Meeting the president (well almost) and leaving Tanzania

I was due to fly to Dar from Tanga. I arrived at the airport early to find that it was surprisingly busy with at least 10 cars there (bear in mind Tanga airport sees about 3 flights a day and each plane holds a maximum of about 14 people so this is a lot of cars). When giving them my bags to check-in I had to open them up and have them searched – this is unheard of at Tanga airport so I laughed about it with the guy. Turns out that the president was due to land there at 5pm! My flight was due to leave at 4pm but I was told there was a 20min delay which was cutting it a bit fine.

More and more people started to arrive – there was a lady cleaning the runway with a dirty rag before they put down this really tatty red carpet. Next came the dancers and the band and thousands of people – I didn’t know that many people even lived in Tanga!

I got introduced to the District Commissioner and the local MP who both seemed very friendly. 4.30pm came and went – still no sign of our plane – we assumed that it had been stopped at Pemba the stop before us (these small planes are a bit like buses and make multiple stops on route) until the president had landed. Then at 4.45 we saw our bags being pushed out onto the runway. Our plane landed at 4.50pm – I felt sorry for the people getting off as they weren’t going anywhere in a hurry as the roads out were completely blocked.

To our surprise we then boarded the plane and we were told – the president is coming now. So we and the pilot assumed that we were just going to wait until he had landed – but no we were told – go take off quickly. So we did just as we were exiting the airports flight circuit we saw the president’s plan enter it! So close to us – I had visions of us crashing into it. I might have been dead but I would have become infamous as one of the people who killed the president! Only in Tanzania!!!!!

The week in Dar was fairly uneventful – very boring as I had to write up the business plan in a word report. I hate writing word reports with a passion so motivation was a struggle. I watched the movie Out of Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Good movie but very unrealistic – no market in Africa is that clean – there are always rotten fruit/veg on the floor – but I guess you have to give them some poetic licence. Even though I knew the story and knew he died it still didn’t stop me crying about it – sign that I was feeling very tired and emotional. Felt better afterwards.

Went out for dinner one evening with Abi and her boss Justin and was getting the sales pitch about Gatsby and the development work they do. I have to admit it does actually sound quite interesting but it really depends on the role I think. I am meeting up with Justin to talk more when I am back in the UK and I am sure Abi with be talking to me more when we climb kili.


About becksupeverest

Took a leave of absence from work and decided to work as a volunteer in Tanzania based in Korogwe, a small town in the northeast of the country (combined with some travels around East Africa). The project is to look at the cost base, strategy and business plan of a tree nursery NGO - one of the Gatsby Foundation projects.
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