Development is Slow
Tanzania — Student VolunteeringUniterra
Development means change.
Change is slow.
Therefore, development is slow.
The Western world has a reputation for efficiency. Everything happens at a quicker pace. Expectations are extremely high and minimal breaks are taken.
In Tanzania, people are much more lax about life. “Pole pole”, is a phrase many Tanzanians say. It means “slow down” in English. Not many people rush to get things done here. There are no drive thru’s or fast food restaurants, people usually sit down and have coffee and talk to each other throughout the day.
My director went to a Conference in China that was about slow food. I had no idea what slow food meant, so I Googled it and slow food turns out to be the opposite of fast food. Slow Food International is a movement that is trying to prevent the fast food industry from eating away the culture of traditional cooking and local food culture. The best foods to consume are the ones that are made with delicacy and time.
In the Western world, we have trapped ourselves into a paradox where we believe that efficiency equates to effectiveness.
If we are going to develop trainings or make quality food, we need to do it at a pace that is reasonable. To get quality, we need to take time. To see change, we need to have patience. To live life, we need to take things slowly.
As much as that sounded really cheesy, this is the advice I would give to anyone, whether they are on an international field placement, working at an office job, or studying for exams.
I have worked multiple jobs during university which were fast paced and stressful. To have to change to different job that is the complete opposite of fast is difficult to digest.
Development work is slow, therefore, work is slow. Nonetheless, the slow pace work environment has allowed me to appreciate life and allowed me to carefully look into things. I can edit things without having to feel that sense of being rushed and I can have conversations or think of ideas for solutions without having to feel pressure on implementing the solution immediately.
I am writing this blog because I have received exciting new projects to work on. However, during my first three weeks at work I was idle as there was not much work my organisation could give me due to funding. Now, my organisation has signed a new contract to receive new funding for an additional five years. This funding allows us to conduct more trainings and reach out to more smallholder farmers to expand their economic and social capabilities.