How to Ask (the right) Questions?

Through the Global Citizen Program by Credit Suisse I’ve been exposed to some serious coaching and have received the opportunity to reflect on the power of questions.

First thing I realized: questions carry the risk of bringing me into trouble. “What’s your name, sir?”, “What is it you like doing in your spare time?”, “When will I receive the status update from your team?” Continue reading How to Ask (the right) Questions?

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Why Do They Spend What They Don’t Have?

I grew up with a piggy bank. My generation was told by parents that it is important to save “for bad times”.  When bad times never came and I grew up I started to get a different idea of saving and the value of money. Yet I never considered credit except for buying a home. This one belief is hard to change: “Don’t spend what you don’t have.”

Yet the business model of microfinance institutions (MFIs) is based on the wish Continue reading Why Do They Spend What They Don’t Have?

The Epic Race of Population vs. Economy

Let’s do a little thought experiment to visualize the challenges faced by many developing countries. Imagine a country with a population growth of 5% and economic growth of 3% per year. The standard of living in year 0 would be 100%. Where would that country be after twenty years?

Continue reading The Epic Race of Population vs. Economy

A Lesson in Communicating Effectively

Saturday July 18 marked the end of Ramadan. But on Thursday evening July 16 nobody in my office or in the rest of the country knew if they would go to work on Friday or if it would be a public holiday. All depended on the sighting of the new moon at nightfall.

The opinions differ as to which location is relevant, which tool may be used to detect the crescent moon, whether Continue reading A Lesson in Communicating Effectively

Morogoro, a Less Known Tourist Destination

With its laid back lifestyle, small town feeling, good hamburgers, nightlife, international university, international school,  architectural pearls from the past, cool weather, remote villages, forest with cinnamon trees, cardamom, pepper, coffee, oil seeds, indigenous species and some waterfalls in the mountains this place offers more than enough to keep tourists, weekend birdwatchers and foreign talent interested alike. Continue reading Morogoro, a Less Known Tourist Destination

Stoney Tangawizi – an African Icon

We have the Coke, the Ice Tea or Rivella drinkers out there (Swiss drink made of milk serum) but seldom have I experienced such a fervent fellowship for a carbonated soft drink. Post a comment or picture to the Facebook group “Stoney Tangawizi Addicts AnonymousContinue reading Stoney Tangawizi – an African Icon

Think Like a Thief to Avoid being Robbed

Marina drives her car everywhere. It keeps her safe (or so she thought). She hardly ever drives to downtown and spends her time on or near the peninsula (expats & embassies). She’s been living in Dar es Salaam for over 10 years. Yet she and her daughter were robbed just in front of their gated home in an upscale neighborhood. Continue reading Think Like a Thief to Avoid being Robbed

Getting an Apartment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Things are a bit different here in Tanzania. While the apartments are furnished they are lacking the most basic things, such a bedsheets, drinking glasses, water cooker, cleaning material. Apparently that’s how the international community wants it. For me it will be forced spending into Tanzania’s economy, which is good and everything I buy will stay here, which is even better for the local community. Continue reading Getting an Apartment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar’s Almost Forgotten Central Railway Station

Visiting Dar es Salaam Central Railway Station today was a heart wrenching experience. Coming from a country where trains are public transport no. 1 there was a certain expectation to be able to take a train ride out of Dar one sunny weekend to come.

My colleague and guide for the day was quick to point out that trains don’t run reliably.  Continue reading Dar’s Almost Forgotten Central Railway Station

How was my First Day with FINCA Tanzania?

Let me make a proper introduction first. This is Tanzanian style. Always ask “How are you?” first, follow suite and get to the point only after having heard “Welcome!” If you can’t wait to read how my day was, kindly jump to the bottom.

FINCA stands for the Foundation for International Community Assistance. John Hatch conceived “Village Banking” in 1984. His plan enabled poor Bolivian farmers with no collateral to access loans through a collective guarantee.  In 1985 Hatch established FINCA. Continue reading How was my First Day with FINCA Tanzania?