Sunday, 15 February 2015

Of cats and commitment

My Tanzania tour client Mick Stallwood is a gifted photographer and has been kind enough to share some of his photos with me. Where I pointed my iPhone in the vague direction of cheetahs and leopards, Mick took gorgeous images of them. More of his work may be found here.

Plains zebras fighting in Arusha National Park

Mother and cub cheetahs in Tarangire National Park

Leopard in the southern Serengeti

Thanks to Mick and Trina for these photos and for their very good company on our tour.

I must also very sincerely thank Zul Bhatia, my Naturetrek tour-leading colleague. Though he now works for the RSPB in Scotland, Zul grew up in Tanzania and is generous with advice and insights on his beautiful home country, its people, wildlife and landscapes.

For almost twenty years, Zul and his wife Jenny have supported a Tanzanian charity called EMFERD founded by a remarkable woman called Josephine Bakhita. In Jenny's words:

She had a disabled son herself and suffered the rejection and isolation that all parents of disabled children experienced. She was a trained social worker and decided to do something herself. She set up a day centre with the help of a European friend. The centre grew and its work expanded to support families in a wide area, particularly those in isolated villages. Her more recent charity is called EMFERD. It stands for Erick Memorial Fund for the Education and Rehabilitation of Disabled, in memory of her son Erick who died in 2003 aged 33. She is based in Morogoro and has several disabled children living with her. Her main work is outreach and setting up a classroom. She also organises workshops for the parents to support and motivate them. She is absolutely dedicated to her mission to aid all disabled children and young adults and families with whom she comes into contact.

If you have enjoyed reading about Tanzania and would like to know more about the work of EMFERD or to support them, please visit the charity's Facebook page.

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