“I spent about two hours either walking or sitting after work yesterday. I sat with a good view of Mt. Meru. I just needed to be outside. I ate a bit when I got home, and then in bed by 8. The day wore me out – not physically. I’m okay now.
“Yesterday I felt behind bars – literally! As nice as this office is, there are bars on the windows. The windows are open to welcoming summer breezes but I am still inside and the day is long – 7:30-4:30 and I can only read and grasp so much of the technicalities of how WFP functions.
“Briefly, there is a lot of support for the farmers in the way of small loans, at least at the moment it seems this way to me. Also, there is training being offered. We have been trying to see if this grower group will meet their contract obligations and, in spite of phone calls and text messages, there [was no immediate] confirmation from them. There are complications – language, power outages – but they were long overdue. There are other grower groups who can deliver and WFP needs this grain for its commitments to ‘school food’ and ‘work for food’ programs and for refugees. I think this is the first possible failure of a farmer co-op (sort of) to meet its contract. These contracts are done by tender and all are free to find other markets. I think the thought here is that this particular group needs more ‘training’ in order to be able to borrow [money] in order to make an advance payment to their members. [I have] more to learn about all this…”
Tony goes on to write that, “I received a letter that the contract could not be fulfilled – [the farmer group] could have said this a week ago when we visited the farming community however it is finally in writing. The letter is in Kiswahili of course so I passed it on to my immediate superior. Brief translation: The grain that was being delivered was not adequately cleaned and of poor quality and there was less of it due to poorer growing conditions. If this is accurate, the leaders have more field work to do to get quality product. It could be the famers don’t fully trust their leaders and think there is more money through other channels. I sure don’t know but all this goes on at home with ‘side selling’ fruit away from co-op…
“My hands far from dirty – I wish! I see more time to be spent in this rather lovely office on a hill overlooking Mt. Meru. I think the WFP is doing good things by spending donor money (Gift of Canada and Gift of Japan marked on the maize bags) sourcing grain from Tanzanian farmers. But it takes an army of analysts, administrators, accountants and data processors and to do so. The question is: where does a small farmer such as I fit-in? – fluency in Kiswahili would be nice!”