One touch of nature brings the whole world closer together
Tanzania has some of the most beautiful nature reserves in the world. There are 16 national parks and 29 game reserves and it is the home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. There are a large variety of animal life, including elephants, leopards, buffalo, zebras, cheetahs, wilderbeast, giraffes, hippopotamuses and various antelopes. Tarangire is one of these national parks that is located near Arusha in the north of Tanzania and is a popular tourist destination.
This year Gazprom International Children’s Football for Friendship (F4F) is celebrating the theme of ecology for their program in Moscow in the lead up to the World Cup. 211 countries will be represented at the event in early June 2018 and young delegates have been divided into 32 international teams that are named after endangered animals around the world. The Tanzanian youth have been placed in the “Big Turtle” team along with youth from Somalia, Trinidad and Tobago, Solomon Islands, Rwanda and Serbia. By highlighting the theme of ecology F4F is ensuring that young people learn about the importance of nurturing our environment and this theme has been embraced by the Tanzanians.
Going on tour to visit the national parks and to see the wild animals in Tanzania is very expensive by local standards and is often only reserved for international tourists who can afford the experience. This means that local youth, especially those that are living in extreme poverty, have never seen the wild animals and will not get the opportunity to do so in their lifetime.
To celebrate the ecology theme for the F4F program, Lengo Football Academy partnered with local travel company Tazama Africa Tours. Tazama’s community outreach program aims to inspire the next generation of naturalist and conservationists by encouraging a love for nature at a young age. They do this by providing opportunities for young Tanzanians the chance to “see the bush” and learn about these important ecosystems right in their own backyard.
Last Sunday Tazama Africa Tours and Lengo Football Academy took 20 young players on tour to Tarangire National Park. The youth had the chance to see elephants, wildebeests, giraffe, buffalo, zebras, oryx, impalas and gazelles for the first time in their lives. Under the guidance of Tazama Africa Tour’s experienced guides they learnt about Tarangire’s ecosystem and the importance of conserving their natural habitat.
On the tour the Tazama guides and the players honoured the delegation that are going to Moscow in just over two weeks. Our young player who is representing Tanzania, Laigwanani Mollel said, "I feel very fortunate to get the opportunity to visit Tarangire National Park. I saw lots of wildlife today including giraffes, lions, elephants, and ostrich. I learned about the many ways that animals use to survive and we learned how to tell the male and female animals apart by their size and colouring. Thank you to F4F as well as Lengo and Tazama Africa Tours for making this happen."
We look forward to Laigwanani representing Tanzania and playing for the “Big Turtle” team in Moscow in a few weeks.
Thank you to Tazama Africa for providing this once in a lifetime experience to our young players at Lengo Football Academy and to F4F for offering such an amazing opportunity to our two young players to attend the program in Moscow in a few weeks. Go Lengo!
Photography by Tazama Africa Tours & Safari