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June 15, 2010

Coca Cola beat us to it!

By Cynara Vetch

Today was the day we got pipped to the post by Coca Cola.

We crossed the border to Tanzania this morning and got to Arusha. We’re staying in ‘The Everest’ a crazy little place, which is a cross between a Chinese restaurant and a hotel. Mr Zan is our host he can’t speak English or Kiswahili but he loves Tanzanian Kilimanjaro beer and is very excited to have 13 guests in this sleepy town.

When we headed to the town market place for the evening game Brazil vs North Korea but when we arrived Coca Cola had stolen our thunder. They’d parked a huge truck in the centre of the site and had erected a screen twice the size of ours!

Luckily they were keen to collaborate, Family Health International (FHI) had been speaking to them and we decided that we would set up our entertainment mid way between the two matches. FHI links with local NGOs from target areas, in Arusha they work with Africa Wings who have set up a network of musicians, radio presenters and students. This group all work together for free to talk to the young guys and girls in the area, educating them and encouraging to prevent and treat HIV and other health issues.

 It was a great atmosphere and FHI really know how to work a crowd. Sam Pepo and Space Unit, well known rappers in the area, performed to a 800 strong crowd. They tackled issues of love, sex and living as a young person in the town. Afterwards they talked to the crowd about preventing HIV and discussed the problems the virus was causing about the community. Ally Babu and Adam Njarita from Africa Wings then set up a quiz where rows of raised hands were waving desperately trying to win our vuvuzelas and t-shirts.

We left an excited crowd shaking it to Shakira and proudly wearing their new prizes.

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