November 21, 2011
Over the past decade, lion expert and conservationist, Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld, has researched declining lion populations throughout Africa due to human encroachment. During a recent TEDx conference, she spoke specifically about the conflict between lions and the Maasai of Tanzania.
Livestock is a sacred and valuable commodity to the Maasai but an easy meal for lions. The loss of a cow has an immediate impact on the personal wealth and prestige of a herdsman. With so much at stake, the Maasai often engage in retaliatory killings of nearby lions.
Dr. Lichtenfeld believes this activity has contributed greatly to the overall decline in lion populations.
Watch the video below to learn about Living Walls, the innovative fencing enclosure developed by Dr. Lichtenfeld. Her on-ground, non-profit organization works with the Maasai to build these enclosures and educate and empower their communities. Dr. Lichtenfeld says this combination of elements has “transformed warriors fighting wildlife into warriors for wildlife.”
November 10, 2011
Heidi and Jack’s travel plans to Tanzania were two-fold: not only did they hope to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro during their trek with Thomson, but they also wanted to exchange rings while they were on the mountain. Much to their surprise, however, their simple elopement plans quickly developed into an impromptu wedding ceremony, complete with officiant, best man and many new friends in attendance. To top it off, Kili’s iconic Lava Tower served as a breathtaking backdrop to their special wedding. Heidi and Jack shared their story with us; read it below.
The IMAX film inspired us to do the Kili trip. As the date approached, we decided this would be the perfect elopement trip. Our original plan was a simple exchange of wedding rings on the mountain.
We’d been with our trekking group for a couple of days but hadn’t shared our idea until we got to the Londorossi gate. It all started when fellow trekker and nurse from the Mayo Clinic, Kim, asked how long we had been married. We laughed as we showed her the rings we were carrying around our necks and told her our plan to elope on the mountain.
Kim asked if she could tell the rest of the group, and from there, everything took on a life of its own in the most fantastic way. Lou, another hiker in our group, was a minister who said he would be honored to do a small ceremony for us. The ceremony he designed was simple but beautiful, just what we wanted. Seasoned trekker and the oldest person in our group at 70, Jim, volunteered to walk me down the aisle. Our head guide, Wilfred, served as Jack’s best man. Wilfred later told us via email, that when he told his wife this story, she didn’t believe him!
We decided to have the ceremony at Lava Tower so everyone could be part of it – and what a community wedding it ended up being! Our Thomson group, plus another Thomson group and the combined staff, collected before dinner for our wedding. The ceremony was magical, personal and touching, in the most incredible setting.
We have a wedding guest book signed by almost 100 people, none of whom we’d met two weeks before. Everything was just perfect. Thanks to the joy and participation from everyone traveling with us, we definitely had the wedding we had always dreamed of that we never knew we could have!