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Tracy Moore Photography bio picture
  • There is never enough chocolate, red bull, or white cheddar popcorn.

    To me, a no trespassing sign means it’s probably an awesome location for a shoot.

    I also believe a roped off slope on the mountain means there’s more
    powder for me and I don’t have to share.

    There’s a really sneaky way to cut the whole line on the Pirates of the
    Caribbean ride at Disneyland. If you want to know it… come with me.

    My family is pretty into board games, that’s one of my favorite things to do when I go back and visit. Except for Monopoly… that always ends badly.

    One of my dreams is to cage dive with great white sharks.
    I want to look one straight in the eye.

    I’m notorious for starting random dance parties at stressful times to lighten the mood a little.

    So... there's a little about me. Now I want to know about you! So let's go grab coffee...
    or even better- a meal. And by meal I mean Sushi. :)

    Click the contact button and get in touch! Talk to you soon!

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Robbed in a Foriegn Country & God’s Grace…

Two weeks ago, we had just returned to Dar Es Salaam (the biggest city in Tanzania) after our amazing, life changing time in Mafia Island. For those of you following my instagram and/or facebook, you know how much I fell in love with Mafia. The help we were able to bring to these amazing children with the support of all of you guys who wanted to be a part of something great was incredible.

While in Mafia, I kept records of all of the donations, each child that was sponsored, and who would be their sponsor, we had a ledger book completely organized to the last detail on who gave what… what that money went to… and pictures to send to the donors so they could see first hand how they helped out.

I took thousands of pictures there. Images that told our story… images that told your story. I put some on facebook, a few on my blog, but the rest were all in my memory cards and an extra hard drive, just in case… when I packed to go home, I put everything in that bag, My laptop, my Canon 5d mark iii, 3 of my best lenses, my laptop, all of my paperwork with all of the details on the donors and sponsored kids, BOTH of my backups of photos (what was I thinking?!) and much more… I didn’t worry about it, I figured it was safe in my hands until I went back to where we were staying in Dar to unpack it.

So, back to Dar… we had just come back and the next day we had an important meeting at 8am in town at a very nice hotel. Excited about the meeting, still on a high from all we did in Mafia, I grabbed my camera bag (like I always do) and off we were. We got to the meeting early, so we thought we should grab a cup of coffee to go and head back to the car and wait until it was appropriate to show up. So we hopped out of the car, not even thinking about the bag we had just left… because we knew we were coming back. Well… the coffee places were closed, so we just decided to go to the restaurant where we were meeting these guys, and ordered coffee. A to-go option wasn’t available, and then they showed up soon after, so we didn’t go back to the car.

The meeting went great, lasted just about an hour, we had breakfast and 2 super delicious latte’s. We headed back to the car, and started driving off… then Matt slowed down as we were just yards away from where we parked. He paused, looked closely at the dash and said “there is glass on the dashboard… what the…. ohhhhh nooooooo. Tracy, someone broke into the car.” I immediately looked behind me to see if my camera bag was there. I felt sick to my stomach when I saw the vacant back seat. We saw the tiny window they had broke to get the door unlocked. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I rushed back into the hotel into the owners office (one of the guys we just met is the owner of this hotel), and all I could speak before I broke down in tears was, “Someone broke into our car… my camera… everything… it’s gone”. He immediately called security, called police and we went outside to the scene of the crime. After talking to all the parking attendants and “guards” nobody confessed to seeing a thing. I’m not sure how this is possible considering we were parked in front of a very nice hotel, with LOTS of people constantly walking by. How could no one have seen anything??

Luckily, we were parked right under a camera, so we went to the security room and watched the tape. You have no idea how awful it makes you feel when you see 3 guys pull up next to your car, and work as a team to steal from you. One was on the lookout pretending to be on his phone, the other was crouched down in between the two cars and broke the small window, then reached his lanky arm into the car to unlock it, the other guy… I’m not too sure. Maybe he was the one giving orders. Took them like 30 minutes to finish the job, then they were off.

