The Traveling School has enjoyed a close connection with the Tandana Foundation since its beginning.
Tandana's founder, Anna Taft, taught 3 semesters from 2004-2005. Anna's relationships in Panecillo inspired TTS alumna, Laura Nichols, and has influenced her life's course for the past 10 years.
"My time in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru with the Traveling School was marked by a series of highlights: the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, the Cordillera Blancas, Lake Titicaca… However, the place that I remembered most was the small community of Panecillo outside Otavalo, due mostly to the connections already established by my Traveling School teacher, Anna, and solidified by the contagious smile of Don Vicente, her host father who graciously shared his home with us for an afternoon during our time in the Otavalo area." Click here read Laura's story.
Anna Taft began The Tandana Foundation in 2004 and has served as Executive Director since its inception. After graduating from high school in Ohio, Anna spent four months in Panecillo, Ecuador, where she taught at a local elementary school and built the connections that inspired her to start Tandana. In 2002 she graduated magna cum laude from Whitman College with a bachelor's degree in politics and a minor in environmental studies. She has worked for The Traveling School, teaching Spanish, history and literature while guiding high-school students through the Andes and New Zealand. Anna also spent eight summers leading teenagers in wilderness and community service programs for Deer Hill Expeditions in southwest Colorado. In 2006, she spent four months in Mali, learning about a completely different cultural world and contributing to community projects. Anna is fluent in English, Spanish, and French, and she is conversational in Kichwa and Dogon. She enjoys backpacking, rafting, reading, and writing. Anna founded The Tandana Foundation to increase opportunities for cross-cultural sharing in experiential education programs. Anna enjoys offering others opportunities to grow through new experiences and reflection. She appreciates the power of cross-cultural friendships to change our views of the world and help us better understand what it is to live as a human being on this Earth.