Karibu – How are you?

With the words above people are greeting you when they meet you; it doesn’t matter where you are: on the street, in the restaurant, on the campus, in the library. The Tanzanians are not only friendly but truly interested in others.
Meeting people and talking to them is easy, as long as you’re returning the question with the same prhase. They always want to know where you come from,what you’re doing in Tanzania and if you like it here.
For me, it gives a welcoming feeling and it’s one of the charms of being in Tanzania.

I have not shared with you my travel experiences. The flight was fine: on time and I finally managed to get an aisle seat; very helpful when you have a sore back and cannot move around easy.
Daniel was waiting for me at the airport and on Sunday Dr. Bukaza Chachage (project coordinator) was there to greet me too and join us on the travel to Iringa.
On the way we picked up another traveller from Tumaini (an MBA-student) and we had a nice lunch at the Swiss restaurant just outside Mikumi Park.
Travelling through Mikumi brought us a wonderfull view on a herd of elephants; I’m sure the babies I saw last year were there too: grown but still not as big as their parents.
On the way we did some shopping the Tanzanian way, which means you stop alongside the road and start negociating the price of oinions, meat or other things you want to buy. As soon as you stop the traders come to the car to show their goods and I was happy that I did not had to decide what to buy: to me all the onions looked the same ;-).

Today, the real thing started: a workshop with the deputy heads and the chief librarian, Rev. Cornelius Simba on the challenges and opportunities for the library.
We discussed strategic management issues and used a SWOT-analysis to define the strengts, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the library. Making the SWOT turned out to be instrumental in coming up with strategic choices for the future. Some of these choices are: collaboration with the other universities in Iringa to improve services for all students en to beat the competencies of the staff. Accountability is another focus as well as marketing the library. The workshop will be continued on Monday morning and then we’re going to discuss leadership issues, coaching and intermediation and the different roles of the library professional in an educational library.
A big challenge for the library, its staff and users is the availability of a fast and reliable internet connection. The trend to provide more and more resources online is difficult to follow if the connection is too slow and blocks the access to resources and tools. This item is going to be discussed further on Thursday and Friday when we going to talk about the new automation system and library trends.

Tomorrow two lectures are scheduled: one on research techniques for a group of counselling students and a lecture on information literacy for a group of students of the faculty of journalism. I’ve just finished preparing these lectures and although they’re based on the lectures I did last year, all links, screenshots etc. had to be checked and if necessary updated.
I will be interesting to see what the feedback of the students will be, but about that, I will tell you in the next blog.

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