Thursday, June 28, 2012

06/28 - New Hotel - Happy Group

Things are much better.  Today we actually ended up walking out on our lodge.  It had gotten quite uncomfortable there.  Once we got the confirmation that we had rooms at the new place, The Silver Palm Hotel, we packed our bags and made as quick an exit as 6 people with 6 weeks worth of luggage can make from a place. We are now in safer, better surroundings actually in town in Arusha.  We are able to shower, our clothes have stayed dry and bug free thus far,  and we can get to our meetings or even walk to get food if we need to.
Random billboard for Epic Bongo competition.
This picture is for you Gustavo

Group picture with Don Deya outside his office
Today was a good day.  Our morning meeting was cancelled unfortunately but the afternoon one made up for it.  We spent more than 3 hours today in the garden behind the Pan African Lawyers Union building (PALU) talking with the CEO Don Deya.  He is an articulate and extremely intelligent man. He provided a lot of insight about the current situation in much of Africa, as well as some of his opinions on how they ended up in the position they are in currently.
Turtle (or tortoise??) Saw it outside in the garden

Checking in at the new hotel

At the end of the meeting, he invited us to come out for dinner and dancing at a local bar/restaurant.  The place was called "Via Via" and it was a great night for everyone.  It was chillier than I expected here though.  It is around 12 degrees celsius now or low 50s.  We were sitting outside.  The place had a screen the size of a drive in movie (literally) showing the Euro Cup.  There was a karaoke bar to one side, and a live band to the other (the lead singer was apparently freezing...he was wearing a ski parka with the hood up).  Don brought along a couple of his friends/colleagues and we spent another 3 hours discussing everything under the sun.  It was nice to really feel at home and a part of rather than just a tourist passing through.  It was also one of the first times I have gotten some frank reaction/discussion on my individual research topic for my paper.

We are working on our meeting schedule for next week, but it looks like we have some more good meetings coming up before we leave Arusha.  We are scheduled to meet with the East African Law Society and the Tanzanian ambassador to the United States as well.  I'm told she is aware and is a big fan of the work we are doing here.  This weekend Gretchen has suggested we take a trip to Moshi to visit the artisan market and hopefully see Kilimanjaro.  We are considering going on a bus rather than paying for our driver for a day.  The buses here are a little scary but it could be interesting.  We will see what the consensus is probably tomorrow.

Random guy on the street wearing a UM cap.  Weird

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