There are 47 Million people in Tanzania. I thought I would never see any of those things again. The worst part was knowing both of my backups of those precious photos were in that bag. Photos of my entire time here in Africa. Important documents, memories that I was so excited to share with the world. Pictures of all the children that were sponsored by our generous donors. Pictures of the cement that was put into houses, soccer balls that were donated, the joy of the kids in school with their uniforms supplied by our donors… and the list goes on. I admit, I cried. I cried a LOT. I was (still am) heartbroken. How could someone do that? The camera gear… that is my livelihood. I saved for years to be able to afford those things, and then someone comes along, breaks a window and takes it.

After talking to the police, they asked how much my items were worth… I told them (thinking I needed to have it in a police statement for insurance) and when I told them, one of the officers texted that amount to someone. Matt and I both saw it and wondered why that was necessary. We were told to trust no one by many people before we traveled here, so I assumed that meant police too. After some further investigation, those police officers were thrown off the case as it may have been compromised. I still don’t know if they were working with the thieves or not. I really hope they weren’t, but sadly, it happens much too often. Not just here… all over the world.

I told a few friends and family what had happened, I even googled what the next step was. Insurance. I thought, oh no… what if insurance doesn’t cover my camera gear here?! How did I not verify that before I left? What if I have to replace ALL of this? I can’t afford that… my heart sank. I felt helpless and overwhelmed. When I researched this online. I read multiple comments like, “don’t report it, police will do nothing and insurance most likely won’t cover it, so just keep quiet and wait until you get back to the states, then report it stolen, and say it happened in the states… break your car window or insurance won’t cover it… things like that. At first I thought “How awful! Of course I would never do that!” But I will be honest… I did think about it. This was thousands and thousands of dollars. And I feared if I reported it to my insurance company, and they didn’t cover it, I was totally out of luck. And I had no idea what I would do next. But I knew I couldn’t do that. Especially after talking to my Mom, I mentioned that other people were saying that and she said, “Tracy, trust me, I know that can be tempting, but you are doing such good things over there. You are being so faithful to God and you know in your heart you need to keep glorifying Him. Right on, Momma. Always full of solid advice. I couldn’t believe I even gave that idea any thought at all, and I said a prayer, and had my Studio Manager, Steph report it to the insurance. Turns out my camera gear IS NOT covered outside the US and Canada. 

So we went to the chief of police and Maryvonne Pool (the woman we are staying with, Seychelles Ambassador and well respected all over the world) talked to them and made sure they worked very hard on this case, as she knew how important it was to me, but more importantly, she knew if these guys got caught, it would save a whole lot of heartache for many other future victims. The police looked at the tape and recognized these guys. They had multiple cases against them and could never get anything to hold up in court, so they always got off scott free. They wanted to make sure this stopped once and for all. So for 10 straight days, these dedicated officers literally spent every waking hour staking out the places they knew these guys would eventually show up at. On the 11th day, they got word that these guys would be performing at a party (they are recording artists/djs’s I guess). So the officers waited outside the event, and at 5am, when the guys came stumbling out, there was an entire team of police waiting to arrest them.

They had the guys… and that’s great, but of course I’m thinking… where is my bag?! Turns out, the guys sold it right away to another guy for 700,000 Tanzanian Shillings, which is about $430 US dollars. That’s right, Over $15,000 worth of camera gear… for $430. Then that guy sold it to another guy for 1.2 million shillings ($800). So after following the trail, they were finally able to retrieve my bag. Soon after, we headed to the police station to see the bag and assess what was left. I of course was happy to see my camera, lenses, and laptop, but after frantically searching the back for either my memory cards, or the hard drive, I realized they were gone. I started crying thinking of the images I would never see again. All the work I put into telling a story that I felt was really important to tell. After that, things got even crazier.

The guys that stole our bag entered the room. They stood right in front of us, with their heads looking straight down. The were ashamed. They were probably shocked to have been caught, and even more shocked to be put in front of the people they stole from. I didn’t know what to say, I just looked at them, trying to understand why they would do this, and wondering if they even cared. Matt started talking to them, he asked how old they were. 19 & 20 years old. So young. Matt went on to tell them that when he was a little younger than they are, he went though a rough phase in his life. He stole, he was angry at the world, and he did some stupid things that got him sent to a program where you go to a jail for a day and pretty much, the guys at the jail scare the crap out of you making you NEVER want to do anything bad again. He told them shortly after that, he gave his life to Christ and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. Life is so much more than stealing. It’s so much more than money. He encouraged the guys to use their brains for something better, something that matters. It was a very powerful moment. He stood up from his chair, touched them on the shoulder and said, “We forgive you. God wants so much more from you guys, and I know you have it in you to change.” One of the guys said “I’m so sorry”… but still couldn’t look up. I tried talking… I tried to tell them how much those pictures meant to me, and how devastating it is to have something taken from you, but I couldn’t get many words out. I lost it again, and tears started flowing. At this point, they couldn’t feel any worse than they did before. They were asked to look at me, and picture me being their mother, or their sister. Would they ever want this pain for their mom or their sister? Of course not…

