Monday, January 12, 2015

First "working" day

Maaike Duine is the VSO volunteer who will guide us during out stay in Tanzania. Although this statement is factually correct, it does no justice to all she has done and probably will be doing to make the "Publshing without Borders" projcet a success. Today was the first day we joined forces. And it sure was a good start.

Because today, January, 12th is a public holiday in Tanzania, Maaike agreed to come to the Slipway to start preparing the workshops. Her timing was impeccable, the morning rain had just stopped. After the customary exchange of "erwtensoep", cruesli, bags of "drop" and a heap of Dutch newspapers and magazines, we started planning the workshops Geraldine and myself are supposed to prepare for


Two workshops of 3 days per workshop in total: the first next week here in Dar, the second in the week following that in Dodoma, which is around 8 hours by bus. Participants vary a lot: from seasoned publishers to graphic designers. We'll have to cope with that. The tile was chosen: "Digital Publishing". This is a broad topic for us, as Geraldine and myself are both working in "Operations", which I like to call the "machine room" of Elsevier. We will focus on "production of digital products in publishing". In short: what steps must to take when the accepted manuscript has arrived and needs to be turned into a product. Think of subjects like
  • tagging and linking content
  • processes to handle and store content
  • creating readable formats for a range of channels and devices
  • conversion of legacy content to digitize the back catalog
We drew up a nice preliminary plan. This needs to be very flexible and eligible to change according to the wishes and  of the participants, the time that is needed for each part and "TIA" (This is Africa).

... and sightseeing

We had lunch at Coco Beach, which is about 5 minutes by bajaji (also known at tuk-tuks in other parts of the world) on the other side of the peninsula:

Very tasty grilled fish kebabs with a beautiful view over the Indian Ocean in a relaxed atmosphere, I can see why Maaike took us there!

Maaike also showed us the supermarket in the Slipway compound. After she left I got some supplies. It turned out to be mainly imported groceries with matching prices; I did not carry enough cash. The ATM only gave 5000 shilling notes
so now I own a thick wad of fresh rhino's. For comparison: one rhino costs around €2,50

Because of the beautiful sunset over the city of Dar - after all, the Slipway is situated at the east coast of the peninsula -

Geraldine and I stayed at The Waterfront to have dinner there. Today I tried the mbuzi: chewy but tasteful, with a spicy tamarind sauce. And mind you, spicy is rather hot; even the salad was spicy...

Tomorrow we'll go to VSO Tanzania HQ to meet the staff there and some other newly arrived volunteers. We'll also talk to a representative of Digital Divide Data who might want to participate in the first series of workshops.

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