Within a couple of hours of my arrival, the neighborhood kids realized a mzungu had landed and they hang around outside the gate now, ready to carefully observe me the minute I walk out the door. And about a week after we’d moved in, I was on the porch when a lady came to the gate to greet me. We were chatting and she asked me for the location of the DFP office because she was looking for work.
DFP? I ran through a list of acronyms in my head; CHW, DMO, FZS, CBD, SEECF, EU, CREATE, TAWIRI, TANAPA… PB&J… No DFP. I asked her again, what is DFP? She seemed to be indicating that I work for DFP and that she wanted a job from me. Not entirely surprising given that we just hired enumerators, but what on earth was DFP? I looked around; at my t-shirt, at the porch. And then I saw the license plate of our EU-funded vehicle: DFP 1289. Donor Funded Project. Vehicles in Tanzania that have outside funding get a sort of tax-exempt status, which is indicated on their plates, to keep track of the many foreign-funded cars and trucks.
I had to laugh. Ohhhh. I explained that DFP wasn’t my employer or any organization; it just means that the vehicle, and thus the passengers in it, are funded by foreign donations. But, in reality, she knew exactly what DFP meant. DFP translates to jobs.
Anyway, I explained that we weren’t hiring now, but the project will continue for a couple of years and there is always a possibility of something in the future. And then I headed back into my donor-funded house.