Busy Bees

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I think I say this every year, but wow…I cannot believe that the 4th of July has passed and summer is halfway over! June was a quick month for TFFT as a whole, and we were all busy bees. 12 brave, enthusiastic riders traveled to Tanzania and took on RIDETZ, the 400 mile, cross-country bike fundraiser, which Kaitlin led. Meghann also was in Tanzania – meeting with the TFFT team over there, checking up on things, seeing the scholars, etc. This meant that Kelly, Elizabeth, and I were holding things down in Charlotte by ourselves. It was definitely different not having Meghann and Kaitlin’s smiling faces in the office every day, but we were all able to get a lot done from different ends of the world!  And we did get to see them some during some Skype meetings!

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June was filled with database, database, database. There has been a lot of editing, clean-up, information entering, etc…and while it was not the most exciting thing to be working on, it will definitely benefit TFFT in the long run – something I have to remember on days where I’m staring at the computer screen for too many hours! I’ll admit, there were a couple days when our eyes glazed over and Elizabeth and I had to take a quick ice cream break!

I learned a lot in June as well. While my knowledge of the database expanded more and more, I also learned more about the inner-workings of nonprofits. TFFT is applying for a technology grant, so I was able to sit in on a meeting and learn about the many steps that need to be taken in order to even apply for a grant. I learned some new nonprofit lingo, and also was able to hear how TFFT team members describe our different programs, and how technology can enhance them further.

One of my favorite projects this summer was working on a “What’s Next” packet for RIDETZ riders.  After having the trip of the lifetime, Kaitlin thought of tons of ways for the riders to stay involved, and we worked on putting them all into a pretty packet to mail out.  This was my first time using InDesign since high school yearbook, so it took a bit of getting used to, but it was fun to do a project that involved my creative side!

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Another thing I did this month was work with the Myers Park High School TFFT club some to promote their graduation caps and gown drive. For the third year, they are collecting caps and gowns worn by MPHS grads, and these will be taken over to Tanzania for our TFFT scholars to wear in September!  If you have any gowns hanging in your closet collecting dust, feel free to contact us, we would love to pick them up and put them to use!

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Overall, it has been a great past month.  I have learned a lot about TFFT and nonprofits in general from the US team, and I have gotten to know some of the TZ team members a little better as well.  I’m excited for what the next few weeks bring, and I’m excited to have Meghann back in the US office!  Speaking of, she just walked in with the office mascot, Kona!  I’m off to see if Golden Doodles can input information into the database…we could use a extra pair of hands/paws!

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Global Girls Project

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The Global Girls Project began with a mother and daughter having a conversation about the differences in gender equality and how to promote women’s empowerment. This mother chose to stand up for her equality and shine light on what it means to promote women’s education for her daughter. The Global Girls Project creates a community conversation about how women lead, what it means to be a leader, and how women can incorporate this into their own lives regardless of age, culture, religious beliefs, or socio-economic status.

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The Global Girls Project is focused on promoting empowerment from within. This initiative is based on sixteen core principles:

Authenticity

Accountability

Courage

Gratitude

Humility

Integrity

Purpose

Respect

Resiliency

Confidence

Advocacy

Vision

Compassion

Collaboration

Service/Stewardship

Curiosity/Passion for Learning

The goal of this project is to create a global collection of stories that not only inspire and uplift, but also encourage people to find their own voice and pass along the message to others to create the next generation of female leaders.

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This message resonates with TFFT as we are trying to promote empowerment of these orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania through a quality education. Each of these sixteen principals is vital in the creation of our next generation of leaders, which we hope to instill in our scholars. We encourage our scholars, especially the females, that you don’t have to live up to the stereotypes of your gender; you can do whatever you want to do. TFFT works to help these students dreams come true, and initiatives such as The Global Girls Project only help shed insight into what truly matters when it come to gender equality.

