Two years ago, former ABC and NBC news anchor Forrest Sawyer was injured during a helicopter crash while on assignment for the Travel Channel in Tanzania. Sawyer later said that he felt close to death after the helicopter inverted and landed in Lake Natron. Thankfully, with the help of local Masai warriors including Isaya Oleporuo who accompanied them during the trip, Sawyer and his crew all managed to escape the accident with their lives.
This week, Sawyer reconnected with the Oleporuo when the tribesman made his first visit to New York City. The two unlikely pals spoke to the NY Daily News about Oleporuo’s visit and the evolution of their friendship:
“It is something I never see,” Oleporuo said Tuesday. “The buildings and the people are so very different. There a lot of people. I saw important things. And memories I will take back to my land and my country.”
While in New York, Oleporuo took in a Yankee game, saw his first movie in a theater and attended “The Lion King” on Broadway. “I’m his surrogate father,” Sawyer said. “I call him his village name, he calls me Papa.”
Though he was impressed with the city’s buildings, Oleporuo said it was seeing the Yankee game, and getting a practice ball from the team, that made a big impact. “I didn’t know what the Yankees looked like,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave.”