15.05.2017 10:59

To transport three tractors from Czech Republic to Africa? For parson and his team it isn’t problem

Autor: P U | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

He is a parson from Žďár nad Sázavou. No one would say that this person is one of the authors of the idea to take three tractors and transport them to Africa, where they should help people in agriculture.

Vladimír Záleský drives a tractor (Vladimír Záleský - archiv)

Vladimír Záleský is a parson. He always had a tendency to help people. His second visit to Africa gave birth to an idea that laid the foundation of an amazing project. “Our first visit to Africa was more about exploring. When me and my colleagues went to Tanzania for the second time, we managed to build a kindergarten in the village of Mpanga. During both our visits priest Norbert spoke about the fact that the villagers from Mpanga need a tractor,” he says.

The village Mpanga is located in south of Tanzania. For a lot of people who live there is farming very crucial to their livelihood. A machine such as a tractor makes farming there much easier. “Firstly we wanted to make collection of money and bought a tractor for Mpanga village in Africa,” he clarifies. The problem is that tractors and other agricultural machinery are very expensive in Africa. Vladimír Záleský and his team decided to find better solution.

After a small research they realized that is cheaper to buy tractor in the Czech Republic and then transport it to Africa in container on the ship. There is one very important fact. The containers are large enough for two big and one small tractor. “There was a place for another two tractors so why not to use it? From one tractor for village we moved to three tractors for the villagers,” he says.

Tanzanian villages especially the small ones like Mpanga are usually poor and not so well equipped. This fact was decisive for in choosing the type of tractor, which they wanted to transport to Africa. The ideal tractor for Mpanga should be strong and very easy to repair. In the best case they should be able to repair this tractor with hammer, duct tape and WD-40- oil in spray. “After a few consultations with experts on agricultural machinery we decided to choose the typical Czech representative of tractors - Zetor Super 50,” parson says. These tractors were manufactured by Brno company Zetor between years 1960 and 1968. It is said that these machines are nearly immortal and almost everybody is able to repair them.

With the money raised from volunteers they bought two Zetors Super 50 and one small tractor. From this moment the project was called “Tractors for Africa”. But tractors weren’t only thing that should travel to the Tanzania. As a symbolic gift for village Mpanga they added to the container the big bronze bell. A lot of people in the south of Tanzania are Christians. The main reason of this is that missionaries, especially Franciscans, weren’t scare of natural conditions there. Bell is for small village like Mpanga very rare thing. It should serve to convene people to the church.

The trickiest part of this project was to get permission for picking up the container with tractors from port in Dar es Salaam. “There were big problems with officials. They were trying to delay picking up the container from port as much as it was possible. They did this for the simple reason that the longer the container stays there, the more money you pay,” he recalls. Luckily they made it relatively quick.

The most interesting part of this project started in the Tanzanian city called Ifakara. The container content travelled there on a truck. But there were the end of the road. “We had to travel to Mpanga by tractors. Everybody from our group was looking forward to this moment,” Záleský added. From Ifakara to Mpanga it is 180 kilometers. Everybody knows that the tractors, especially old Zetor tractors, aren’t the fastest vehicles on the planet Earth. They had to ride overnight.

During the journey to Mpanga experienced parson Záleský one of the most surprising, funniest and scariest moment of his life. “ I was driving one of the tractors. I blinked and when I opened my eyes there were just banana trees all around me. I realized that I felt asleep and drove away from the path. Luckily no one was injured and tractor did not break,” he tells with the smile on his face. There were also some technical issues with tractors but nothing fatal. They arrived in the village in two days and everybody were celebrating their arrival.

These three tractors help people of Mpanga until these days. It is four years since they arrived. Every year comes two people back to the Tanzania to check tractors and make general maintenance of these machines. “ At the start of this project we didn’t expect that we will be transporting three big machines from Czech Republic to small village in Tanzania. It wasn’t easy but it was amazing experience, he says.

Klíčová slova: Africa, tractors, Tanzania


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