Friday, July 18, 2008

A business of small businesses

Tuesday, July 15th

I spent most of the day (and even part of the night) with Peter, a KASI member and one of the wheelchair users who is trialing the small-business wheelchair. Remember “Peter’s Mobile Workshop?” Well let me tell you, mobile is an understatement! This guy is all over the place. His original business was repairing umbrellas, radios, and other small electronics. And while he is still doing that, he has rapidly expanded his business to include several other small endeavors. He built a small chicken coop next to his house and now has 10 chickens, with plans to sell the eggs and the chickens themselves after they reproduce. He lives pretty far from town (about 15 km) but he frequently pushes himself to and from town for meetings and appointments, and now to pick up things for his business! Along with the chickens, he is also selling small vegetables and as of today, kerosene. He realized that instead of putting all his eggs in one basket, he could have several tiny businesses that would all add up to one small business. Okay that didn’t make much sense but I think you get what I mean. In any case, I could not be more impressed with how well he is doing. He’s really taking advantage of every opportunity he finds, and I’m expecting lots of good things from him in the upcoming months.

Even though it was already quite dark, Peter insisted on making me some tea before I left.

I really wish I knew more Swahili. I’m going to make it a point to learn more before I come back to Tanzania next. MIT doesn’t offer it, but we have cross-registration with Harvard, and I’m determined to fit it into my schedule. Not that my Swahili is terrible. I’ve got the greetings down pat, and I can actually understand a lot more than I can speak. But I want to be able to chat with the ladies at the market; I want to learn more about whoever I’m sitting next to on the daladala; I want to tell Peter what a rockstar he is without a translator. I’ve still got about 3 weeks here so I’m going to make the most of it and practice as much as I can.


jkm said...

WOW...Peter IS a rockstar!

Joy Marie said...

TISH!!! I MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY! It's been so wonderful to read your blog ~ your pictures and journaling are amazing. I received your elephant postcard, thank you so much. It meant the world to me. I can't wait to see you and catch up with you, it has been WAY too long. Good luck with your project - you are extraordinary and I am thinking of you. Also I'm looking forward to meeting Joseph! I love you!!! ~ Joy

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