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tgin Tanzania/Kenya 2014 Africa Highlights

By July 26, 2014tgin + news

We had a blast on our recent trip to Tanzania and Kenya as part of a trade mission to the region to promote U.S. exports. Now that I’m back and somewhat settled in, I just wanted to share some of my favorite moments from the trip along with 5 Things I learned About Doing Business in Africa. I hope you enjoy!

1.  American Embassy 4th of July Party

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The American Embassy sponsored an awesome 4th of July Independence Day Celebration in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. A good time was had by all.  Although the party was held on the 26th of June, it was a great chance for Americans working and living in Tanzania to come together for a great cause and celebrate the good old USA. The theme for the evening was “Happy 4th of July” and featured different foods from major cities in America. For Chicago, they had deep dish pizza; New Orleans, margaritas; Boston, lobster rolls; and Los Angeles, sushi. To keep the evening festive, there were also bands playing jazz, blues, rock, and more. Overall, great times and one of the best fire works displays I’ve seen in my life.

2.     Spice Tour

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Zanzibar is a quaint little island that lies off the coast of East Africa best known for its spices. As part of our trip, we had a chance to visit a local farm and learn how spices are grown and harvested. This was especially valuable, because we here at tgin use natural ingredients like lemongrass, vanilla and hibiscus in some of our products. Smelling the natural ingredients when they are fresh from the earth and buying them once they are harvested and packaged are two completely totally different experiences. If I had it my way, I would import all of our spices from this lovely little version of heave on earth. I fell in love with the region and took so much knowledge away from this experience that will help us to create even better natural hair and skin care products for our customers.

3.     Learning Swahili Dar Es Salaam Trade Show

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As many of you know, I’ve been studying Spanish for the last two years with a private tutor. I just think I may need it one day and I don’t know why. So it was awesome, when I traveled to the Dar Es Salaam 38th Annual Trade Show and had the opportunity to learn some Swahili. The local customers really did appreciate when I spoke their local language and made an effort to communicate with them in this dialect. By the end of the 7 days, I had my little presentation down and people love it. I’ll never forget “nywele kavu” or “rahishi kuchana”.

4.   Beauty Supply Store Tour

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In America, everything is super sized. We have Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and the Big Mac. In Africa and other parts of the world, I learned that retail is done on a much smaller level. There are little shops, where you can buy the same things we can hear, but everything is more compact and independently owned. It was amazing seeing these tiny little beauty supply stores, literally the size of my bathroom, carrying everything from Dr. Miracle’s relaxers to ORS Edge Control Gel to your 24″ Yaki. And, what was even crazier is that in place like Zanzibar, where women for religious and cultural reason choose to keep their hair cover, these places are still doing big business.  Just one of those things that make you go hmmmmmm.

5.   Making Friends with the Masaii

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When I first laid eyes on the “Masaii”, I was fascinated. It was amazing to come in contact with a culture that I had heard so much about. Unfortunately, it turns out there are a lot of plastic Masaii impersonators on the island of Zanzibar who adopt traditional Masaii dress in an attempt to fleece the visiting tourist. When one of the “Masaii” pulled out a cell phone, I was too through and knew this couldn’t be real.  Hopefully, on one of my return visits, I actually get a chance to really meet those who are truly Masaii.

BONUS. Coca-Cola made with real Cane Sugar

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OMG, I never drink pop in the states. I usually only take in ice tea and water, but when traveling abroad there is nothing more refreshing then an ice cold Coca-Cola made with real cane sugar. You can totally taste the difference between the real thing, and the processed high fructose corn sugar were stuck drinking here thanks to the U.S. governments corn subsidies. In any event, this stuff is soooooooooooooooo good. It actually works out that we don’t have it here in the States, because I probably would want it all the time. Oh, how I’ll miss you Coca-Cola. But, I look forward to seeing you again next month in South Africa.  

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