met with all of the internal directors, past clients, competitors, and even USAID (United States Agency for International Development). Everyone that we met expressed sincere gratitude that we had come to Tanzania to help a local company grow. It was humbling and encouraging to hear the excitement everyone had for our project!
As we conducted interviews throughout the week, we started noticing recurring themes from the stakeholders. Our ideas for the business plan (our main client deliverable) were starting to form.
Every evening, we ventured out of our hotel for dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to learn how international Dar es Salaam really was. In our first week alone, we had Thai, Ethiopian, Lebanese, Japanese, and, at the request of the client, American food.
On Friday, Vivien, John and I left for Arusha, another city in Tanzania that was an hour flight from Dar es Salaam. Chris stayed in Dar because he had recently gone on safari; but, Dave Tischler was able to join our team. We were picked up by Eli, our amazing tour guide, in an exotic Toyota safari jeep.
We stayed at a beautiful hotel in Arusha, ready to begin our Adventure Level 5 safari.
We visited Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater. Some of the highlights include watching a family of elephants cross the street right in front of our jeep:
Seeing hundreds of zebras up close. Some of them were resting their necks on one another:
Watching the sun rise over Ngorongoro Crater:
Watching lions mating on their “honeymoon” (quote from our guide):
Having lunch by a lake full of hippos:
And, the rare sighting of a cheetah:
After an exciting weekend, we drove back to the airport, arriving only 50 minutes before our flight. At the check-in counter, we were told that our flight had already departed. As this was that airline’s last flight of the day, we began a scurried attempt to find an alternative solution. We found another flight on a different airline and scrounged up enough Tanzanian Shillings for our tickets by pooling all of our resources (paying with cards was not an option).
In the end, we made it back to Dar only a couple hours late. We learned to challenge our expectations about how travel works in different parts of the world and we’re now better prepared for next weekend’s exciting adventure to Zanzibar.
With this much adventure in week one, we can’t wait to see what the next two weeks bring!