The first American football game in Africa.

Are we sure this is a good idea?

We have exported McDonalds, and you can probably watch “So You Think You Can Dance” in Lagos and Kampala.

Does Tanzania really need blitzing and clothes-lining?

Because apparently they’re going to get it. The Global Kilimanjaro Bowl is set to occur on May 21st, 2011, “under the shadows of Mount Kilimanjaro, following two football clinics for local youth.”

Much of what is scheduled to happen during the Drake University football team’s visit to Tanzania in the spring will doubtless be salutary. The Bulldogs will engage in community service projects for three days at an orphanage in Moshi. The Drake players and coaches will also attempt to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro, as will their opponents, an all-star team from Mexico. The two teams will meet at the top of the mountain and hoist their respective flags.

Come to think of it, that last bit may not entirely delight Africans with memories long enough to recall the various flags that have been jammed into their mountains, plains, and mineral deposits over the past couple of centuries.

But, okay. U.S. football players may well benefit from getting off the field and into the African hills.

Can the same be said of Africans who will witness American football up close for the first time?

A cursory search has revealed that there is a Tanzania Netball Association, and a Handball Association, and a Swimming Association. Golf, Darts, Tennis, Rugby, Cycling, Badminton, Judo, and Scrabble have Tanzanian associations all their own, as do wrestling, karate, cycling, table tennis, boxing, and hockey, though perhaps not the kind that’s played on ice. My understanding is that numbers of Tanzanians also run pretty well.

So are they ready for some football? I wonder if anybody has asked them? And if the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl turns a profit, how are they going to feel about the event becoming the Bank of America Global Kilimanjaro Bowl a year or so hence?

Hooray for international travel and the growth it can encourage among the travelers. So say I to the students at Drake. Hooray, as well, for community service and mountain climbing. But why not leave the flags at home, and the football equipment, too? Think of what you’ll save on baggage fees.