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Katie Orr’s Blog

ISTEP Tanzania 2015 – Arriving in Dar es Salaam – the "harbour of peace", the commercial capital of Tanzania, or as my Tanzanian friend Ludovic Saronga calls it, "the city of heat and dust"… When I step off the plane in Dar late in the evening, i get hit with heat, humidity and the smell of wood charcoal burning.  Sometimes I wonder, what does it smell/feel like when visitors arrive at the airport in Halifax – snow, cold, tim horton's, donairs?
it is a long trip, but i'm often full of energy when i start a business trip – especially this time! NSCC is starting two new "ISTEP" projects funded by the Government of Canada with the Tanzania VETA system.  One is in tourism with the new VETA Hotel and Tourism Training institute (VHTTI) in Arusha and the other is a teacher training project with the Morogoro Vocational Teacher Training College (MVTTC) and Bow Valley College in Calgary.
I'm joined by my NSCC colleagues Wendi Dewey, Jim Bate, and Andrea Stewart (and Ted Grant, who meets up with us later in Arusha), and also Nalini Andrade and Tim Loblaw from Bow Valley College. We are here with other Canadian Colleges and Tanzanian counterparts to start the project planning stage for 6 new projects in Tanzania.  There is an orientation conference on how to manage the projects, gender mainstreaming, environmental considerations, and so on.  Wendi wows the whole conference with a lesson plan with the Obama-like tag-line "YES" that sticks with the project teams for the full two weeks!  We are really serious and focussed on how we can make sure we can achieve all the goals of the project and do really good work, and also meet the NSCC goals of creating international learning opportunities for our students and employees.  
And still, the best part for me was after the formal meetings, and the official photos, and the speeches…  Stephen Tsoray, the principal of MVTTC and his friend (and our friend) Christopher Ayo, principal of Mikumi VTC  – suggest that we go out together to a local restaurant called "break point". We sit outside, under a large mango tree, sharing plates of barbecued meat called "nyama choma" in kiswahili: goat (mbuzi) and chicken (kuku). we debate and discuss all the world's problems – including Tanzania's, and Nova Scotia's.  
It is exciting to be at the start of something new, especially when it has such a good foundation with our partnership with Mikumi VTC. And despite a bit of upset stomach from the Barbecue chicken (or was it the goat?)  I'm really looking forward to what's next…. Thanks to Ted, Wendi, Jim and Andrea for their dedication and commitment to helping NSCC start these projects!
Katie Orr
Director, NSCC International 

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