This image shows Matt forgiving the thieves and telling them they can turn their life around… pretty powerful moment. I was in tears. Amazing how God can use crazy ways to show his grace to those who need him the most.

They left, I wiped the tears away, and we went home. We may have forgiven them, but the law certainly hasn’t. We are extending our stay just a little so we can be in court to help finally prove a case against them. I do believe in showing mercy, but these guys have over 50 open cases against them, and nothing has ever been done. Usually because they target tourists, and before anything can get done, the tourists are on their way back home, so they get away with it.

I am still praying for a miracle for my hard drive and/or memory cards to be found. But if not, I had some great people remind me that everything happens for a reason, and at least I have those memories in my head, and my heart can never forget what I experienced on Mafia Island.

So… a little word of advice: Make sure you have your travel insurance covered before you leave for any trips, don’t ever leave anything in your car for any amount of time, even if its an open, guarded, nice area. Always trust in God and know everything happens for a reason, and everyone will have trials to overcome. Always look on the bright side… even when it’s hard to see.

Thank you Maria, for putting so much time and effort and prayers to help catch these guys and get my things back. I love you, and will forever be grateful for all you have done for Matt and I.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers during this crazy time here… love and miss you all!

Thank you to the Dar Es Salaam Police force for spending all of your hours on this case. You guys did an amazing job and I am so thankful.

To those of you who donated for projects in Mafia, we are working on getting all the data together again and should be going back to finish the projects in March. Thank you for your patience during this whole turn of events.

February 9, 2014 - 8:45 am

Angel pope - Tracy!

I cannot even imagine. Matt! I’m sure God smiled down when he was able to touch those boys and give forgiveness!

You are doing God’s work in so many ways!!!

February 9, 2014 - 9:59 am

Maryvonne Pool - Tracy and Matt

You guys are awesome. We have a mission to accomplish and the mission is to look after God’s people. If God is on our side no one can be against us.

God taught us to share with others no one will ever stop us.

I am so proud and happy that you both share part of my life.

I love you both.

Maria

February 9, 2014 - 11:59 pm

Mom - Wow!! Couldn’t be prouder of you!!!

February 10, 2014 - 2:33 am

summer - You are both amazing,loving people and I wish you the best with recovering what was stolen from you..not just the items of monetary value!!

February 10, 2014 - 6:37 am

Altaf Daya - Tracy and Matt…so sorry that this happened to you! Every country has such people and these incidents are not exclusive to Tanzania. I am pleased that this hasn’t changed your mission and you continue to help the needy in Tanzania. Whatever happens, happens for the best and maybe God saved you from something worse. Your work will not go a waste and I am sure you will see an even greater impact made with your future projects. All the best and I am proud to welcome you to Tanzania once again!

February 10, 2014 - 9:42 am

Shaun Gordon - What a roller coaster for you two. Matt, you did an amazing job forgiving so quickly. I can only wish to be that humble and content that God is in control. You two are doing some pretty amazing stuff, loving like Christ asked us to. Keep up the great work. I am so thankful that you retrieved your gear. God speed friends.

February 19, 2014 - 1:44 pm

Denise - Matt and Tracy – I am a very proud Aunt! Our God puts us in places where we can be the best we can be and give the best of us to those that need it most. Continue the good work! denise :-)

February 26, 2014 - 12:26 am

Lisa Reimer - I am so amazed how God has worked in you! As you continue to do the next right thing, you glorify God. You and Matt planted seeds in those young men’s hearts, and I’m sure they will never forget you. I pray that someone will find your photos and data and turn them into the police. Since you are now extending your stay, I have a feeling that God has another adventure for you there! I am so proud to know you! May God grant you travel mercies and bless your journey.

