About the Author: Beth Mahoney serves as a Community Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania.
On June 30, 2010, the CLO team (Community Liaison Officer) sponsored the embassy community a July 4 Independence Day celebration that brought together over 200 local Tanzanians and their families including State, USAID, CDC, and Peace Corps. They enjoyed cotton candy, popcorn, sack races, face painting, piñatas and a spectacular firework display. The atmosphere of the evening was like being in the middle of the United States in a small town where neighbors and friends got together and enjoyed good food and drink and spent time with their friends and families. The dessert contest was successful and brought friendly competition among the spouses. The Marines did a flawless performance while presenting the colors. One Marine in particular, Cpl. Martinez, entertained the crowd with an impromptu performance -- singing and dancing solo with "Soul Man" playing in the background. The event was a huge success, and the positive comments and feedback the next morning throughout the embassy proved that with a bit of teamwork, sense of humor and organization, America's birthday can be celebrated worldwide.
The next day, July 1, Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt hosted about 500 Tanzanian government, business and cultural leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and other dignitaries at his residence at an official reception in honor of the U.S. Independence Day. Ambassador Lenhardt said the robust partnership between the United States and Tanzania is based on mutual respect and mutual responsibility. In 2009, the American people contributed over half a billion dollars in direct bilateral assistance to Tanzania plus hundreds of millions dollars more through international organizations.
Ambassador Lenhardt said the spirit of self-reliance and national pride is among the values shared by both Tanzania and the United States: "We expect Tanzania -- as do the Tanzanian people -- one day to join the ranks of former foreign aid recipients who are now foreign aid contributors." The reception also featured a memorable rendition of Tanzanian and U.S. national anthems by Tanzanian pop singer Lady Jay Dee and a magnificent display of fireworks over the Indian Ocean.
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