2020 introduced new challenges and changes in daily living for all of us in the US, but can you imagine dealing with these challenges in Tanzania?   If you’ve visited Tanzania with OAT, chances are you may have met Sandra Vaughan, who’s been the GCF project manager in East Africa for over 10 years.  Despite a lack of travelers, working a reduced schedule and taking care of her mom  she has still managed to get projects rolled out at the schools and villages that travelers will someday return to visit.

This is her story and update:

As we realize that travel is still very restricted and traveler’s welfare is, paramount I wanted to let all our Overseas Adventure Travelers know what was happening in East Africa.

My 85-year-old Mum continues to live with me and maintains great health, 110% sharp as a pin, but her eyesight is around 5%.

Colin my husband is now back from South Sudan thank heavens. He had a tough 12 weeks with malaria, typhoid and Dengue Fever but is now as right as rain.

Our two girls are brilliant, and are keeping safe in the UK. I am well, and have kept busy in these uncertain times.

I moved homes to save on the rent and started a local farmers market on a monthly basis, giving Tanzanian farmers and stay at home Mum’s access to somewhere to make homemade goodies.

We started with 12 small entrepreneurs and now have 60 visiting the market monthly. I continue to work part time for Grand Circe Foundation managing all their projects and it has been busy.

We completed 15 projects already including a fantastic project where pupils in Grade 7 received a study solar light to go home with. This means they have access to a source of light and can do their homework and study for tests.

We also got 23 students back into full time education as all schools in East Africa reopened.

This month we have more projects to roll out. To commemorate World Water Day we will collaborate with Wine 2 Water and hold training sessions in our schools on WASH and we will donate Safe Water Filters thus ensuring pupils have access to completely safe water to drink.

In March, our long rains are imminent and so I am coordinating with a local farmer to purchase 120 Fruit trees and shrubs for each school. This is a 3-5 year self-sustaining project, as it will take that long for the trees to bear fruit.

I cannot wait, as this is a major step in enabling a school to provide a basic like fruit into the diet of every child. Do any of our travelers remember visiting Rhotia School before 2017 and Ayalabe before 2018? Just in case you do…..look at the difference planting trees makes.

Ayalabe 2018

Ayalabe 2021



Rhotia 2018

Rhotia 2021


Continuing in March, we will also be delivering 2 bikes to the schools and honoring the top Male and Female student for 2020. When students move from Primary to Secondary, bikes become a necessity as sometimes the secondary school can be as far as 12 kms from the pupils’ home.

If parents cannot afford Boarding, the next best thing is a bike.

Schools close in April and as it is the rains, I physically cannot drive to some schools, as the road is impassible. But the plan is to get ready to roll out a project worth 6000$.

We will partner with a small social enterprise group called Umoja who have the paten from a global organization called Days For Girls to make reusable sanitary pads.

We are going BIG. We aim to educate 600 female pupils across 5 schools on Health, Hygiene and Menstruation. We are funding 600 Menstrual Packs and training and we are going to be a part of ending “Period Poverty”.

Please join us at Grand Circle Foundation on our journey over the next 12 weeks. Keep updated from our Facebook pages and our newsletters. Stay in touch. It has been a surreal year, but we have each other.

Take care, Stay Safe,

Sandra and family in Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa.