It takes camping to a whole new level – Leonardo Cavazzi and Gianni Brovida from Italy are travelling through Europe in a brand new golden Massey Ferguson 7624 tractor, pitching a tent every night. Between June 10 and July 29 they plan to cover 13,000 kilometres through 17 European countries. It sounds like a farmer’s dream holiday to me. In fact, it’s a big fundraiser for an agricultural school in Chad, Africa.
It all started when Leonardo, an avid cycler throughout the world, tried to get his friend Gianni to go on a bike trip with him. Gianni, according to their homepage http://www.capenorthadventure.com/index_eng.html said, only if we go with a tractor. He must be a red neck farmer! Leonardo had a heart for the school in Chad, bringing in the humanitarian element. Gianni talked to his Massey Ferguson dealer, and the idea was born. The Massey Ferguson company decided to sponsor them, and tire manufacturer Trelleborg added their support.
The two Italians started in their home town of Val Bormido in Italy, moving up through Austria, Slovakia, Poland and the Baltics to Norway. Last Saturday, June 30, they celebrated their arrival in the land of the midnight sun at North Cape, Norway – the most northerly point on the European mainland. They plan to return home via Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France. There they will visit the AGCO Beavais factory in Picardy, northern France, where the tractor was manufactured. Too bad they don’t plan to stop in Switzerland! I would love to visit with these two (only if they speak English…).
The striking golden tractor draws a lot of attention on the road. (It’s gold instead of red because of all the awards this particular tractor has garnered – click on ‘the golden tractor’ on the link above.) This is good advertisement for Massey Ferguson, but also for the African agriculture school. Built two years ago by the LAI Diocese, the school is primarily for children of parents who have died of AIDS. Sister Rosanne Cavarero, the financial manager of the school, hails from Val Bormido and knows Leonardo personally. The school hopes to buy a small tractor. To date they are plowing the fields by hand or with oxen.
You can follow these two men on their mission on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capenorthadventure I have to warn you that most of the page is in Italian. But the pictures are nice. The first link is in English. If you read German, there’s a good story on the two in the agriculture online paper Schweizer Bauer: http://www.schweizerbauer.ch/index.html
I wish the little boys and girls we see in the facebook pictures, students at the school in Chad, could see the tractor that is driving around collecting funds for a tractor for them. I can just see them climbing all over it, laughing and chattering and pushing each other. But they might want the golden tractor instead of the small one they’re hoping to get…