Karagwe 2024: ETI/KAD SUMMIT

January 24, 2024

It was a great day. The top accomplishment was KAD and BE Design discussing technical issues and agreeing on almost everything. Much was moved forward. It started with breakfast with Bishop, a ride to KARUCO with Edson and coffee at KARUCO to get started. The Tanzanian culture in my view is a hospitality industry unto itself. No request is too big or small to accommodate. People are always thinking of others. I know of no one who has visited Karagwe and didn’t feel cared for in a meaningful way.

We began with prayer, introductions and tone-setting by Bishop. The major successes and challenges of the past were spelled out and issues will be discussed in detail over the next 3 days. ETI (that would be me) gave an introduction to our organization since so many of the people in the room are new. I highlighted that we focus on Local Solutions and Global Support. I gave KARUCO and the ROC as examples. The focus groups from five communities that shared what they want in their communities. The rejection of the idea that outsiders who parachute in know better. The provision of expertise when requested. The funding model ETI uses. The acknowledgement that KAD always has a contribution that is significant to the outcome. Time, money, resources.

I shared that ETI has 3 main funding foci: KARUCO including KARUCO Solar, the MEL Program and the Rural Opportunity Center (Phase I – Food Processing). Today’s focus will be on food processing and BE Design’s architectural inputs to get the plant built. But I built the context by telling a bit about the history of KARUCO, KARUCO Solar and the MEL Program. Please comment if you want more information on any of these things and I will provide a link or two.

Bruce Engel then gave an overview of the work he has done in Rwanda. Bishop and others commented later that some of the ideas look great and that some would not be as applicable in Tanzania. All agreed that the work showed architectural integrity and looked “tough”. Bruce followed with showing work on the Rural Opportunity Center in Karagwe. He did a nice job presenting original ideas from years ago with leaders who are no longer in Karagwe, renderings and drawings which the Bishop described later as initially “overwhelming”. Bishop, however, parsed out the bits (contracts, fencing, budgets, division of roles to name a few), communicated swiftly in Swahili with the group, gathered their questions and identified issues from the group. He also translated into English which brought the group onto the same page. As I said earlier, it was a very productive day.

Tonight we dine at the Karagwe Hotel with Bruce and his staff from Rwanda and others associated with the ROC project. But before I go, let me share a photo of the serenity just outside my window.

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