April 19, 2012 – Colette van der Ven
“I am sorry,” an elderly man mumbled as I was walking up a hill, looking rather lost. I couldn’t figure out why he was apologizing. Was it because I looked lost, or because I was walking uphill? Either way, I smiled and thanked him, quietly amused by this Tanzanian practice of apologizing for the inconvenience of others. I wasn’t, however, in the least inconvenienced. I was appreciating Arusha’s moderate climate and green landscape—a stark difference from humid Dar es Salaam—while looking for the CEO of Golden Food Products Ltd.
When I finally found Mr. Ayo’s factory, we set down for tea with milk and sugar—a remnant of Tanzania’s colonial past—and I learned all about his family business. Since Golden Food Products began producing peanut butter and jam in 1998, it had expanded significantly and had also began to sell organic spices and honey. The company had built quite a name for itself, as its high quality products were sold in the local supermarkets and frequently used by high-end hotels. It supported over 3000 smallholder farmers, provided employment and health benefits to a few dozen women, and created a high-quality product for local consumers.
While I was … Read More »