The Treasures of Tanzania - United Hub

The treasures of Tanzania

By The Hub team

Each week we will profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By Flight Dispatcher Jonathan Uhrig

I originally intended to do this trip as a Kilimanjaro climb and trip to Zanzibar Island, however, I settled on two safaris due to time constraint. The first part of the safari was visiting four national parks and the second was visiting Selous Game Reserve in the south of the country via Cessna on a dirt airstrip. I used Tanzania-Experience.com for my planning. I flew from Chicago to Dubai and from there to Dar Es Salaam. I then flew on Dar Es Salaam to Kilimanjaro Airport, which is surprisingly a very modern airport.

A bit of history about Tanzania: It was formerly the German colony of Tanganyika and was taken over by the British as part of Germany's war reparations from World War I. Tanganyika got its independence from Britain in 1961 and was renamed Tanzania to incorporate Tanganyika and the former independent colony of Zanzibar Island hence the name, Tanzania.

During my first two nights, I stayed in the African View Lodge in Usa River near the town of Arusha. On the first full day of my vacation, I had a free day so I went to the Arusha Central Market where spices, coffees and souvenirs can be purchased. I also visited a snake farm and the Maasai museum. The Maasai people are natives who live in mud huts in the area and are mainly farmers. It is not uncommon to see children, as young as five, with a stick on the side of the road guiding 50-60 head of cattle.

On the first full day of the safari, you get a safety brief and meet the other people you will be traveling with. All safaris use Land Cruisers with a capacity of seven passengers. There is a small compartment in the back for luggage as you travel from lodge to lodge. I traveled with two German couples and a man from Minneapolis. Our first stop was Tarangire National Park, known for its native Baobab Tree. As we made our way to this National Park I saw every animal imaginable, including lions, elephants, giraffes and hippos. I didn't see a rhino until I got to Ngorongoro Crater.

We spent the second day at Lake Manyara, which has more than 600 species of birds. I saw a ton of baboons -- about 200 migrating from one area to another. Lake Manyara is also part of the African Rift Valley, the mountain chain runs from deep in the continent north to Kenya and beyond. The mosquito and Tse Tse fly is prevalent in this area so be sure to use repellent. The Tse Tse fly has a long needlelike proboscis and its bite can be painful.

The third day was the height of the trip with a visit to the Serengeti and a hot air balloon ride. The hot air balloon stays low initially so you have great views of the wildlife below, including the hippos in the river. Then the balloon gently climbs to an altitude of 3,000 feet. From this height, I saw giraffes, gazelles, lions and many acacia trees. It is the only way to see the Serengeti. Afterwards, there is a champagne salute at the landing site to commemorate the first balloon flight in the 1700s. After the toast you are treated to an outdoor brunch and get to sit and talk with the balloon captain. You are even given a certificate for the ride.

The balance of the trip was spent going to Ngorongoro Crater which is home to 27 rhinos. The rhinos are protected here because their horn is coveted by illegal hunters/poachers. I saw hundreds of animals in Ngorongoro Crater thanks to migration season - mainly for zebras and wildebeests. After Ngorongoro, I spent time at a real Maasai Village where they greeted us with their native dance and we got a chance to see their mud hut first hand. Their "kitchen" consists of an open fire, and a typical mud hut has two simple compartments for sleeping. That night, we drove to Ngorongoro Farm House located on a coffee plantation. We took a coffee walking tour and were briefed in detail about the seeding, planting, harvesting and processing of Arabica coffee.

The last two days were spent in the Selous. I flew there in a Cessna Caravan out of Arusha Airport - not as modern as Kilimanjaro but interesting nonetheless. The Selous has its own dirt airstrip so our pilot had to do two go arounds because there was a giraffe on the active runway. In the Selous, I went on another safari that also included walking the safari the next morning and a river cruise on the Rufiji River.

On the last day we were in Dar Es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. I had just enough time to witness the colorful and chaotic atmosphere at the fish market before heading home.

If Tanzania is in your travel plans, you won't be disappointed - it was a wonderful learning experience and very fun.

Things to note before you go:

  • A Visa is required for Tanzania.
  • Yellow Fever vaccine is not required, however, see your physician about other medical requirements.
  • If you plan on doing the hot air balloon trip, be sure to bring plenty of sun block, a hat and warm clothing.

Reflecting on Veterans Day: a message from our CEO Oscar Munoz

By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines , November 11, 2019

Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.

When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.

They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.

I want them to look no further than United Airlines.

That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.

They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.

That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.

We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.

We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.

We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.

As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.

Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.

They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.

Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.

Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.

Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.

But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.

We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.

It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.

On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.

Humbly,

Oscar

United named a top workplace for veterans

By The Hub team , November 10, 2019

Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.

"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.

"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."

Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.

Mission Accomplished

By Matt Adams , November 06, 2019

The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.

Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.

Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.

Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.

"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."

When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.

For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.

Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.

That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.

"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."

The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.

About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.

"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."

When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.

"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."

On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.

"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."

For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.

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