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Following The Global Girls Project model, we asked six of our female students to answer three questions. Each student selected one of the sixteen core principals and used that word to answer the questions. What does this principal mean to you? What role has this principal played in your own journey toward empowerment and leadership? What advice would you give your younger self or the next generation of women? The scholars selected different principals from purpose to confidence to respect to curiosity and courage. Each of these words has a completely different meaning to the scholars we interviewed, yet each of the girls had the same theme: their future.

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Ndera (age 14) said purpose is “something to have to help you achieve so that maybe you can gain knowledge or anything to have a vision that will help you in life”

Joyce (age 14) thinks it is important for the next generation of women to have confidence and to believe in themselves.

Miriam (age 14) believes curiosity is vital for women. She thinks it will “help them achieve their goals and dreams to bring empowerment back to their communities.”

Monica (age 17) believes respect has played a part in her journey toward empowerment and leadership because “if you have respect for other people it will help you to be loved and respected by them.”

Nashivai (age 17) said, “if you want to be a leader, you have to have self-confidence and not be afraid of anyone.”

Helen (age 14) has a passion for learning. She believes it will help her journey toward empowerment because it will help achieve her goals. She believes it is important for girls to “go to school to learn something they don’t know or understand.”

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These girls have big dreams and plans for the future. These questions helped them to verbalize what many of them already feel in their hearts. We hope that these scholars will help encourage the younger scholars to achieve their dreams and that just because they are girls it doesn’t mean that they can’t do something. We believe that gender equality is an important goal for the world. Hopefully by providing these students with a quality education, they will never let someone else tell them that they can’t do something just because of their gender. The future is important to each of these scholars and we hope that education and spreading their stories will allow them to fulfill their goals and overcome hardships.

 

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UN Student Blog

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On June 30, students from 13 students from Usa River Academy traveled to the United Nation’s Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to observe the judgment reading of Augustine Bizimungu who served as Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army during the genocide. This blog was written by two students who were in attendance—Kalangu and Suziana. Enjoy!

It was about 13:10 PM when we departed from Usa River Secondary school in our very clean and smart minibus, heading for Arusha International Conference Centre, especially for the reading of Augustine Bizimungu’s case on the genocide in Rwanda that took place in 1994. Accompanied by our two beautiful guardians, we arrived safely and entered into the beautiful, big building. We were very excited to listen to the reading and it was very astonishing to enter into a building very high ranked. We thereafter took pictures saying “cheese” and finally entered into the building. We headed straight to the courtroom where only five students successfully sat down and had a chance to get headsets to listen to the reading. Unfortunately other students stood up in the room without being able to hear the reading (because of the crowd of people).

In the courtroom were the Judges, assistant judges, superintendents, defense side, prosecutors side, and finally the audience.   The reading done by the Judge was all about the crimes committed by the Military head of Rwanda, Augustine Bizimungu that was violence to the Tutsi brothers and sisters, killing of thousands of people, genocide and crimes against humanity. Afterwards, the Judge kindly asked Mr. Bizimungu to stand up and the judge kept on reading Bizimungu’s trial and what was his judgment. He was finally told to sit down after the judgment, saying he will still stay in custody until further investigation. He will still serve 30 years in prison that he was already sentenced to when caught in 2002. He was caught on August 2nd, 2002 in Angola after running away from Rwanda.

After the finished, the superintendents offered the files to the defense side, prosecutors side and the other judges, thereafter the officials told all the people to rise in the departure of the Judges and all the staff. Because of the inconvenience, the students were taken into a conference room for further information being talked about inside the courtroom. In the conference room were four university students studying law on field and practical work. These individuals all from different countries further explained about the whole case and later on provided the chance for questions and opinions. We were very enthusiastic to have heard and seen that even at AICC. The officials offered us presents that were files holding the whole case of Bizimungu and also comics drawn for the situation of genocide.

