Hello! I am finally checking in to catch you up on my current adventure in Arusha, Tanzania. I returned to this amazing pocket of the world at the end of June and will stay through the beginning of August. This summer my time here is divided among a few different projects: continuing my work with the Literacy Through Photography program (which you can read in last year’s blog post), acting as the photographer for The Foundation For Tomorrow (TFFT, an amazing organization here), and pursuing a personal project that is close to my heart.

On Monday I shifted gears to work with TFFT, and this is what I am excited to share with you today. Let me first briefly introduce you to the foundation and how my opportunity to work with them came to be. The Foundation For Tomorrow believes in the power of using education to turn a life around. TFFT provides boarding school scholarships, an emotional support system, teacher training, libraries, computer training centers, and many other resources to create opportunities for orphaned and abandoned children. Meghann Gunderman, the executive director and founder, has established an incredible team of people completely committed to these children and TFFT?s mission. Part of this team is permanently stationed in Arusha and interacts with the children on a daily basis, and currently 71 children have foster families and full sponsorship because of TFFT. Moreover, TFFT enriches the lives of many other children through their various outreach programs.

Passion has always been a driving force in my life, and I always seek out and embrace projects that excite and inspire me. Working at Tamara Lackey Photography brings many such projects into my life, which is partly why I feel so grateful to have the job that I do. Consequently, it was Tamara who gave me the opportunity to work with TFFT. Amazingly, I was already planning to be in Arusha during the two weeks they needed a photographer. Call it luck or serendipity or fate or whatever you like, but I leapt at this chance and now could not be more thrilled that I did. This is an organization that genuinely places the children at its core, holds them close, and thoughtfully makes every decision with only the kids? best interest in mind. From the moment I began learning about TFFT?s mission to the past few days that I have seen it in practice, I have been constantly impressed and charged with a desire to learn more, see more, do more.

This week I have been traveling around Arusha with Meghann and Carrie (the filmmaker who is creating a documentary about the program) to visit some of TFFT?s partner schools and orphanages. Finally, RIDETZ, a 10-day, 400 mile bike ride for TFFT, begins tomorrow. Over 20 riders have worked hard both to train and fundraise for this unbelievable trip and cause. The route begins at Mount Kilimanjaro and follows an ancient slave route to the Indian Ocean. I will go into greater detail about the ride in later posts and will update the blog along the way, but you can read more about it now here: http://www.thefoundationfortomorrow.org/ride.html.

And now . . . The Foundation For Tomorrow . . .

Let’s begin with Meghann herself!

Fratern is TFFT’s Managing Director. As a native Tanzanian with a masters in non-profit leadership, he is an indispensable asset to the team and an incredible role model to TFFT’s kids. Here he is with Meghann and Nicemary, TFFT’s head girl.

TFFT’s children burst with such adorable personalities . . . and quite a bit of spunk . . . it’s impossible not to love them . . .

Here is one of the bedrooms at Good Hope Academy, one of TFFT’s partner orphanages. Many of TFFT’s children come from this home.

This is Usa River Academy, the boarding school where almost all of the children with TFFT scholarships live during the school year. TFFT’s staff spend a lot of time and energy here with the children providing after-school programs and playing with the children.

Some TFFT students . . .

TFFT’s staff provide these children with such love, and oh my goodness, they get so much love in return!

I hope through these photos I was able to introduce you to the spirit of The Foundation For Tomorrow. Please check back here for updates and take a moment to visit TFFT’s website to learn more about RIDETZ and the special organization it benefits! I feel so blessed to (quite literally) be along for the ride :)