This beautiful film was just released! Have a look to learn about projects and communities we are proudly supporting in Tanzania.
Robanda Kitchen (after)
Robanda Primary (after)
Robanda Primary (after)
Robanda Primary (before)
Robanda Primary Stoves
Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), our non-profit arm specializing in community-based projects, recently completed the construction of a kitchen with high-efficiency stoves at Robanda Primary School, which is located just outside Serengeti National Park.
Prior to the stove installation, the kitchen staff had to rely on the inefficiency of cooking on an open fire as well as depending on the students to supply bundles of firewood each week.
Yohana Makongo, headmaster at Robanda Primary, told our staff that “thanks to Focus on Tanzanian Communities, the kitchen has been completed and it is wonderful. Our students, teachers, and staff are very excited about using this facility as it will help us very much. Giving students nutritious meals is so critical for learning.”
The benefits of the new kitchen and the stoves are three-fold: food preparation is more efficient, the children can focus on their studies instead of gathering wood and the amount of wood culled from the surrounding area is decreased.
Read about this and more in The Focus, the annual FoTZC newsletter, due to arrive in supporter’s mailboxes this week. Find out how you can become of FoTZC supporter or donate online.
Our 30th year in Tanzania was officially kicked off at a gala event and silent art auction last week. With over 300 Thomson Safaris travelers and friends in attendance, the room buzzed with safari stories and nostalgic recollections of trips of a lifetime as new friends met and old friends reconnected.
Rick and Judi opened the lecture portion of the night by sharing their 30 year journey as one of the first operators in Tanzania’s fledgling tourism industry. Photos from their personal archives not only gave guests an occasional chuckle but also gave them a glimpse of how much Tanzania and its tourism industry has grown.
Guests were also treated to a lecture from Dr. Farish Jenkins, Harvard professor of zoology and longtime Thomson Safaris trip leader, who spoke about the future of African wildlife in an ever-changing world. He was joined by Emmanuel Kileo, a Thomson Safaris’ head guide, who added his first-hand field accounts to support Dr. Jenkins’ data.
[youtube width=”853″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvGoLi4uPLk[/youtube]
Next on the agenda was a Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC) board member who spoke about women’s empowerment and community development in her native country of Tanzania. She provided examples of several projects completed by FoTZC and Thomson Safaris in the past year to benefit communities around the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Finally a key manager from Thomson’s Arusha office, spoke about the importance of Tanzanians supporting their own people and determining their own destinies. She also spoke movingly about working for a company that shares her ethics and her love for Tanzania.
Judi topped it all off with a champagne toast to Tanzania and a nod to the next 30 years!
Since the evening was sponsored by Thomson, all the proceeds from the silent auction went straight to FoTZC and a Maasai women’s collaborative, whose crafts were showcased along with generous donations from our favorite wildlife photographers Andy Biggs and Randy Hanna, and paintings by Tanzanian artists Peter Ray, Robert Aswani, Riziki Kateya and Louise Hill. In total, $10,000 was raised!
Thank you to all who attended for making it an unforgettable night…Thanks to those who would have loved to attend, but lent their support from afar…and thanks to Tanzania for three decades of friendship, collaboration and adventure.
Michela's parents unveil the plaque on the wall of Michela's Room
Students Singing at the Celebration of the Opening of Michela's Room
Michela's Room - Building Complete!
Michela's family walks into the hall for the first time
Kristen and women dance to celebrate the opening of Michela's Room
Five years ago, high school student, Michela Harriman, was tragically killed in a car accident. In Michela’s honor, her parents, Rick Harriman and Kristen Wainwright, suggested that her friends, classmates, and family donate to our partner organization Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC) in lieu of sending flowers.
This was a fitting tribute in so many ways. Michela had an ebullient spirit and a love for Tanzania, which actually began on a Thomson Safari. By working with FoTZC, Rick and Kristen were not only honoring Michela’s memory but helping fulfill her dream of one day assisting Tanzanian women.
The result of this collaboration was the completion of Phase I of Michela’s Room, a massive dining and community hall at Ganako Secondary School in Karatu. The celebration and dedication was held in the newly completed hall in August – with Michela’s family, community leaders and over 400 Tanzanians in attendance.
Rick Harriman, who has plans for additional phases of Michela’s Room added, “It really was a celebration about community and the future.”
The Board of Directors of our partner organization, Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), recently met and was excited about committing to new projects in Tanzania. They are considering numerous initiatives throughout the northern part of the country, including teacher’s housing and women’s empowerment projects. They are eager to share the news in their upcoming November newsletter. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, learn more about FoTZC.
Eliza from our Boston office just wrote to us this morning to tell us about her latest Tanzania adventure.
She’s on the tail end of her third Thomson Safari, this time with her parents and three siblings in tow!
Eliza is one of our predeparture experts, so she spends 5-days-a-week helping guests from all over North America prepare for their adventures. She loved this brand new experience of sharing all that passion for Tanzania with her family.
After some terrific wildlife viewing, the whole family took three days to volunteer their time (and more than a little elbow grease) at Ganako Secondary School in Karatu. They rolled up their sleeves, picked up some shovels, and worked side by side with members of the community on building a new kitchen and dining area for the school. Many wheelbarrows and shovelfuls of gravel later, they had a solid foundation laid.
Here’s a photo of Eliza and the entire crew at Ganako. We’ll keep you posted on the finished project, but in the meantime, everyone here wants to congratulate Eliza and her family on a job well done!