When I first met Tracy Moore at a photography convention, it was her smile that I noticed first. She has that kind of energy that radiates, is practically magnetic and she looks like she is always having fun. And after knowing her for a few years now, I can attest to the fact that, she is indeed, always having fun.
From Billings, Montana, Tracy runs a successful photography business, with a specialty in high school seniors, until last year, when she and her husband, Matt sold many of their possessions to spend 6+ months in Africa. Using her photography to raise awareness and working on projects like bringing medicine to sick kids, Tracy and Matt also are helping to bring clean water to remote villages and to improve education opportunities for African children. In her words, “helping one person at a time.”
Tracy, a self proclaimed “Troublemaker Photographer,” loves adventure and was seeking to go somewhere and help people. So, she posted on Facebook her desire to go “anywhere that needed help.” Through a series of connections, Tracy ended up in contact with Maryvonne Pool, co-founder of the African Reflections Foundation, a nonprofit that’s dedicated to improving living conditions in Africa. Two months later, Tracy made a trip out to Africa. When she came home, she and Matt decided to take an extended adventure, sold many of their possessions, and put her photography business here in the states on hold for a few months. They are both in the little island of Mafia off the coast of Tanzania, coming home sometime in March.
With the African Reflections Foundation, Tracy and Matt are focused on providing clean water. Part of this is doing a lot of fundraising. They have already raised enough to build a clean water well in Tanzania. They are also in the process of starting their own NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) focusing on education and giving the African children the tools they need to succeed in the future.
Education in Africa is a privilege that not many of the children can afford. Classrooms are packed with students, sometimes 70 or more in one very bare classroom, with concrete floors and one old chalkboard. For recess, hundreds of students share one old soccer ball. And when they see someone with a camera, they will flock to them, all wanting to be in the portrait. Especially, someone who is white with long blonde hair. Children will come up to Tracy and pet her hair, some thinking that she is a “ghost,” having never seen anyone with light colored features.
When she returns to Billings next month (or so), Tracy will be continuing her photography business, but she will be traveling back and forth for their charity and the fishing business that are beginning to build.
[PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Natural Light Couples Photography Workshop]
Sadly, Tracy had her hard drive and laptop stolen recently and lost thousands of photographs from the last 6 months out there and was only able to provide a few photos that were on her blog. This is only one of many challenges Tracy and Matt have faced, but she keeps a positive mindset and a smile on her face, as she does with everything.
It’s been very hard and challenging at times, but it’s very worth it…
There are many ways you can help Tracy and Matt.
1. Donate to their projects at their GoFundMe page
2. Host a fundraiser to help with projects they are currently working on. They have a friend who is painting and selling her art, then donating the profits to their 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! Tracy is 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 her with your name, age, why you want to come, and what month works best for you in 2016. She will respond with more info!
For more pictures of daily stories follow Matt (@hookedonadventure) & Tracy (@tracymoorephoto) on Instagram. It’s the easiest place for them to update while living in Tanzania.
And check out her website to see her work for more adventures.
[via @Billings Gazette]