First of all, apologies for not posting for a weeks – I’m learning how easy it is to let something like this go: you have a few busy weekends and evenings and suddenly you don’t have time to write a post and then here we are 3 weeks later!
A few weeks ago I took a trip to Dar es Salaam, the main (but not capital) city of Tanzania to meet some people to further the project I am working on – the Ultimate Street Star Challenge. This was my first time there which was exciting as despite Mwanza being the second biggest city it is much, much smaller than Dar. It is also famous for it’s traffic with many crossroads where it is a battle of who is the bravest with their car without bumping the other person. However, things seemed fairly time during my time there – until our final trip to airport where the friend we had driving us must have known exactly how wide and long his car was as we wizzed through some pretty tight gaps!
I was there with my boss, Mutani who had been there plenty of times and could show me around. We had a selection of meetings with the British Council and other people who could support the project such as the Ministry for sports and national sports council as well as a marketing and corporate specialist who will hopefully help us to get sponsorship to run the tournament. In case anyone who is reading this works for a company wanting to sponsor a national street child football tournament in Tanzania with the aim of promoting street children’s rights feel free to get in touch….www.streetstarchallenge.org
We stayed in a place called ‘Econolodge’ which was a cheap (£8) per night hotel located pretty much right in the centre of Dar. This was really handy as it meant we could walk to all the meetings and to other areas in downtown Dar. And contrary to expectations of others that it was on top of (or was) a brothel, Econolodge was actually a really nice place to stay! My room was a nice size with balcony and private bathroom. Sure there was no mosquito net but then again I didn’t see or hear any mozzies and didn’t get bitten at all. The fan was a nice bonus in the heat and the shower had hot water. Overall I would definitely recommend it (http://www.econohotel.8m.com/index.html).
In my free time, I took a wander round Dar and took in a few things that I don’t see back in Mwanza: shopping centres, fast food restaurants, modern looking shops and a supermarket! I think craving being able to walk and shop in a supermarket is one of the things that shows you have been a place like Mwanza for a while – wandering round Sainsburys and getting all your shopping sometimes sneaks into your dreams! My shoprite experience was ameliorated by enjoying a bit of Hillsong (contemporary Christian worship music) playing in the background! Have to say though I was a little disappointed as they didn’t really have much I hadn’t found in Mwanza…although I did buy a doughnut from the deli counter just to experience that.
Wandering through Dar es Salaam centre is a bit of a strange experience – one moment you are on the busy main street, then a little further down that same street you are into the leafy, tree lined streets in the embassy quarter of town. I took a wander round passing the British high commission for a taste of home, through to the botanical gardens (just a green space with no botanical names or special plantations) and onto the coast. I got a bit lost on my way back and ended up at a golf course after realising there was more than a couple of tall buildings and dual carriageways so I couldn’t just follow these back to somewhere I knew!
So overall, a good trip and nice to experience Dar. We will be back soon as the project moves forward.