The big event was to attend a Farm Concern International field day in Manyire, on the immediate outskirts of Arusha. Arusha is a world of safaris and the UN International War Crimes Tribunal and a place where I can find delicious mashed potatoes and watch French films. On the immediate outskirts, there is farm country where people walk and where they cook with charcoal.
The field day was big because, as with the World Food Programme, Farm Concern receives funding from the Gates Foundation and its representative was visiting – she was the focal point.
It was pouring as I prepared to leave Arusha to participate. The road, though flat, was slick and trenched on either side. We slipped off. Magid, the driver, got out of the jeep and into the mud to assess, then, at least outwardly calm, took his shoes off as he climbed up and back in and gunned in reverse and out we came – the marvel of this vehicle and its driver.
I was told to arrive at about 8am which I did. The event actually started at 2pm. There is just no point in even commenting . . . I set about trying to talk with farmers and they were accommodating but there is only so much anyone can take of the language barrier.
Alysha Blake, from Seattle, arrived and was received by singing and ululating woman in their best. There was a certain amount of protocol and pageantry involved and I sense people enjoy this as there is ceremony and colour, a chance for people to dress up and get a break from work.
Some people spoke and people listened attentively. After a demonstration of nutritious cooking over open hibachis and closing speeches, there was this food. I was taking photos with the children and missed the eating.
It’s difficult. Are donors led to what they want to see or what they need to see? How will Alysha Blake assess the trickle down effect? How do I?