Though the event took us past lunch hour that meant that everyone was quite hungry. Our lovely guardians took us out for lunch at a quiet and beautiful lunch inn beside the road. There we ordered and thereafter ate our delicious lunch. After finishing up, our minibus came to pick us up and take us back to school. On the way, our lovely guardians alighted from the minibus and we thanked them for everything they had done for us. More thanks went to the TFFT organization. We finally reach safely and continued with our school routines.

The lessons we learned from the trip we had was as follows:

  1. The trip helped us to see how the international community organization such as the UN demonstrates that it will not tolerate crimes of genocide.
  2. It helps us to take effective measures to bring justice to the person responsible for crimes.
  3. It creates the state’s transparency open to the community and society.

These were the lessons obtained from the trip. That’s the way our trip was on that very lovely Monday.

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Anna’s Hello From Tanzania

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The past few days have been an absolute whirlwind. My name is Anna McCulla and I am interning at the TFFT office. It’s hard to believe that I am actually in Tanzania and that I will be here for the next month. I have always wanted to visit Africa and fortunately, TFFT has given me this amazing opportunity!

In just the past four days I have visited so many places that I can barely keep track. The TFFT team has been so welcoming and constantly helping me with my limited knowledge of Swahili and Arusha. My homestay mother (more like my sister!) is one of the sweetest and generous people. She has cooked me delicious meals and has answered a million of my questions.

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There have been a few things that threw me off guard about Arusha. First off, it’s so green! Of course there are plenty of dirt roads, but overall it’s bursting with trees and mountains. Secondly, driving here is interesting to say the least. Streets are only two lanes and everyone passes each other while driving into oncoming traffic. At first, I almost had a heart attack, but after a while it just seemed natural. Finally, introductions have been fun to learn. “Karibu” means welcome. It is used often here which I really enjoy because it makes me feel comfortable from the moment I arrive anywhere. People shake hands a lot too.

I have visited Usa River Academy a few times and I absolutely love it. There are 60 scholars at Usa and starting next week, I will be tutoring about 15 primary students (1st-7th grade). From the moment I arrived at Usa I felt welcome. Some of the children were a bit shy, but others instantly latched on to me. The second time I visited for a meeting, a lot of the students already remembered my name. I can’t wait to visit URA everyday and really get to know the kids!

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Meghann and I visited Matonyak orphanage. Despite the bumpy roads getting there, it was so beautiful and peaceful. The views of the mountains were breathtaking. Mama Emmy and her husband run the orphanage and a small school on the grounds for Class 1-3 (1st-3rd grade). Matonyak has its own garden and self-sustaining energy.  The children are from ages 2 to 11 and so very sweet.  I hope that I will soon be able to visit for a weekend and play with all of the boys and girls.

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This week has been incredible! I am beyond excited to be able to spend four more weeks in Arusha with my wonderful coworkers. Kwaheri! (goodbye)

 

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Reporters for a Day

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Over the past couple of months, the TFFT scholars have been participating in Full Circle Guest Speaker Series. The program recently welcomed its third speaker, Amanda, a newspaper reporter. The students at Usa River Academy learned what it’s like to be a newspaper reporter and got to try out their interview skills. Below is Amanda’s journal from her experience with the kids. Thanks for a great day Amanda!

As a newspaper reporter from Bozeman, Mont., I spoke to Forms 3 & 4 for about an hour and a half about my work covering city government, the importance of independent media, and how to become a journalist.

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I have worked as journalist for about 10 years for newspapers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. I described a typical workday, with a 24-hour news cycle where story ideas are conceived in the morning, and researched, written and published by the end of that night. I also shared stories about covering elections, politics, and breaking news such as a natural-gas explosion, presidential visit, and fatal mauling of a man by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.

Students got a chance to peruse American newspapers. They talked about the difference between US newspapers and their local newspaper. Stories in American newspapers are longer and more detailed, students commented. Students recognized that people rely on the media to get accurate, unbiased information about everything from construction of a new road in town to decisions being made by Parliament.

