9Strategic Influence: Growing Our Impact

The flight from Dar es Salaam to the capital city of Tanzania, Dodoma, in the fall of 2014 felt surreal. It had not been a part of the country-visit plan until just a few days earlier. The suit Cory was wearing on the flight was too big, but he had to make a last-minute purchase in the downtown market in Dar es Salaam because he had not planned for a formal meeting. No time for tailoring. The prime minister had summoned us.

Dodoma seemed to appear out of nowhere. It was an urban oasis in the middle of an arid region, dusty and dry just before the rainy season. What were we doing here? What did the prime minister want?

Security was tight as we entered the grounds of the National Assembly. That day was the end of the legislative session, and we could see on the close-captioned television in the prime minister’s office that the debate on the assembly floor was vigorous. Cory and his two colleagues waited for a short time before the minister of education and vocational training at the time, Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, entered the waiting room. We had met previously, so it was nice to see a familiar face. We engaged in the niceties of polite conversation and updated Dr. Kawambwa about recent successes in our literacy and girls’ education programs. We could tell he was a bit distracted, as his eyes continued to divert to the floor debate on television, but he remained cordial and engaged. At the same time, he did not offer any clues as to why we ...

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