Testing African Time to its very limits we schedule meetings with the UNHCR, Simba Football Club, the Tanzanian Football Federation, The ITV television channel and the Guardian and Citizen newspapers.
Our early morning meeting with the UNHCR was straight forward and ran on time, although I reckon I managed to upset a senior member of staff there. You see, I cannot understand why, after 10 months on the road, Bjorn is not receiving better support from the UNHCR. Not only is he working free-of-charge for the organisation, but he has also spent thousands of pounds of his own money and will be away from his family for almost a year. I told the UNHCR representative in Dar es Salaam that I cannot understand why they knew next to nothing about his trip before our arrival and also offered next to no support in the country until we were leaving. The same story has been repeated in respect to the UNHCR in nearly every country Bjorn has visited.
We were told that we need to communicate more with the Head Office in Geneva. I do not agree. Geneva needs to communicate more with us…and with every other regional office in southern and eastern Africa. To date, this project has spread the word to more than 80 million people worldwide. It is time the UNHCR woke up and started helping us more.
My message is: when we get to Malawi we want the UNHCR to organise a press conference with all the national press and the country’s main football clubs. We want transport around the city, a simple bed to be provided and good internet access. I do not think it is too much to ask for.