Archive for category Welcome

Most sequels suck – but hopefully not this one

Hello again and welcome back to the another dusty foot philosopher blog!

First off, all apologies for the major gap since the last post. The last post came from Zambia during the self-declared epic trip down to South Africa for the World Cup. Certainly had every intention of making some more updates since then but surprisingly enough, finding an internet cafe and writing a blog post wasn’t so high on the priority list during the World Cup.

I don’t have such a good excuse for why there was nothing done in the month and a half spent back  home visiting -thats just laziness I guess. Had a much needed time relaxing and seeing family and friends back home though and very thankful for that opportunity heading into another long stretch away.

If you don’t know yet – I am back in Tanzania already for round II. At the very end of the last contract here I agreed to return to Tanzania for a one year contract beginning end of August. In the end, it came down to a great job opportunity here and experience that I don’t think I would be able to get elsewhere at this time. I would love to share more about the new job, but a few things need to clear up yet and I will try to keep this one relatively short so that will have a future post.

What Hollywood has taught me about life (besides the bad guy is wearing black, the high-school outcast can still get the girl, and that animals really can talk) is that, when it comes to sequels, they mostly suck…especially if they try to do the same thing.  The list of horrible sequels is not a hard one to compile; Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Jaws II: The Revenge, Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Son of the Mask….it gets ugly.

I definitely thought a lot about this before coming back – this year won’t be the same as last year and it can’t be the same. Probably shouldn’t be the same. Need to approach it with a different storyline, different expectations (or maybe no expectations?), and different goals. I mean, most obviously, Zach and I are back but we’ve lost the third musketeer. Who will the thieves target now that Jer is gone?…I think I am in trouble.

So, I guess what I am saying is….let’s make this particular sequel more of a “The Dark Knight” kind of refreshing goodness and a little less of a “The Next Karate Kid” failed imitation.

I am definitely planning on keeping up the blog again for the year ahead. I really didn’t like the idea of it at first – but have really come to enjoy sharing some stories, pictures, and occasional ramblings with the friends and randoms that visit. I have about 7 drafts of new posts either started here on my computer or sitting in draft mode in my brain which I hope will someday see the light of day. I can’t promise anything but I will try to make some more regular updates in this year ahead.

Until next time (but hopefully not too long),


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A quick note on the blog title and why I swear it’s cool to have your own domain name

The idea of registering my own name ( started out as a joke.. but here it is live in all it’s glory so I figure I might use a quick moment here to describe how it came about since I feel like a bit of a loser for having it.

When my co-worker at my previous workplace showed me one day that he had already registered several domain names in anticipation of his not yet existent children and with their potential first and last names…I figured that I had better get on board and see if my name was still out there to be had. I figured that surely pretty much every reasonable domain name on the internet was taken by now…(for a good take on this topic there is this great old school SNL skit about an investment firm a bit slow get hop on the e-commerce bandwagon..) . You laugh but there are plenty of famous Daniel Albrecht’s that have preceded me – so I honestly didn’t expect it.

A quick search  found that was still available, just waiting to be claimed by the right person who would treat her right. I joked around about buying my domain name for at least 6 months but never actually following through with it – mainly because I didn’t really have anything to broadcast to the world. A while later I told my co-worker about this gig in Tanzania and how I needed to write a blog during my internship. Low and behold as a parting gift he went out and bought the domain name for me and kindly set this site up on his servers and everything.  Thanks Libin! And that is the story of how I came to be the kind of guy that registers his own name with a dot-com on the end.

And now to justify the title….another dusty foot philosopher…

the in questiondusty feet

I should start by saying that the title of this blog is most definitely not original –it’s the title of the Somali -Canadian rapper K’naan‘s album and song by a similar name. I listened to it when I first arrived here and thought that it had some nice relevance.

Tanzania is a dusty, dusty place. The sand and dirt are an inescapable part of everyday life living in Dar especially when your primary means of transportation are your own two feet. We live in a real posh area of the city out on the ocean, but the downside of this is that there is severely limited public transportation available meaning that we end up doing a lot of walking. My feet are pretty much in a perpetual state of dirtiness over here and remain an odd tinge of brownish black most of the time..I mean you can try and clean them in the shower…but what’s the point when they will just get dirty again when you head back out into the dust?

