The Bianucci Family

28 Feb

To many people, Tanzania may feel out of reach. It is, after all, more than a hop, skip, and jump away. In a life so busy that scheduling a trip to the grocery store is a challenge, tossing in a trip to a developing country may (understandably!) seem unthinkable. However, today I would like to introduce you to Henri and Susan Bianucci and their girls, Miller and Macon. Over the past six years, Henri and Susan have prioritized coupling travel and service as a way to shape Miller and Macon’s worldviews, minds, and characters.

The Bianucci family first traveled to East Africa to go on safari, and during their stay they fell in love with the culture, land, animals, and people of Tanzania. They returned home with a strong desire to return to volunteer. When they did, they quickly grew attached to the children at Nkoaranga Orphanage (one of TFFT’s Partner Orphanages), and they felt helpless as they witnessed the children’s many needs.

As first year student at Saint Andrew’s University, Miller reflects:

I can never begin to explain the overwhelming chaos that greeted us the first day when we walked through the orphanage gate. Screaming and crying children climbing up our legs, smiling ‘mamas’ who immediately handed us beautiful  babies—we were blown away by the life that was spilling over into every corner of this orphanage.

Miller at Nkoaranga Orphanage, summer 2011

Macon, now a junior in high school, recalls, “I knew I wanted to help these children, but did not know where to begin. I struggled with singling out one certain area of their lives to which I could dedicate my efforts.” She adds:

By chance, one day when we were driving down the orphanage hill, our driver picked up two young American men. We started a conversation with them and found out they were working for a woman from the United States who had started a foundation helping Tanzanian children. My mom got their card and stuck it in her back pocket, and we didn’t think about it again for the next couple of months. Some point when we got home my mom came across that card, and curious, decided to give the person a call. This phone call led us to Meghann Gunderman, a wonderful friendship, and most importantly a safe way to offer help and education to the orphans.

Macon helping with the babies, summer 2011

Susan says:

Meghann has served as an example by making a promise and keeping it and by helping others. TFFT is on ground in country and sees the kids every day. They are there after school every day loving and protecting these vulnerable children who have no one else. That is what I like most about TFFT, their commitment on the ground and their everyday presence, and that when you donate to TFFT, you know exactly where your money is going.

Susan at USA River Academy, where TFFT's Scholarship Students gave the riders a joyful sendoff, RIDETZ 2010

Susan at Nkoaranga Orphanage, summer 2011

People often wonder why Susan and Henri make the journey year after year instead of just writing a check. To which Susan responds, “I don’t just do this for orphaned and abandoned children. I do this for my children as well. They are different children for having been there.” Henri adds, “Whatever we have given to these efforts, we have received tenfold in the positive way these experiences have shaped our girls minds and characters.”

Henri elaborates by explaining that:

The experiences the girls have had in Tanzania, with the orphanage and with TFFT, have provided them a unique educational and growing experience. It has opened their eyes to the privilege with which they have been blessed and their power to make a meaningful and lasting difference for those less fortunate.  In a narcissistic world dominated by things like Facebook and the Kardashians, these experiences have opened their eyes to the truly rewarding nature of service to others.

Henri playing with TFFT Scholarship Students before RIDETZ 2010

Macon proves Henri’s point:

After learning about TFFT I immediately knew where my responsibility towards these children lay. TFFT taught me that the most sustainable way I could help them was by seeing that they received the best education possible. In the future, I hope to continue my support of TFFT, as my passion and love for these children remains the most important thing in my life. The children of Nkoaranga orphanage changed my life, so I hope to help TFFT change theirs.

Thank you Susan, Henri, Miller, and Macon for the inspiring way you have chosen to make a difference! TFFT is so lucky to have you as part of our team.

Are you and your family looking for ways to personally connect with a cause? TFFT would love for you to join our team, and you don’t have to board a plane to Tanzania to do so! Just leave a comment or email us or join our mailing list to get started!

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One Response to “The Bianucci Family”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Meet RIDETZ Rider, Miller Bianucci « TFFT's Blog - May 22, 2012

    […] may remember first reading about Miller and the entire Bianucci Family in this post. There is something special about this family. Their sense of adventure, their commitment to […]

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