Raphael Arrives - Early December

Raphael was finishing his Swahili language course on Zanzibar and we were able to jump on a free lift to Dar to meet him.  On the way we saw a lion eating a buffalo on the side of the highway!  Raphael’s ferry was late so we went for dinner at a nice Indian restaurant – always a favourite treat when you come to Dar to sample other foods.  Raphael is a very independent guy – he managed to get his way to the restaurant and enjoy some chicken tandori.

The next day it was straight to work.  I took Raphael on a shopping trip to Kariakoo market.  We took the local dala dala bus and spent the morning visiting the various shops that I buy materials for MSABI.  We purchased ropes, PVC paraphernalia, some tools, and motorbike spares.  Raphael was introduced to each store owner – as we are building credit relationships with some of the stores.  We save a lot of money by shopping in Dar for hardware materials.  For example 4” PVC pipes are $45 in Ifakara and $30 in Dar.  I can get them transferred to Ifakara for $2 each, so $13 saving per pipe or approximately $50 per borehole.  It is important for Raphael to understand local business and where to purchase supplies.

We then were able to jump on another free ride back to Ifakara.  My initial impressions of Raphael are that he is a very smart guy.  He has transitioned into Ifakara with no problems at all.  He is calm and calculating and is good with people.  He comes from a design background so already I am seeing he has many good ideas and different interpretations on problem solving. 

We had some semi-bad news from EWB-UK.  They don’t have the funding at present to send us a volunteer engineer.   They were delaying their email responses to me lately, so I wasn’t  that surprised, more disappointed.   They tell me they will try to send somebody in June – I hope it’s true.  Raphael took the news very well.  Whilst we both would like some more hands on deck we have to work with what we have.  We will aim to keep the project small and manageable- focussing on delivering to our capacity.

Once again thanks to the Swiss Tropical Institute for making Raphael possible!!!!


At present there are no super stores in Tanzania.  In Dar the shops are all very very small and specialise in selling only a few items.  Though, they do arrange themselves into streets - so all the hardware shops are on one or two streets, all the clothing shops on another street etc.  Still it took me days of wandering around to find all the materials that we need for MSABI.  Now that hard work is done we can return to those shops and buy our materials relatively stress free.


Kariakoo is one big maze.  Streets are small and crowded.  Some streets have a slow bend in them, so you think you are walking one direction and end up facing another, making getting back to your original location confusing.  Getting a car in here is a nightmare.  I think they estimate around 2-4million people each day pass through Kariakoo.