Africa Q & A (What, where, why, how?!)

Since being here in Africa, I have had many people ask about how they can help, get involved, and even come to Africa themselves. I have also had multiple other questions about how Matt & I got involved, what exactly our goals are, where we are, what do we do in a typical day, and many more questions, concerns, and inspiring comments.

How did you get involved with the program you are working with in Africa?

Short answer: God answered my prayer. Longer answer: I got involved by posting a dream of mine on facebook. I stated that I wanted to go somewhere (hopefully Africa, but anywhere that needed help) and I got a response from Karen, my little brothers mother in law. She has a friend, Maryvonne Pool that she connected me with via facebook. I wrote to Maryvonne about my dreams to use my photography to help people in need. I researched the African Reflections Foundation, which Maria co-founded and loved what she was doing. I offered to come and get involved however I could, take images and capture the story of her visions and dreams, and help share it with the world. We clicked right away, as we are both lovers of God, photography, fishing, and giving back. I was in Africa 2 months later (last June) and my life was forever changed. African Reflections Foundation is a relatively small NGO, but it is doing some very big things. They have built many deep, solar powered water wells and have provided thousands and thousands of people with access to clean water. They also focus on education as they believe that is a very powerful way to empower the youth of Tanzania, and change the future in a sustainable way.

Where are you in Africa? Where do you stay when you are there?

Right now, we are in Mafia Island. A small island off the coast of Tanzania, Africa. We will be here for one more week then we will head back to Dar Es Salaam (the largest city in Tanzania). That is where ARF is based and where the majority of the work has been done. When in Dar, we stay at Maria’s house which is in Bahari Beach. While in Mafia Island, we have stayed at the Marine Park hostel and have been well taken care of. As long as we have a mosquito net, we are happy sleeping wherever!;)

What do you normally eat there?

A typical day of food for us: Breakfast, an omelet or hard boiled egg, a piece of toast, coconut water & coconut, and coffee or tea.  Lunch: Fish and french fries with a mango or papaya. Dinner: Rice and beans or beef. We also sometimes have ugali or pasta with chicken. I’d say mostly fish & fruit is our main foods! We have loved the variety of fruits and meals here. Fresh coconut water every morning has been one of my favorite things!

What is the weather like?

HOT. It is summer here, so it very very humid and hot. It ranges from 75-90 degrees on a typical day. I haven’t worn a sweatshirt since I got here. I look forward to cold showers, and my hair is always frizzy from the humidity. Even though I am constantly dripping with sweat, I don’t mind skipping the frigid Montana winter.

What is your typical day like?

Here in Mafia, we are here for 3 main reasons. 1. To help people based on the biggest needs to provide a sustainable growth for their future. 2. To research the possibility of a business here so we can sustain our financial needs. 3. To help women in need with job security to provide for their children by starting a company which we will announce soon.

So, a typical day is this:

7am- wake up, have brekky

8am- make a plan for the day

9am- head to the village to check on the process of our projects here. Making sure soil is being brought to houses, sand is delivered, cement is being laid, trees are put in ground for fences, and delivering daily doses of medicine to a few sick kiddos we’ve been helping for the last 3 weeks.

12pm- lunch, talk about projects, what we need to accomplish, etc

1pm-5pm- fishing research. We scope out different areas of the Indian ocean to find great spots for fly fishing, deep sea fishing, diving, etc. Matt & I are hoping to have some type of fishing/adventure business somewhere off the coast of Tanzania… just not sure where yet.

5pm-6:30pm- back to villages, check on projects, hang with friends.

7pm- dinner

8-10pm- work on projects, emails, fundraising, etc.

Of course, it ranges from day to day. Sometimes we fish in the morning, some days we don’t fish at all. Plans always change, and Africa doesn’t rush anything.;)

So, what is your main priority? Clean water or education?

