Today, there are only a handful of my class mates who actually work in the field they studied…graphic design. Some have landed the ‘big full time design job’ with some reputable companies, and others are working at coffee shops or other non-related jobs.
When moving here to Arusha I was rather skeptical about the ability to successfully do design work, despite Colton assuring me there was so much opportunity here. Well the first 6 months were more on the discouraging side in terms of my work. It was a foreign country, foreign language, foreign way of driving (manual cars and opposite side of the road), etc. There was not much initiative from me to go out and actively search/promote my design skills.
Eventually, through a friend at church, I was told of a mission organization not far from our house that was in need of a full-time graphic designer. Colton could drop me off on the way to his work and pick me up on the way home. It was perfect. After contacting this organization they ‘hired’ me almost immediately. Since it was a missions station I was only volunteering my time but knew this would open more opportunities for me.
After about 8 months of fun, challenging, and unique projects it was time to move on. During those months I had received a phone call from a ‘stranger’ who was given my number by a mutual acquaintance. This person had a marketing and events company and needed some free-lance design work. I agreed to meet her and take on a few projects here and there. The stranger who called is now my current work partner and closest friend here in Arusha.
So at the end of 8 months, when all my projects were completed at the mission, I moved to a full-time design position for my friends company. In addition to design I also learned bits of how to help, organizing and manage events. Some of our jobs took us to safari lodges, luxury tented camps, the beach, and other adventures.
Fast forward 2.5 years later and we are still working together, great friends, and I’m a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. Now I’ve given you all this back story to understand the main point of this post:
The FNB-RVO Cycling Event in Arusha.
This event was quite a big deal. The first of its kind in Tanzania. And my work partner is the one who made it all happen.
Cycling is an up and coming sport in Tanzania. We had done some work and a few small events for the Rotary Club Arusha – who sponsor and support a cycling club in Arusha (who we had also worked with).
There is a annual cycling event in Kenya that my work partner had participated in and had the dream for it coming to Tanzania. This is the RVO – Rift Valley Odyssey. She was able to get the RVO to come down and host the event in Arusha.
In order for this to happen we had to have a pretty large sponsor. FNB is a very well known bank from South Africa who do a lot of sport event sponsoring. They are trying to break into the market in Tanzania. My work partner being from Zimbabwe/South Africa reached out to the head of FNB Tanzania and pitched the proposal to them. They agreed and ended up sponsoring over 100 cycling jerseys, water bottles & bags. Hence the name FNB-RVO.
This was a 2 day event at the beginning of December. We did all the signage and promotional materials as well as organizing and managing the event. There were over 50 participants…which is a lot for it being an up & coming sport and first time event in Tanzania.
Our amazing photographer and friend was able to capture the event beautifully! Check out more of her pictures from the event here:
It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. The event was a huge success and we are hoping to continue it annually. This is my job and I am so thankful that I am able to do what I enjoy.
Here are a few more pictures from the weekend of the event.