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After the lecture, students practiced being “reporters for a day,” asking the who, what, when, where, why and how of journalism. Students found a partner and asked them questions to discover what makes them unique. Students asked one another about their talents, their likes and dislikes, and their hopes and dreams. At the end of the inquiries, students stood up and shared with the class what they learned about their partner: Neema is good at singing gospel music.  Joshua loves to play soccer.  Joyce hopes to become a doctor. Each student found interesting and even perhaps newsworthy qualities to share about their classmate.

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For anyone considering a trip to Tanzania and interested in volunteering, TFFT would love for you to speak to our students about your profession or a topic of your choice. Email Kaitlin at Kaitlin@thefoundationfortomorrow.org to find out more.

 

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Training with RENEW at Star High

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What an amazing training Uswege and I had last week!  The location was Star High Secondary School, one of our partners.  We had 30 students participating in a 6-day workshop on leadership, communication, confidence, goal setting, community service, and project planning, in collaboration with RENEW.  We had such a fabulous time with these teens as we watched them change and grow throughout the training.

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Day 1:

We began with introductions to us, TFFT, and RENEW, as we got to know the students as well.  We moved from there to Leadership and Power.  In this topic we discussed what constitutes leadership and how we use our influence to lead people towards our goals.  Uswege and I like to use a lot of games and activities to drive home points and keep things lively!

Student “Aha Moment” of the day: “I realized that there is a leadership spirit within everyone. And it doesn’t take for one to be elected or appointed to be a leader. Everyone is a leader within different ways in different situations.”

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Day 2:

Next we tackled values and self-awareness.  Uswege led a fabulous exercise in discovering what our individual values truly are and we followed with self-awareness.  For this activity, we had students recognize strengths they saw in themselves and in other people.  Students then received feedback from their peers of what other see in them.  The outcome was awesome as students felt buoyed by the words of encouragement and knowledge of what others see in them.

After lunch we introduced the students to the importance of community service and how they can impact their homes, schools, and communities at large!

Student “Aha Moment” of the day: “I learned different values that are within me, which I realized, and others (my friends) realized but I didn’t know them and also I learned the importance of community service in our society through youth.”

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Day 3:

Our day began with an exercise in Vision, helping students to picture and imagine their lives in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.  This led directly into goal setting, helping students identify their goals.  While it may sound elementary, once students have established their personal values and seen a vision of their life, their goals take on a whole new life.  Instead of students setting academic goals for their report card, they set academic goals because they know it will influence their futures!  As the workshop progresses, we see students taking responsibility for their future instead of simply waiting to see what happens.  Because of this, students take responsibility for their current actions as well.

Student “Aha Moment” of the day: “Today I have learned about how to set a goal in my life and I discovered my dream. I know that in my life I can be an important person in this world. I learned also the ways that I can use to achieve my goal. I got the best methods of planning and managing to reach my goal.”

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Day 4:

One of my FAVORITE days—Gender and Relationships!  Gender is always an interesting topic that allows students to be open and honest about their feelings and their culture in regards to men and women.  Obviously arguments inevitably begin, which makes the conversation all the more lively.  Obviously gender beliefs revolve heavily around the culture in which you are living, thus we leave the students with one thought: What we think about gender roles is not absolute and is not constant.  Just because it has been one way doesn’t mean it has to be that way—if you don’t like it, be part of changing it!

Relationship Skills isn’t what you think it is.  While we do discuss “romantic” or “intimate” relationships (always a popular topic amongst the teens), our focus is on having healthy relationships in ALL areas of their lives.

Lastly we covered types of community service and engagement so student could begin to understand the depth of service projects!

Student “Aha Moment” of the day: “I learned on how to make a relationship better. Also how to make and choose good friends. I also learned about gender equality and have changed after the lesson, after realizing that there is no big difference between men and women it is only what is in our thoughts which brings the oppression of one gender.”