With the African Reflections Foundation, the main concern is Clean Water. We also do many other things, but clean water is a priority. I (along with the help of so many friends/family mainly in Billings, MT) have helped raise enough money to build a clean water well in Tanzania and my heart is totally in that, too. However, I personally feel that education is so important for the growth of these kids and their future. I believe if we can help with education, and give these kids the tools they need to succeed, their lives can change dramatically. I am in the process of starting my own NGO with 2 main goals. Education & Clean Water. I am on the board for the African Reflections Foundation and plan to always work with them and help with as many projects as I can. My NGO will be very similar, but I will also focus strongly on education improvement and help children get sponsored so they have a fair shot at a great future.

How long are you going to be there for?

Matt and I originally planned to be home middle of February, but we might be staying until March now. No decision has been made, we will do whatever we feel is in the best interest of God’s plan for us, our finances, our business & the children here.

What about your photography business in Billings? Do you plan on keeping it?

Yes, of course! I LOVE what I do and still have a huge passion for photography. Especially high school senior girls which I really started to specialize in the last couple years. I will also shoot a small amount of weddings every summer as well, since I do love those as well! We will be moving out of our studio this year, most likely in May (maybe sooner) to another amazing location in the heart of downtown Billings. We will be sharing space with a wonderful new Bridal Boutique “Belle en Blanc” owned by my friend, Taryn Reitz. I (along with the photographers that shared my space on Montana Ave, and a very talented videographer team) will share the beautiful, spacious upper level, while the bridal boutique will take the 1st floor. I am so excited for this, as it will allow me to have more freedom to travel back and forth for our charity & international business and have the chance to work with some of my favorite people EVER!

What do you miss most about being home?

In no particular order: I miss playing with my dogs, my friends, family, watching hours of law & order on netflix, ice cream, cookies, chocolate, not having to worry about a mosquito net, snuggling with Matt in a plush blanket in front of the fire, (we still snuggle sometimes… but it gets WAY too hot too fast. And there is no need for a blanket here. Ever.). I miss hanging out at the studio with all my girls, I miss fly fishing the Big Horn River, I miss photo sessions with my crazy senior girls and adventurous couples, I miss being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. But you know what? As much as I miss all of those things… I rarely think about them. I am too busy thinking of the things we are doing here… the things we still need to do here. I think whenever I start missing something, God puts a task in front of me to show me why I am here, and how much he wants me to help do his job. I love this place, I love these kids. I love the tasks I have been trusted to finish. I love seeing the smile of a child who will now get to go to school because a generous donor paid for a uniform, backpack, shoes and school supplies for them. I love all these things way more than I miss anything back home. I think it’s because I know I am doing what Matt & I are being called to do.

What is your favorite part about your journey so far?

My favorite part is learning from the people here. Matt and I came to help them… to teach them… but we have learned so much ourselves. I have learned to be happier with less, to be grateful for what I do have, to smile more, to love more, to be brave, to trust God, to appreciate my amazing hubby more than ever, to be humbled with what little I do know, to not overwork myself, to be less materialistic, to be less selfish, to be more open minded, and to listen more. I have learned so much from the amazing people here, and I continue to learn more everyday. I pray these lessons stay with me forever.

What has been the hardest part of your trip?

The hardest part has been keeping faith & trusting that we are doing the right thing. In my heart, I know we should be here. I know this was always in God’s plan, and I know we are making an impact here. What I don’t know is how we are going to continue to do this. How will the bills be paid? Will the business do well here? Will all of our hard work pay off? Will the children really have a better future because of our help? Will the parents continue to take care of their children after we have left, or will they go back to their old ways? What will happen in the future? These are things I am always wondering about. But whenever I have doubts, God really does seem to provide peace in our hearts. I know it will all work out, but I hate that dreadful feeling of fear & doubt. Our families have given us many encouraging messages and advice, and I am so thankful for their love, support, and wise advice.

How can others get involved in something like this?

There are many ways you can help.

1. Donate to our projects here: www.gofundme.com/educateafrica

2. Host a fundraiser to help with projects we are currently working on. We have a friend who is painting and selling them, then donating the profits to our cause. Be creative, use your skills or host a party and help change a life!

3. Come to Africa and have an incredible hands on experience! If you would like to come to Africa and help personally, please do! I am trying to get a team of people for 2016 to come to Tanzania and help with clean water and education. If you would like to come, please email me at tracymoorephoto@gmail.com with your name, age, why you want to come, and what month works best for you in 2016. I will respond with more info!

