Our Tour Through Africa Reaches Tanzania

Ryan Jones, Rugby Programme Coordinator, gives us a quick run down of what we have been up to in Tanzania:

“Firstly, before I write anything else I have to get it out of my system, Tanzania is massive!! It’s a massive country, with massive mountains, scenery, culture and will always have a ‘massive’ long-lasting place in my heart.

I have seen and experienced so much within our time in Tanzania that it’s very difficult to put into words! The expedition team crossed into Tanzania with long-term supporter and director of Lloyd Morgan Productions, Lloyd Morgan.

The first beautiful scene to meet us was Lake Manyara and its brilliant baboons! As always, I’m completely honoured to be a team member, that feeling of privilege has only been enhanced by my time in Tanzania.

Unique to Tanzania, our work spread into three separate locations instead of one per country. First up was Arusha: We were fortunate enough to be accommodated at the lovely Braeburn School and I placed myself alongside JP and Ben for our week’s worth of uniting, empowering and inspiring through rugby at Arusha Primary.

The weather was quite an issue, but utilising our trademark adaptability and sponteneouty, we successfully put together a fantastic rugby week which also included meeting ‘Jonny Mike’ – the 80-year old giant tortoise and Arusha Primary mascot – the stunning TGT rugby pitch as well as Jon, Ben and myself having the pleasure of spending an evening coaching young Arushans full contact rugby!

The second Tanzanian location to be visited was the town of Moshi, where we had the pleasure of staying at the Stella Maris hotel (a non-profit organisation that funds an AIDS victims orphanage) – a mostly clear view of Mount Kilimanjaro each day and the only thing that could possibly top those two amazing things: working with Moshi street children from the wonderful Mkombozi agency! This is a charity I fully intend to support on my return to the UK.

I’m a pretty down-to-earth guy but for three days I think I was in the most bizarre form of paradise! To be a volunteer in Africa is to follow in the footsteps of many, many remarkable people. However, to experience elation that is unique to you and the homeless/deprived children you are selflessly helping, in a way that’s different to everybody else, is a phenomenal feeling. A feeling that I will always treasure, and I’m eternally grateful to United Through Sport for this huge opportunity for self discovery and one of the best weeks of my life!

We had a well earned week-off from project work after visiting the museums and crocodile farms of the former slave port, Bagamoyo. Most of the team headed to Zanzibar to rest a bit after 10 weeks on the road!

The team’s last stop in Tanzania is Dar es Salaam where we first stayed at the beach side campsite Mikadi, travelling to Dar by Tuk-Tuk and ferry each day. Right now, Ben and I are so fortunate to be staying in our new ‘home’ with ex-Tanzanian rugby international, JT, and his lovely wife Lynn. (Thank you so much for your hospitality, please look me up on your next UK visit!)

Mike, Jon and I are working with Mapambano Primary School, such an organised institution, heroically led by Head Teacher Idda Uisso!

If you thought that it might take us a while to get back into the swing you could not be more wrong! With Idda’s enthusiasm, the children’s unlimited appreciation, G4S’ superb input and support in coaching refreshments and resources, a daily rendition of the Tanzanian National Anthem – closely followed by the song “welcome teachers, Mr Richard we love you” – Mapambano reached a United Through Sport first, by achieving a Level 4 Assessment Award Certificate!

Dar es Salaam has the potential to be a new personal best for us! Thank you as always for your support and well wishes!

See you all in Malawi.”

Check out a video of our work in Tanzania.

6 Month Expedition Starts in Ethiopia

Building on the success of 2011′s preparation work and the foundations laid during 2012′s first mission, United Through Sport’s, Bhubesi Pride project, embarked on its second expedition this week to support the development of rugby in ten African countries and see the sport inspire further sustainable community projects.

Our man Richard Bennett leads a team of six members, from various countries, who all have a wealth of experience and understanding of the game. Over the next 6 months, using two 4x4s, they will take important messages to communities all over Africa using the power of sport to bring people together, have fun and teach important life skills to young people. Continued school links between the UK and Africa will also be a key focus for the expedition.

This week the team have been visiting various schools around Ethopia (see photos below) and will be heading south to enter Kenya on the 16th Feb.

Richard Bennett explains more about their first week: “When looking to develop something new in any area, it’s key to work with local, responsible staff that can take up the ‘topic’ and grow or expand ‘it’ sustainably. At United Through Sport, we know the importance of working with local teachers and coaches as well as children in several schools to provide the community here [in Ethiopia] the best opportunity to keep rugby going, and see it as a tool to unite communities!”

Team Members:
Richard Bennett
Ryan Jones
Juan Pablo Andrade
Guillaume Boisseau
Ben Illingworth
Jonathan Markowitz
Mike Coogan

Map of the Journey:
Tour of Africa











The 6 Month Itinerary:

Team Training in the UK: 25 – 31 January; fly to Addis Ababa
Ethiopia (Adama): 2 – 9 February
Kenya (Nairobi): 16 – 23 February
Uganda (Jinja): 2 – 9 March
Rwanda (Rulindo and Kigali): 13 – 21 March
Tanzania (Arusha and Moshi): 24 March – 3 April

[Half Time | Team Drinks Break: 7 – 13 April]

Tanzania (Dar es Salaam): 14 – 21 April
Malawi (Lilongwe): 27 April – 4 May
Zambia (Choma): 10 – 17 May
Botswana (Gaborone): 22 – 29 May
Namibia (Rehoboth): 3 – 9 June
South Africa (Port Elizabeth): 15 – 22 June
End of expedition in Cape Town: Friday 28 June