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Day 5:

Communication and Emotional Intelligence & Management were the life skills topics of the day.  Teaching students good communication skills is critical for developing leaders of all types.  Being able to understand and control your emotions is equally needed.  These two skills are not easy to develop and I’m sure we all know adults who could work on these traits!

We finished the day with community problem identification.  The goal was to have students identify problems they see in their communities by breaking them into teams for brainstorming.  Students began cautiously, but slowly gained confidence and creativity in the answers!

Student “Aha Moment” of the day: “Today I have learned a lot of things that make me more wise. I’m sure now I have already got self-awareness and indeed I can change my community positively. Thank you my teachers!! Uswege and Chloe – wow!!”

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Day 6:

Our last day was both inspiring and sad.  We were so sad to be parting with this group of students we had gotten to know so well, but so happy to see them working together on project solutions and using all the skills we had covered over the week!

Students worked hard to identify specific problems, brainstorm solutions, and come up with basic project plans that THEY will implement!

Student “Aha Moment” of the day: “I learned how to make a project become successful and also I realized sharing new ideas within a group brings about success.”

The feedback we received from students was fabulous (including receiving 3 personal letters to Uswege and I speaking of the impact of the workshop)!  Not only did students enjoy the workshop, but were asking for more!

We will certainly be back at Star High to follow up with teachers, administration, and students to make sure the improvement and changes we expect to see in students are support and come to fruition!  We can’t wait!

 

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RIDETZ Update

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Photo credit for all of these beautiful photos goes to Nate Kaiser, our awesome RIDETZ Photographer.

Let me start by saying everyone is safe, happy, and healthy! :)

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I am thrilled to report that all the riders are demonstrating exceptional strength and perseverance and as they tackle this challenge. Yesterday, after completing a run that multiple experienced riders deemed the most fun they’ve ever had on a bike we discussed that RIDETZ is an experience of extremes.

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This is a journey that requires extreme mental, physical, and emotional commitment. Every rider pushes through extreme exhaustion and at times extreme pain. And the reward is natural beauty and pure joy that is so extreme it results in gasps, and happy tears, and even disbelief.

I am so proud of every individual who takes on this challenge and so grateful for each of the support networks who make in possible for the riders to pursue this dream. Behind each rider is an army of people who donate, cheer, make arrangements for childcare, run last minute errands, cover extra work at the office, etc, etc, etc. These collective acts of support help propel our riders to the ocean.

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This reminds me that the extreme nature of RIDETZ extends far beyond what we are experiencing here in Tanzania right now. It takes extreme love and sacrifice to encourage your daughter/son/husband/wife/mother/father/friend to take on this challenge. Our riders are empowered (and crazy enough) to face this challenge because they have people who love them fiercely enough to say YES—GO! Do it!! WOW! What do you need? How can I help? To you reading this who fall into that category: Thank. You.

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Of course this is also a perfect representation of the type of support that we believe every child deserves in order to reach his or her full potential. Each of our scholars and millions of orphans and vulnerable children in this world deserve the fierce love and support of people who say YES—GO! Do it!! WOW! What do you need? How can I help? as they go after their dreams.

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Charlotte Reading Letter

What gives me chills (as I sit in a bumpy safari car writing this post) is that through RIDETZ the support networks of each of our riders have also become a support network for our 104 TFFT scholars, all of whom are orphaned or vulnerable children. Your donations directly help TFFT provide them the resources and support they need to go after their dreams.

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This is the magic of RIDETZ. It is all about joining forces to push past limits to realize how limitless we can collectively be. So, here’s to limitless potential… and to enjoying the journey! Thanks for following along!

