Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Cost of Ignorance..

Have you ever tried to write something and find out that it ain't coming out the way you wanted it? Well, this reflection is going to be one of those. For those who like to write, you can concur that the first sentence or the first paragraph tends to be the indication of how the whole article is going to shape. Hey, but who cares, sometimes we gotta relax and just flow with it..

I have done alot of musing on what is happening in Bongoland and what it means in a logical world. Nonetheless, I feel that taking about a larger community without doing a little introspection on a subset of that larger community could be an injustice. I mean, a larger community is always made up of smaller community, right? As such, I am justified to say that that the Tanzanian community in Columbus, Ohio forms a subset of Tanzania. So I am going to slam me and you - that is, a Bongolander in Columbus. Don't raise your marungu yet. Just think.

I would be 98% correct by making an argument that we all boarded a plane, across deep oceans to this land called the United States of America to pursue economic opportunities. I know some of you would start to argue that you came for education, but I am convinced that the majority of us go to school to earn more money. So let's talk about the money part. Let's dig into it.

I know have shot some hard punches at our viongozi for their inability to critically think and make decisions. I have provided reasons for my punches, so I am clean on that. Nonetheless, I am of the opinion that wazee in Bongoland are no worse than us at times, because we have also failed to fully utilize all the opportunities we have around us. If you think I am kidding, just go with me numerically ( can't help it man, as an accountant numbers bring me joy). I think I have share this theory before, but I will try to bring it up again.

It is estimated that there are 400 Tanzanians in Columbus, Ohio. I have no done any verification on this number, so I will just use this estimate for argument purposes. It in deed there are 400 of us here in Columbus, and our average budget for rent is $500 on a monthly basis, that translates into a whopping $200,000 a month! Oh better yet, that translates into a staggering $2,400,000 a year!

Think about that.

Think about the dollars we spend on non-Tanzanian apartment owners and West African stores. Think about the amount of dollars you have spent on Sean Paul and Timberland. Thing about the dollars you have dished to Heineken and Budwiser. Think about the potential $2,400,000 that could make us into self-made millionaires that we "waste" . Just think about that. Just think about apartment complexes that we could have been rightful owners of...think about other investment opportunities we could have pursued. Think about that.

See, my conviction is that ignorance is costly. As a matter of fact, the general rule is that the most successful people in life are those with the best information. The problem, however, is that we tend to think that the best information is hidden somewhere far, or such information is for the lucky folks. I am here to tell you that we have the best information just at our fingertips. Sometimes, in order to tap into that information we have to apply uncommon wisdom. You have to think outside the box.

And I believe we have enough thinkers in this Tanzanian community. We have enough educated people. The problem is our attitude. We set ourselve for failure all the time, although we think we are making it. So my challenge is this, do we really want to seize and fully utilize all the opportunities that we have, or we just want to go our separate ways? Do we want to prove to each other how we have "made it" without anybody's help? See, the American way of life is tougher sometimes because of the individualistic attitudes. Fortunately for you and I, we have this ujamaa legacy in us. If that is our strength, then let us use it to beat the American system. Let us use it to make ourselves better economically.

The question of the day is: Do we want to be millionaires or we want to continue with our vichaa, distribution and call center jobs?

Think about that.


mwandani said...

Im not in columbus, but the situation is somehow similar everywhere I've been, including where we come from.

Viongozi awali ya yote ni watanzania kabla ya kuongoza, wazee ni watanzania kabla ya kuzeeka.

Vijana wanaonyesha dalili zote za kuwa kama viongozi wao au wazee.

Ujamaa ni imani alisema nyerere. nadhani kutengeneza chombo chochote inabidi kwanza kutengeneza trust baina ya watu kwa njia ya ku-communicate kwa maneno na kwa vitendo. naamini tukiweza kuona vitendo basi tunaweza kuunganisha nguvu bila kuwa suspicious...
I said suspicious kwa sababu naamini hiyo ndiyo natural reflex ya watu wowote.

ned said...

you know am with you on this one... I mean, I have tried to rub on the fact that hao viongozi are a subset of our society.. That is, you see viongozi wabaya....well they come from among ourselves, in my opinion they do nothing unexpeted.
You and I agree on the most probable root of the problem(s) we face - our attitude.
Probably a million $$ question is... what do we need to do to change? Simply encouraging ourseleves to change - won't do much.. I mean maneno matupu... (as a matter of fact hata hayatikisi mshipa:)... so where does this leave us? no where!

In anyway.. nimeweka idea ya an electronic think tank on my blog... so far no taker.. but what can I say? - ndivyo tulivyo? may be ndivyo tulivyo:))
Ciao bro

mwandani said...

Ned, do not despair.

I am sure there are people who are interested, like those that spend time bashing the system and our mentality everyday. I am sure they want to see some changes just as you do.

You thanked some people who responded privately and openly in one of your posts. I guess somehow some people responded.

I am not sure for how long you've been thinking about the think tank idea but You've taken your time to think through. Give people a chance to think and respond. I know its not nuclear science, but serious matters require serious response.

Bado naamini kuwa watu wanaweza kuhamasishwa kufanya lolote.

Jeff Msangi said...

Few years ago I had started thinking very negative about almost everything.I thought the world has failed me and I am on my way failing it too.But after just few literatures on positive and ambitious thinking I became new again.I think its important to remind each other that the number one cause of failure is attitude.You are seriously who you think you are! I am happy to see that you tirelessly bring about the need to change for better through positive thinking.

Jaduong Metty said...


Mimi nasema kwamba tatizo ni kwamba tuko kwenye steji mbalimbali kifikra. Lakini hii ni changamoto kwetu kubadili njia zetu za kiutendaji. Kama umetoa mwaliko kiujumla na hakuna anayeitikia, mwandikie Jeff binafsi na umwambie kwamba kuna kitu iko hapa natengeneza.

I am convinced this is the way go, extending personal invitation. Watanzania niwaongeaji wazuri (theorists) lakini waoga wa mabadiliko, unless unambana mmoja mmoja.