Hello Readers of Geoff Tennant’s Blog!
My name is Stephen and I am proud to be able to say that I have featured in several of Geoff’s blog posts over the past two years, and wrote this guest blog post when I first came to Tanzania in June 2013. I have known Geoff (or he has known me) since I was about six years old. More recently I have had the chance to get to know him better, as I stayed in his Dar es Salaam apartment for a couple of months from August 2014. Having since found my own place to stay in Dar, I have kept in close contact with Geoff and we meet up often. I am working for a development organisation supporting organic farming, and in my spare time I teach saxophone. Whilst Geoff has been in Tanzania for longer than me, my Swahili is much better than his, and I’m happy to use the local ‘dalladalla’ (buses which can get somewhat crowded), much to his envy!
You may know from this blog post, that Geoff has invested in a bijjaji. This is a three-wheeled motor vehicle, also known as a rickshaw or tuktuk depending on which part of the world you are from (see above) Geoff made his investment through Afua (mother of Twaha who appeared in this blog post) and me. Here we are trying the bijaji out for ourselves:
Through Afua’s friends we knew Dulla who had a licence to drive a bijaji and wanted to work as a driver but did not have the capital to buy one himself. Dulla has proved himself to be an excellent driver, taking good care of the vehicle and paying the rent on time. I’m pleased to say that we’re on track to repay the loan within the timescale originally agreed, and are hoping to persuade Geoff to renew the loan at the end of the current period. Meanwhile we’ve been able to expand our fleet to a second vehicle which is also progressing well.
With experience now of managing bijajis, we’re clear we have a successful social entrepreneurship model which provides much needed work to bijaji drivers whilst allowing us to make a modest income. We have thought carefully about how we expand, particularly in ensuring that future drivers are as trustworthy as Dulla has proved to be. We currently have two more trusted friends waiting in the wings to fill the driving seats.
So, the main reason for this blog post is to announce that we are looking for investors to loan us the capital to increase our bijaji fleet!
A bijaji costs roughly £2400 (US$3400) with all costs included. The terms that we are proposing are: an upfront investment of £2400 which we guarantee to repay in full, 18 months after the initial investment is made. To thank you for your investment, after month 18, we will deliver to you a personalised gift, handmade by Tanzanian artisans to a standard that you will not see on the tourist trail! You meanwhile will have made a real and long lasting difference to thelives of the driver and family.
To make contact, please use the ‘Contact Us’ on this website, Geoff will forward your message on and we’d love to explain further what we’re doing. In any eventuality, thank you for reading about what we’re doing, we’re grateful to you for your interest in this exciting new project.