The rain has just passed, the sun is slowly coming out, and the wind is decreasing. Soon the sky will be blue again and the temperature will rise. I’m sitting on the balcony, looking at the palm trees, and listening to the songs from the birds. Today I have been in Tanzania for two months. I am back in Dar es Salaam.
For the past five weeks, I have been travelling around Tanzania, working on my projects, making interviews, talking to people. My first impression when I arrive here was that people are very friendly and helpful, and this view remains. In all places I have been, I have made many new friends. People say that the Tanzanians are peaceful and warm people, and I am keen to agree.
Nevertheless, there are many problems facing people here in Tanzania. Corruption is common, poverty is widespread, children are out of schools, and every day some people fight for survival. They struggle to meet their basic needs. Some people in the villages just eat once in a day. The food is simple: ugali (a local porridge of maize flour) or perhaps rice and beans. If being lucky, maybe they can add some vegetables, fruits, or eggs. It varies from one day to another. Moreover, the value of the dollar is increasing right now, and it does affect the Tanzanians. The Tanzanian shilling is getting weaker. Food, hygiene articles, medicine, oil etc. are likely to become increasingly expensive. The external support they were receiving from other countries is weakened. For some of the people, life is hard.
Frequently, people ask me for money. They hope that I could help them. They think that the solution might come from external givers: that we in the West have the money and capacity. I understand how they think, and in some senses they are right. We are extremely lucky to be born where we were born. But I do not believe that the solution is external support in that way. I believe that Tanzania has all the potential to decrease the gaps, reduce poverty, and to prosper. Tanzania has resources, they have human capacity, they have willingness to develop, and the people want to have a good and peaceful life. The main problem is that many are lacking capital and/or knowledge how to proceed with their future objectives. And there, I believe external support could help, to give the main tools for development. Then, external support could be sustainable, and help in the long-term perspective.
Even so, the way towards sustainable development might be a long journey to walk for Tanzania. But change could also happen very fast here. Already, I notice that there is a shift in people’s mindsets and many Tanzanian I talked to believe that good education and equality is vital for their future development.
In October this year there is an election in Tanzania. My fingers are crossed that people will use their right to vote, and that good governance, provision of political goods, and human rights will be prioritized and implemented by the political party that wins.