Here are a few of the kids we have sponsored so far. I tried emailing each of the donors, but the internet here makes it VERY difficult to do that. So if you are wondering who is your sponsored child, you will be getting an email in the next 2 weeks with info!! Thanks!!

 

 

All I want for Christmas…

… is for these kids to get the education they deserve among many other necessities.

I need YOUR help.

If you are reading this, PLEASE don’t just close out of this, wish me good luck on raising money, and forget about this 10 seconds later.

I believe it’s our responsibility as humans to help people, and make a difference (even a little difference… even for just one person…)

I believe every child deserves an education. A great education. And a full belly so they can learn better. And shoes. And clean water. And the list goes on.

Click here and be the difference you want to see in this world: http://www.gofundme.com/educateafrica

Thanks for helping spread Holiday Cheer to the other side of the world.

Merry Christmas!!!!

 

 

 

December 23, 2013 - 11:15 am

rikki - this is an incredible photo. cheers to you and yours for being so noble and generous. wishing you all the best this season!

“My grace is all you need…” {Amazing Abby, Photographer, Believer, Hero}

Starting the day with tears and inspiration from an amazing girl who chose to be thankful, not spiteful. Prayers to Abby’s family & friends.

Amazing Abby – A Legacy of Hope from Andrew PC Smith // SMITH PIXELS on Vimeo.

Almost everyday in the last couple of weeks, I get notifications and my feed overflows with quotes about how life is fragile, and how we should live each day to the fullest. I think about that for a few minutes, then life seems to grab me and pull me back into things that really don’t matter. Things I should not be stressing over. Things I shouldn’t be crying about & feeling way too much anxiety over.

Today, I will try to remind myself of the important things. Constantly. I hate how easy it is to get sucked into your career, money, drama, & greed. It’s way harder to choose to be unselfish, caring, loyal and forgiving. But often… the hardest things are the best things…

Amazing Abby was featured on GodFeet.com – They will donate $6 to Abby’s family for each apparel item sold before December 16th. Abby chose her favorite verse last week:

2 Corinthians 12:9 // Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

What an amazing girl who will continue to impact many of us, even after she has left this world much too soon.

http://www.godfeet.com/product-category/gf-clothing/featured-family/

Things we didn’t know about Africa…

It’s been a little over 2 weeks that we have been in Tanzania, Africa now. We have met some incredible people, learned a lot of new things, and had many crazy experiences. We are staying in Bahari Beach at Maria’s cute beach house and are always traveling to the city (Dar Es Salaam) & to many villages and schools (mostly in the morogoro village). Maria has taken great care of us and we are working on some wonderful projects that we will be announcing soon. For now, we will continue to work hard to help people get clean water & help with education through the African Reflections Foundation.

Here’s a list of 20 things we’ve learned since being here:

  1. Makeup is worthless here.  It just melts right off of your face. I still try sometimes… even though I know it won’t last more than 20 minutes. The only thing worth putting on is chapstick and if you feel like looking extra spiffy… some waterproof mascara. Other than that… it’s all natural here.
  2. You can use dynamite to fish… It’s crazy. We go out in the sea to fish, and half the time will have no luck because the locals are allowed to dynamite for fish. So you hear a bomb go off, they net in maybe 10% of the fish they just killed… then they go sell them to the markets. It’s terrible. I hope they do something about that soon, because that should SO not be allowed.
  3. If you are white, you get charged triple for everything. Or maybe even 5 times the amount. So when I go to the market, I never buy things myself, I send a local friend to get it for me. Even if I go with them, they see my skin and try and charge more. A lot of people will go down on price if you let them know you KNOW the real price of that particular item, but many of them won’t budge. It’s crazy!
  4. There are bugs everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Inside and outside. It’s impossible to escape. I am still trying to get used to brushing my teeth with lizards roaming the walls, trying to slap the mosquito off my leg, and attempting to smash a spider with some toilet paper. Then I step on a cockroach…
  5. You love lizards, because they eat the bugs. The lizards are our best friends now. We’ve named 6 of the regulars. Tom, Jerry, Larry, Fred, Ned & Bob are always welcome in our house.
  6. Chickens are for sale everywhere on the side of the road. They cost $6. And they are not pets… they are food. Juma, our driver picked one up in the village we were at a few days ago, and when I opened the back door, there he was, just squawking away… 20 minutes later when I returned to the car after breakfast, the squawking was gone. The rooster was “taking a nap” in the back. I am an animal lover and got a little sad, but I am quickly realizing that it’s food. We need it to survive. In America, we never see the animals die, we just eat the meat. Here, they raise the animals, kill them themselves, and it’s totally normal. I know there are many people all over the world that do this… and it doesn’t faze them… but it’s been a new experience for me. I am appreciating food in a whole different way now.
  7. Children love school and even bring their own gardening tools to help crops grow and keep their school clean & well manicured. It’s an amazing thing to see.
  8. If you are white: kids either love you and will pet you hair and hold your hand… or they will take one look at you, and start crying because they think you are a ghost. It’s quite hilarious.
  9. People laugh when you try to speak to them with your terrible attempt at Swahili, but then they are quick to help you and love teaching you knew words.
  10.  Kids here play with cardboard boxes, sticks, and rocks. And they are just as content… if not more… than any American kid playing xbox or watching TV all day.

