Friday, September 3, 2010

Children at the Tripod Media Exhibition, Dar es Salaam

As I wrote in a previous blog post, on June 24-25, I participated in an educational and careers fair in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, organized by Tripod Media. I sought, among other things, to introduce Africonexion, my small consulting business, to Tanzanians.

One of the most exciting experiences I had was observing the children who came to the exhibition. These were mostly school children. It was pleasant to watch them as they moved from booth to booth, alone, in pairs, or in groups. Like children everywhere, they openly displayed their excitement and curiosity. They made Diamond Jubilee Hall come alive.

The booth of the Tanzania House of Talents was a popular spot for the children, especially when the live music was on.

Those who came to my booth enjoyed browsing through my books. They were particularly interested in CHANGAMOTO, my Swahili book, since they could read it.

It was touching to see how genuinely interested these children were in books. I kept thinking why, as the children grow up and become adults, they lose this attachment to books. Our society is failing these children.

For the two days I participated in the exhibition, I talked with these children. I sought to inspire them, encouraging them to study hard. I told them to read widely, not just for the exams. They listened and I hope they will follow my advice.

One of the exhibitors was the Furniture Center. The children had a great time trying out the desks and chairs, pretending they were in a real classroom. When I saw this, I thought about the many schools in Tanzania which lack desks, chairs, books and other facilities. There is no valid reason for a country like Tanzania, rich as it is in resources, to have this problem.

The woman in a red head covering impressed me very much. She came with her son to the exhibition, and she asked me some questions. I wish all parents would do the same, accompanying their children to such educational events. It is good for the children and for the future of our country.

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