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Meet RIDETZ Rider, Aileen David

June 22, 2014
With more than 200 miles under their belts, the RIDETZ riders are well are their way to the Indian Ocean!  Yesterday, riders hiked the Usambara mountains and were treated to a gorgeous view.  Today, we introduce our last rider, Aileen David.
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1)     Where are you from?
My name is Aileen and I live in Beverly Hills Florida- and when I say Beverly Hills, trust me it is nothing like the one in California.  Its a pretty rural area located in Central Florida.  Its a beautiful place to live if you enjoy the outdoors, plenty of lakes, rivers, hiking, and best of all BIKE TRAILS!!
2)     What do you do for work?
I have one of the funnest jobs in the whole wide world- I work as a prevention educator. My job places me in middle schools and the community, educating children about king healthy choices, managing emotions, resisting peer pressures. I love children and have worked with them my entire career.  So it makes sense for me to do this.
3)     What inspired you to ride this June?
So how did I get here- about to tackle 400 miles in Tanzania for an amazing cause?  It was purely out of the blue for me…my beautiful friend invited me on this journey.  I know that as a result I will be forever changed- in a great way.
We are so excited to have Aileen joining us on the ride!

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Meet RIDETZ Rider Keyla Sandoval

The riders are halfway through ride RIDETZ!  Everything is going smoothly! We are excited introduce you to our next rider, Keyla. Wish her luck on the last 5 days!

Where are you from? 

I was born and raised in Venezuela of an Italian Father and Spanish mother. In fact, all my father’s side lives in Italy. I moved to the United States in 1992 after completing my Business degree. I have been in Charlotte, NC since 1993.

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With my daughter in the Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy 2013

What do you do for work?

I don’t work. I’m a lucky mom and wife who has time to be involved with different activities. I volunteer in different organizations in town and love to travel.

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St. Tropez, France

What do you like to do on your spare time? 

In my spare time I like to go to the gym, read, bike ride, meet with friends for coffee and/or lunch. I love to plan our family vacations.

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2013 Summer vacation with friends, in Lucca, Italy

Who is your inspiration in life?

My inspiration in life comes from many people.

From my kids, who make me strive to do always my best.

From my husband who has such positive view towards life. Juan keeps me motivated in all things I get involved in. He supports and encourages me to surpass my limits.

From my parents, who worked so hard to give me a very good education and most importantly family values.

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Juan, Alex, Isa and I in Lucca, Italy 2013

How did you hear about RIDETZ?

My husband and I have been invited to many of TFFT’s benefit Galas by Walter and Meredith Dolhare, long time supporters. In the past two years I have committed to do at least one physically and mentally-challenged activity per year. In September 2013, I biked The St. James Way, El Camino de Santiago, in Spain. So when I heard about RIDETZ at the 2013 Gala I immediately wanted to do it, but I had to work around our summer vacation schedule. Once I spoke to Meghann and Kaitlin about this trip’s details, and after my husband’s 100% support I decided to do it and there is no looking back even though I feel sometimes anxious about this adventure.

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What inspired you to want to ride this June?

It was a great challenge for me with the great benefit of meeting the children we have supported over the years and see the wonderful job TFFT have done and is doing in Tanzania. I also believe in the power of education.

  

Are you celebrating any milestone with RIDETZ?

I have never ridden 400 miles before.  I’ve never been in Tanzania.  I’ve never slept in a tent. I have lots to celebrate just by being part of RIDETZ 2014.

 

What is your favorite place to ride? (besides Tanzania that is)

So far in Spain, El Camino de Santiago. But I have to say I like to ride through Charlotte, and now I’m addicted to Flywheel thanks to RIDETZ.

Can’t wait for Tanzania.

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Arriving at Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 2013

What unique ways are you planning to fundraise?

I’m reaching out to all my friends and family asking them for their support. I have started a daily “Count down to Tanzania” in Facebook everyday.

I have shared TFFT’s mission and my travel to Tanzania with people I meet.

My daughter and some of her friends are planning on a bake sale.

We are so excited to have Keyla on the ride! If you would like to contribute to RIDETZ campaign, you can do so here

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Meet RIDETZ Photographer Nate Kaiser

June 19, 2014

Our RIDETZ riders are 4 days in, and we are lucky enough to have the amazing and talented, Nate Kaiser capturing the journey.  We are so grateful to have Nate on the ride, and we know the pictures will be breathtaking!