    Baby Samson learning to walk on his wooden baby walker.

  11. The women here are so talented. They all sew, cook, clean, take care of the home, of all their children, & they help in any way they can, and they seem to never complain. The laundry process is much more than just throwing a load in the washer, then dryer. It’s getting water to wash clothes, hand washing every piece in a variety of buckets to rinse and wash properly, then hanging it all to dry. Cooking is not just opening a can of beans and tossing it on a pan. It’s picking your own food from your growing crops, washing them, cutting them, prepping them, starting a fire for your charcoal outdoor stove, boiling water for their corn meal, and serving up a meal for their family.
  12. White people are always going to get stared at… it’s something you just get used to.
  13. 4 of the 5 fastest animals in the world live in Africa- Cheetah, Wildebeest, Lion & the Thomson’s gazelle.
  14. Chickens beg for food worse than dogs. Seriously… every morning… it’s quite entertaining.
  15. Children will ask why your skin is see through. They stare at your veins in awe.
  16. 50% of kids don’t pass elementary & middle school. And only 10% end up graduating from high school. It’s crazy. That is something I hope gets better here. The kids and teens have so much potential, but the school systems just need so much work.
  17. No body really talks about Malaria or Aids out here. It’s such a scare in America when coming here, but it’s not that big of a deal here anymore. Less than 6% of the population has aids, and malaria is really only dangerous for the people that don’t have access to get to a hospital. If Matt or I were to get it, we would be really sick for about a week, but no big danger.
  18. There are handmade boats everywhere on the ocean. Tanzanians are very crafty and make boats just by carving out tree trunks and using any material they can find for the sail.
  19. The average Tanzanian’s income is around $570 per year. Some make a little more, some make only $1/day. Can you imagine??
  20. It’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited. There is beautiful beaches, amazing trees, flowing rivers that are filled with crocodiles and hippos, beautiful people with big hearts, and amazing art everywhere you seem to look. The colors are so vivid, fabric so beautiful, and smiles that light up my soul.

These are just a handful of the things we are learning, and the experiences we are having. Many more stories coming soon. If you want to hear about anything specific, please email me (tracymoorephoto@gmail.com) and let me know what you would like us to blog about. We want to share as much as we can with you all and sometimes it’s hard to know what to write and share when we are in the middle of all this craziness.

If you would like to donate to our mission here please click here: http://www.africanreflectionsfoundation.net/ARF/donate/

Thank you for all the support and prayers!!

 

 

December 7, 2013 - 6:10 am

Anna - Thanks so much for sharing with us. It sounds amazing and I think it would be good if all of us got to experience something so different, to see that life is about something else than driving the right car, have the “right” brand of bag, shoes or other stuff. As you say, they have little but are happier… A lesson to learn :)

Take care
Anna

December 7, 2013 - 10:47 pm

Rikki - Wow. It’s so incredible what you guys are doing. I loved reading this, and learning right along. The images too… It’s amazing to see it all so real. I think that’s what I would like to see more of, the details of your stay there, where you sleep, what you eat, how you communicate, and your efforts toward your cause. Anyway, major kudos, I wish you the best and look forward to following along. Keep safe.