A Bumpy Ride

The long and winding road to The Tanga International Conference Centre has lots of bumps in it and my head comes dangerously close to the car roof several times. It twists through a village with dogs barking, children coming back from school in their blue uniforms, chicken running around, goats chewing and cows looking at you with wonder.

The Centre is the most perfect example of societal entrepreneurship I know of. The form of association is a Limited company, but the purpose is to create sustainable development in the region so profits will go back to the centre. Although it has not been officially opened, it has begun to take guests and we are honoured to be among the first ones.

During our Metafari Ruth Nesje, one of the entrepreneurs, realised that she could use the termite mound as a metaphor for the centre. Lot’s of people building together, although much of the work is not visible. People visiting, coming in through one hole and leaving through another, transformed. A constant building site, because the organisation is developing.

Ruth has been working in the region on and off for more than 20 years. She has done projects on how to develop new pedagogical methods for teaching about HIV/AIDS in the schools, she has improved the healthcare, organised orphanages, started business groups and much more. The centre is really just the tip of the iceberg (if such a metaphor can be used in this climate). However, it has not come easy and there are still so many things to do before the President can come and lay the foundation stone for the big conference hall.

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