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Nate Kaiser. I, along with my lovely wife Jaclyn have been a full time professional wedding and portrait photographer since 2002. I am a father to two amazingly challenging and inspiring children: my ten year old daughter Grace and six year old son Jasper. We currently live in a small cabin in the tiny mountain town of Idyllwild in Southern California. I spend the majority of my time traveling, shooting and developing film at home, riding road and mountain bikes, and felling trees and chopping wood to heat our home.

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2. What made you decide to donate your time and talent to document TFFT’s work and the RIDETZ journey?

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet Meghann last year when we photographed her wedding to her husband Ben. I say lucky because as anyone who’s met Meghann and Ben can attest to, they are truly two of the very best kinds of people you could ever hope to meet. Through meeting Meghann I was also fortunate enough to meet Kaitlin (who’s wedding I’ll be photographing later this year, yay!) and through the two of them was introduced to TFFT and RIDETZ and their inspiring vision for education in Tanzania. The “decision” to donate my time and talent for RIDETZ really wasn’t much of a decision, more like me just crossing all of my fingers and toes hoping that I would be invited to photograph such an amazing journey. Of course when I was approached with the opportunity to document TFFT’s work and the RIDETZ experience I jumped at the chance! A trip such as this is something I’ve dreamed of for years and longed for in my heart and then all of a sudden, everything and everyone aligned, and lo and behold, everything I could have ever hoped to do was all just waiting for me to jump into.

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3. What are you hoping to gain from this experience?

I’ve been so so so fortunate that through my line of work I’ve been able to travel and see much of the world photographing weddings. I absolutely love to travel and as a photographer, being thrown into new environments is immensely inspiring. So it goes without saying that this trip will undoubtedly be inspiring to me visually, but more importantly I am deeply inspired by anyone who lays down themselves in service of others. The team at TFFT has been laying down bits of themselves for years and years and for me to be able to be a small part of that, even for the couple weeks I am there, will no doubt be a life challenging and life changing experience for me on many levels.

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4. What do you anticipate will be your biggest photographic challenge?

Well, I will be the first photographer in the history of RIDETZ to attempt to both ride the 400 mile route and document it by making photographs along the way. I know the intense physical strain of the ride coupled with trying to think creatively is going to be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever attempted. Along with that, I suppose not falling and breaking my cameras and my body along the way will constantly keep me on my toes. Beyond the physical and technical challenges of the ride itself, my biggest photographic challenge to myself is going to be documenting the work of TFFT as well as RIDETZ in an authentic, documentary way that can serve to capture a shared humanity amongst those in the images and all who view them.

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5. Let’s get technical… what gear do you plan to bring?

That’s a question I’ve been debating with myself since I found out I was going on this journey almost a year ago! For all of my personal work I shoot primarily film with very old all manual cameras and while those types of cameras and film are the most inspiring mediums I use, I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that due to a myriad of factors I won’t be able to photograph my entire journey in that way. I will most likely bring one or two film cameras with me to use along the way but the majority of my image making is going to be done digitally with a Fuji XT-1 and Fuji X-Pro1 and a gaggle of lenses. Since I’ll be riding along on bikes with all the other riders day in and day out I had to figure out a system that is small and lightweight, yet still durable and capable of providing professional level results. I’ve tested a number of different cameras over the past year and I’m confident this Fuji X system is the perfect match for what I’ll be up against.

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6. Will you share some of your mind-blowing work?

Sure! The majority of what I shoot and what I am most passionate about is documenting my family, friends, travels, and anyone and everything else that happens to make it’s way into my life or in front of my eyes. Since I’m so often behind the camera, I have very few photos of myself, but those closest to my heart have a truly staggering amount. The images below of my family were all taken on black and white film and processed at home by me.

my personal film work of my life and family can be found here

my wedding and portrait work can be found here

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