The other thing about walking in Dar is that you really spend a good portion of your time just looking down as you walk. It’s not because it’s not a beautiful place or there aren’t stunning things to see -it’s just that its a bloody hazardous place to walk in sandals sometimes. If it’s not broken glass underfoot, it’s a rock or a random sharp piece of twisted metal pipe coming out of the sidewalk just waiting to mangle your toes.  I learned this lesson the hard way in my first week in Dar, escaping with a few minor cuts and my roommate Zach already lost both toenails on his big toes within the first two weeks. For your own safety its a requirement to spend a good portion of your time with your eyes on the ground just keeping an eye out for dangers and studying how dirty your feet are.

It’s during many of these long dusty walks spent with my head down that most of these blog ideas have been popping up in my head so I figured it just might work as a blog title. As a side note, I do realize I haven’t necessarily done much actual philosophizing or deep writing yet and therefore maybe shouldn’t be self-proclaiming to be a philosopher yet….but I have the best of intentions of doing it someday.

Plus this title  just sounds  less douchey than keeping it as…

p.s. I am told the short rainy season is set to begin any day now…the muddy foot philosopher?

p.s.s. Funny related tangent story. I was showing my pictures from the trip thus far that were on my camera to a German friend of ours here in Dar this past weekend. As I flipped through the shots she became a bit disturbed by the number of self-portraits of my feet that I had on my camera that I had taken in attempts to find a good shot for inclusion in this blog post. I suppose it might have been a good idea to give a little background information re the reason for the pictures before hand….and that, my friends,  is how you get a reputation of being ‘that guy’ with the unhealthy obsession with his own feet. Stephi, is the existence of this site and post proof enough I don’t have a foot fetish? :)

So what’s this all about?

Welcome (“Karibu”) to my blog about travels, development work, and everyday life here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Here in Tanzania, the daily greetings are just about the most important thing to know in Swahili so I figure I better get these formalities out of the way right away.

I arrived safe and sound here in Dar es Salaam, where MEDA is located, in mid- September. Apologies for the lack of a quick start on the whole blog thing – somehow it’s not always the most exciting option to choose when deciding what to do over here… Dar is Tanzania’s largest city with a population of about 3 million and is the centre of commerce and administration for the country. I figured for this first post it might be helpful to just do a quick overview about the organization and work that I am doing here. I’ll be living and working in Dar for an 8 month internship contract with an organization called MEDA. There are three of us in total here with MEDA Tanzania and I live, work, and travel with Zach and Jeremy (whom I am sure will be further introduced in later stories).

MEDA is a leading Non-Governmental Development Organization (NGO) headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada but working in over 30 countries around the world. MEDA is known internationally for it’s unique approach in providing business and market-based solutions to problems caused by global poverty. I’ve been very impressed so far with the innovation and out of the box thinking that MEDA has applied to Check out their work on their website here ( or watch YouTube videos on their many global projects here.

Hat Punguzo project on YouTube

We work within the Production-Marketing Linkages (PML) group which (lifted right from the orientation materials..) assists small-scale producers to increase their incomes and build their livelihoods through improved production and pathways to effective markets. PML also supports the development of distribution networks that reach disadvantaged consumers with appropriate and affordable products.

MEDA Tanzania is the country branch operating the local Tanzanian operations and projects and has been in country on a number of different micro-finance and business of health areas since 1986. Once again, I’m going to just take the lazy way and paste in some more official lines to help me better explain the work. Our mission is to bring hope, opportunity and economic well-being to rural and urban communities of Tanzania by building the capacity of the economically active poor and linking them to production, marketing and financial infrastructure.

MEDA Tanzania manages two different but closely related projects:  The Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS) and the Under Five Catch up Campaign (U5CC).  The goal of both projects is to increase the coverage and use of insecticide treated [mosquito bed] nets (ITNs) among specific target groups (pregnant women and children under five, the population most at-risk for malarial mortality).  MEDA’s work focuses on management, logistics, and the delivery of ITNs to each target group through a unique public-private partnership (PPP) which strives to build a sustainable private sector distribution network in the country for long after the aid dollars have disappeared.

hati punguzo logo

I’ll be working on the project in the area of Business Development and Communications. From what I know so far that will involve some work with project management of some of these programs, researching new funding opportunities, writing and submitting funding proposals, building relationships with donors, reporting, and a host of other tasks where needed. They’ve got some pretty ambitious targets set for us during our time here – both a good thing but also a little intimidating…more on that line of thinking next time.

Alright, that’s more than enough for now.



Tags: , , , , ,


Zanzibar Sunset

Welcome to my website. Nothing here to read right now – but stay tuned for soon to come content from my development work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and the ensuing adventures.