Football: the Universal Language | Africa Nomad Stories | World Nomads


[MUSIC PLAYING] On Kilimanjaro, you go for six,
seven days, or eight or nine days That is not a joke. It’s pretty long. But you don’t feel that toughness
because of people surrounding you. %
The time you are
spending from the start to like before the summit day.
That’s a lot of time you’re spending there. You need to make sure that you’re happy
From day one to the day that you are about to summit. That you should make
good use of it. So I’ve been dreaming about
climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for years. My dad actually climbed 40 years ago. And I knew I’d follow in
his footsteps one day. What I didn’t realize when
we were planning our trip was that actually
reaching Uhuru Peak would only be half of
our Kilimanjaro story. Breaking through language barriers to build bonds
with our porters from all over Tanzania, that’s what I’ll
remember forever. And it’s really all thanks to
this little Man U football. Before hitting the Marangu
Gate to start our climb, we stopped at a gas station to pick up some
last-minute snacks and water and Gatorade. We noticed a little deflated football
in the corner of the store. So we picked it up. And we started
juggling in the parking lot with our driver. And that was the beginning of a full
six days of intense and fun football. At this point, we hadn’t actually met our
porters yet, but that was about to change. We took our first
hike for the day. And as we started getting closer to camp,
we heard this very familiar noise that we’d heard
several hours before. And as we walked
up, we found out that our soccer ball was in the
middle of a circle of porters who were all playing keep
away from each other. So no formal introductions with
our team from Omani, Africa, were made. We kind of just jumped right in. And it was awesome that we did, because while many
of the porters didn’t speak much English, and we barely spoke any Swahili, we had this
instant bond through the sport of football. And we all just became
friends immediately. We really became part
of the porter family. [CHANTING] We didn’t know you before. You didn’t know us before. But now, we’re together. We’re doing this together. So this means you’ll
never forget us, and we will never forget you. We love you.
And see you at the top. The climb became about so much more
than just reaching Uhuru Peak. The day before our summit, we had a full-on two-hour
tournament with the porters at 10,000 feet. And at that point, it was easy to forget
the true challenge that was ahead of us– climbing Mount Kilimanjaro,
because that’s why we were there. And so once the game wrapped
up, and we all went back to our tents, You know, we started talking about
the fears of getting pulmonary edema, or not being able to get to the top. But I think that because we
had this bond with our team, they made us confident
that we could do it. So we climbed the next day,
got to the next camp; no football that night,
our guides would not let us. Because the next morning, really that night,
was the start of our true ascent up Kilimanjaro. See you at the top, guys. Woo! [CHANTING] After a little over
five grueling hours climbing up the last leg of
Kilimanjaro’s Marangu route, we reached the summit. But what really hit me
was on our way down, our porters, our family, were
so excited that we had done it. So they were running up the mountain
to come find us and celebrate with us. We’d spent six days bonding through
the universal language of football. And while, of course, we were
sad to leave, we can’t forget the friendships that were formed because
that mini football that only costs us $1 has all of the autographs
of every single friend, and now brother, that
we met along the trip. This is not the end of us. We’re the family now. We’re the same team. So we are home
when we are there. You are home when you’re here. When you go home, remember,
you have a family in Africa. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

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