The week started with an important language lesson. I offered one of my colleagues a coffee and he didn’t seem to appreciate my gesture, and responded with a “no I definitely do not want a kofi!” I quickly discovered he thought I’d said kofi, which actually means a ‘slap’ in Swahili! Coffee is called kahawa in Swahili, so make sure I get it right in the future! I decided from this point I was definitely going to up my game in the learning of my new language.
This week I also learnt the time system they use here in many parts of Tanzania. Swahili time begins at dawn, or more precisely at 6am. In other words, 6am is their hour zero (and thus equivalent to our midnight), 7am in our time is actually one o’clock in Swahili and so on. I figured this would be crucial to ensure I turned up for meetings at the correct time.
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning Swahili since arriving in Tanzania and seem to be picking it up quite quickly, being that almost all my interactions are with locals rather than western people. So I have decided to take my learning of Swahili to the next level and amcurrently on the hunt for a teacher.
This week I have been formally introduced to the Rector of the Institute, Dr. Zacharia Mganilwa. We talked about his visions for the future of NIT, (he wants to increase the size of the pupil intake from 500 to 1500) and my objectives whilst I’m here. One in particular we discussed in-depth was the importance of improving the awareness of Health and Safety at NIT. Many meetings have been held with the Health and Safety committee previously but so far no objectives from meetings had been met. I have to engage people and find creative ways of keeping on site Health and Safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Overall the rector was a very pleasant man with a real passion for the overall development and progress of the institute, it’s nice to know I have his support.
Another first for me this week was my first bagaji ride, I think it’s crucial I try as many forms of transport while I am here in Dar, for the most part to aid my understanding of the city. But, if I’m really honest, bagajis are just seriously good fun and the best way to stay cool!