The Vijiji Center sprang from the serendipitous meeting of the two partners, Amos Meyasi and Sandra Peacock.
It was June 2012, Sandra was on a tour of Tanzania, and Amos was recommended to her as a guide for cultural tourism. While exploring the Arusha region together, they discovered they shared a passion for all things cultural – Sandra as an anthropologist and Amos as a member of the Meru community in Nguruma Village. They also shared a desire to educate visitors and to support local communities. And so, they decided to build a small guest lodge on land owned by Amos’ family, where travellers could stay and learn about the peoples of Tanzania, and that would provide employment and other opportunities for village members.
They also created The Vijiji Foundation, a registered non-profit organization (Registration: NGO-6497), whose mission is to improve the lives of local Tanzanian people through a variety of community-driven initiatives that create lasting change.
Amos Meyasi grew up in Nguruma Village and attended Mount Meru University where he studied Culture and Tourism. Amos has nearly 20 years of experience with volunteers, education, and cultural tourism, as well as extensive experience in organizing and guiding wildlife safaris and mountain treks.
Sandra Peacock is an Associate Professor Emerita at the University of British Columbia in Canada where she taught courses in archaeology and anthropology for nearly 20 years. She brings her understanding of cultures past and present to the interpretive programs at The Vijiji Center and taught summer field courses in anthropology and community-based research at The Vijiji Center for three years. She divides her time between Canada and Tanzania.