From Tanzania to the falls of Rouken Glen

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Rouken Glen rangers have swapped ideas and stories with a counterpart all the way from Tanzania.

Safari driver and tour guide Omari Henry Kitundu is in East Renfrewshire on a visit, and has been introduced to well-known Rouken Glen Park staff Garry Nixon and Billy Fry.

They’ve had the chance to exchange information and find out more about the differences of working in parks 5,000 miles apart.

The meeting and tour of Rouken Glen was arranged by Giffnock resident Phyllis Hutchison — founder of Scottish Friends of Children Concern Foundation, which raises money to help orphaned children in Tanzania.

She met Omari when she travelled to Tanzania to go on safari. As reported in The Extra, Phyllis asked to visit one of the orphanages as she had some small gifts from home. She was so moved by the children’s plight, she pledged to help.

Phyllis said: “It was there I learned the extent of the poverty in that particular area. When I returned to the UK I kept in contact with Omari and set up the charity, for which Omari now helps with ‘on the ground’ activity in Tanzania.”

Omari was delighted to meet senior park ranger Garry and Billy, senior foreperson.

He said: “It is fantastic. Rouken Glen is beautiful — my favourite feature is the waterfall. I am hoping to come back to and visit again.”

Billy said it was a rare chance to compare the differences of working in a Scottish park and one in east Africa.

“Garry knows a lot about birds and Omari is more likely to encounter bats, so it’s the birdman meeting batman! Phyllis walks often in the park and we were happy to help.”