Latest from Tanzania – the rural/urban divide

Dar es Salaam construction
This photo is by ke1jzer

Adrian writes from Dar es Salaam

‘Dar’ is a dynamic city and a window on how Tanzania is developing – at least in the capital. Every time I visit I’m struck by new buildings suddenly appearing like mushrooms, new roads and new foreign investment: a little disorienting for the infrequent visitor, but encouraging evidence of growth and development! The story in rural areas – the vast extent of this country – is very different, at least if you just go on what you can see around you. But dig a little deeper and you find inspiring examples of enterprise, as the ripples of this development and the impact of the jobs it brings flow out into rural areas.

And it’s not outside intervention causing these ripples, but the inherent underlying community-focussed culture of this beautiful country that we have to thank. People in the city and those with jobs take their responsibility to look after their ‘extended family’ very seriously – often at great personal sacrifice. Nearly everyone I meet will be sending part of their income to family living in poorer rural areas. The power of education is really appreciated as an investment in the next generation, and we come across many people who eek out their modest income to pay for their sibling’s children to go to school.

Seeing this in action is quite humbling and makes me realise how far the ‘Me Me’ culture we see in many so-called ‘developed’ countries has taken us away from a real connection with our own communities and families. It’s this focus on community that we hope to tap into, as we work with people on the ground, to harvest some of their great creativity, drive and enthusiasm – and their invaluable insights into what they need. Not on the large scale development of the smart new office blocks in ‘Dar’, but small ideas that might just make a big difference to everyday lives.