29 September 2014

soda follows me wherever i go.

My father worked for Pepsi in the United States for nearly 30 years. I worked for Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) in Plano, Texas for 5 years. Then I moved to Tanzania in East Africa, expecting to leave the bubbly world of soda behind me.

But I was wrong. Soda followed me 8,568 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, from one continent to another.

22 September 2014

are you a missioner if you don't like going to church?

It’s Saturday night. Maybe we’re having a quiet night at home, just the two of us. We might be out with friends, enjoying dinner and meeting new people. No matter what we’re up to, the inevitable question always comes up…

“So, are we going to Mass tomorrow?”

our church: the church of the uganda martyrs in kiseke.

15 September 2014

on the street, in the village, and back again.

The core work I do is teach entrepreneurship and the process of starting and running a group business, and then help Tanzanians establish and implement their business ideas. Primarily I do this work with young mothers - girls who dropped out of secondary school due to pregnancy - struggling to provide for their child and stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty. But from time to time other organizations ask me to impart this same learning and methodology on their beneficiaries, or to consult on business management.

Most recently I have kicked-off the group enterprise process with a new batch of young mothers, led business skills training for young men living on the street, and facilitated a five-year strategic plan for a local nonprofit organization. The past month has been quite busy, so I thought I'd share an update.

michael introducing a topic on the reasons that many small businesses fail.

08 September 2014

one of these things is not like the other.

In an attempt to make some friends, Michael and I have been stretching ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and meet new people. Although we live in a neighborhood that is overwhelmingly Tanzanian, we’re finding more ex-pats like ourselves each time we step out of our small bubble. 

On one hand, it’s a great opportunity to mix and mingle with Americans and Westerners. We get the chance to speak our own language and relax in a multi-cultural setting where we largely share the same values, norms, and even, traditions.

At the same time, we’ve struggled with these get-togethers. It seems that the more we explore, the less we fit in.

01 September 2014

the real cost of giving.

We are often asked for money by complete strangers. Everyday, actually. It may be a child yelling, "Give me my money!" Or it may be our neighbor sending their child over to collect money for sugar. And plenty more.

On one hand the preponderance of such requests can become overwhelming, if not downright annoying. But on the other, each request offers us a chance to be charitable.