The project house is situated just outside the center of Iringa on a compound of the Lutheran church.
It is a guarded area and the guard has two very friendly dogs, who come to greet me, as soon as they notice I’m entering or leaving the house. They must have smelled I have a dog too.
For Tanzanians, dogs are like other animals around the house: cows, goats, pigs, chicken. My story about my own dog Spunkie to Daniel Lutego, my wonderful PA here in Iringa, made him smile.
He wondered if we also had cows and pigs in our gardens in the Netherlands and when I told him this is usually not the case, and that we keep dogs and cats as pets, he shook his head. I made it even worse by telling him that Dutch people spend a lot of money on buying dogs from a special breed that they specifically want. He answered: for that amount of money we can buy a car! A real joke was that we pay taxes for keeping a dog: he laughed out loud.
Our conversation reminded me of a column from Youp van ’t Hek in the NRC some time ago. His daughter was working in Africa and she made the local Africans wet their pants by telling them we have ‘animal ambulances’.
Since I’m here, I can understand that story even better.
But I’m still Dutch and I like dogs, so I consider these two as my guardian angels and friends.
When I arrived this morning at the Library, I was too late: the shelving was already done. I had promised the staff that I was going to help them with this tedious and time consuming job, but apparently there was not so much to shelve today. I’ll give it a try tomorrow again.
Together with Andrew, the system-librarian and Isa the cataloguing librarian, I spend the whole morning on the planning of the implementation of the new WebOPAC. I worked late last night to prepare a few documents that could help the staff. Now it’s up to them: they have to start thinking, planning and documenting the process. I will take a lot of time to convert 80.000 books into the new system.
I took rev. Simba for lunch at the Hasty-Tasty-Too restaurant: a famous place (it’s mentioned in the Lonely planet and the Rough guide) and we had a nice meal and a talk about the HIV/Aids problems in Africa. In Tanzania the problem is not as big as in South Africa and Namibia, but also here there a too many victims, especially children who are left alone with no family at all.
Simba explained to me that it is a complex problem and has to do with poverty, ignorance (lack of education), and cultural issues and simply donating money will not work. Anyway, the university is doing it’s best: one of the best posters I’ve ever seen on HIV/Aids. [Graduate with A’s not with Aids] Sorry folks, cannot upload photos with this poor internet connection. Will add them later.
This afternoon I worked on the presentations for tomorrow: one on library trends and one on digital repositories.
Although the internet is working on my laptop it is rather slow, compared to my system at home, so it takes a lot of time to find and produce material.
Tomorrow, it’s already Friday: time is flying when you’re having fun.