Monday, August 17, 2015

Nane Nane

We have electricity today!
 (knock wood)

 For the past few weeks, the power has been cutting out in the morning and (usually) returning in the evening. This happens regularly, but not quite regularly enough to predict when our neighborhood will have a few hours of power and when we’ll sit in the dark. TANESCO, Tanzania Electrical Supply Company Limited, has commented only vaguely on the outages. Official word is that they’re overhauling the infrastructure, and they’ll be done in December or in “we even don’t know” depending on whom you ask.

Anyway, now seems like a good opportunity to post some details from the Nane Nane agricultural festival. The festival started on August 1st and built up to a climax on the eighth—8/8, or “Nane Nane” in Swahili. Twende and GCS demonstrated and sold products from a tent in the main fairgrounds surrounded by other tents with food, agricultural machinery, music, and dozens of other vendors. Our workshop is also in another corner of the festival grounds, so we spent the week surrounded by the celebration. Due to power outages, we weren’t able to get enough shellers manufactured to sell at the tent, but we drummed up plenty of interest with a bicycle set up for people to try out. The machine performed consistently for the whole week that it was on display, and we’re starting to receive calls from people who heard about it and want to know more.

When we weren’t busy demonstrating products or greeting guests to the workshop, we explored the festival grounds, learning about other agricultural organizations and tasting tasty things grown across Tanzania. During the day, the grounds were packed with families, school children, and vendors selling an interesting mix of anything from electric juicers to secondhand jeans. In the evenings, bars and restaurants from around the city promoted themselves with temporary stages for dancers and competitions. We had an exciting week, but between the long work days and the hectic energy of the festival, I think we were all ready for a bit of rest and quiet by the end.

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