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Written: 23 November 2021
(Every time a former student comes to visit our center, we always try to invite them to share their stories with our current students. We believe that this is a learning and an inspiring opportunity for them to learn from the different life experiences of their older Emusoi sisters.)
Last November 16, 2021, one of our former students, Mariamu Komolo, came to visit our center. Our social workers, Naino Parteyo and Paulina Porokwa (former Emusoi students as well), invited her to share her life story and experiences with our current pre-secondary students.
Mariamu’s journey has been a long one. She first came to our center in 2010 as one of our students in our pre-secondary program. Her different triumphs and trials have molded her to be the person that she is now: hardworking, disciplined, clever, helpful, a self-starter and persevering. Those same attributes made her a model employee with the safari company that she worked for. When safari companies were closing down due to the pandemic, she was one of those who was let go. But when things were opening up in December 2020, she was one of the first workers to be called back to work.
Below are some of the things that Mariamu shared with our current students:
On life’s challenges:
In School: It was a challenge since I did poorly in my studies even though I was studying hard. I did not do well in my form four exams. Due to bad results, I could not get a college to study and pursue a career as a Policewoman. It was hard. I continued to stay here at the centre. I helped around the center by doing various activities especially cleaning and kitchen activities. I also helped the matrons in guiding students.
At Work: I have learned that life is a safari or a journey. I have learned to adjust and adapt to the different situations and personalities of people now that I am working. During Corona (pandemic disease), majority of the workers were suspended and I was among of them. I stayed at home for a month just helping around our homestead. After some time, I decided I need to use my skills and earn some income to support myself and my family. With the assistance of my foster mother, we started a little guest house business. We offered lodging and hospitality last April 2021. Our little business lasted until December and after that, I was called back to work.
In Life: The challenges in my life are still there but I continue to persevere. After getting the educational support and guidance from Emusoi, I am now employed and has started to support myself and my family. I provide for the basic needs of my family while also trying to support the education of my younger siblings. Recently, I had to care for my mother. I brought her to the hospital. I took care of her until her death. I also have to provide medical assistance for my father.
On my Life Successes:
I believe I achieved great success through Emusoi Center. I got educated. I have a good job now and able to support my family. I hope to build my family a nice house.
On life lessons:
I have learned that one should be humble. I should be hardworking and have discipline. One should respect everyone, the great and the small. Lastly, I should not give up in life.
On being grateful:
I am grateful for the sponsorship that Emusoi has given me. Aside from getting educated, the guidance and care that they showed me, molded me to be the person that I am today.
During the Pandemic:
I sat down and thought about what to do during this time when I am unemployed and how I can provide for my family. I decided to start a hotel business by using the skills I had so that I could meet my needs. Thanks God that I was able to do that I succeeded.
On Teenage pregnancy:
I did not get pregnant as compared to my peers because I was thinking about how difficult my life and the life of my family especially right now that I am the main source of income for them. I also kept on thinking about the goals in my life and I am eager to help my parents and younger siblings. If I get pregnant, I won’t be able to help them.
And also, it is easy to get pregnant and be pregnant. The hard part is taking care of the baby after she/he is born. I did not get pregnant because I cared for myself and for my future.
On sharing her wisdom to her fellow Emusoi Students:
- To be hard working
- To have a grateful heart
- Be respectful because without respect you will not be successful.
- Have goals in life.
During her sharing, our current students were so eager and interested as Mariamu shared her story. They were delighted and inspired by her story that they want her to talk to them whenever she visits our center.
Written: 3 May 2021
Natasha Koiye first came to Emusoi in 2008 to try her luck for sponsorship during our September Selection. Out of the 300 plus hopeful applicants, 150 girls were chosen and Natasha was one of them. When school year 2009 started, we helped her to be enrolled at Samunge Secondary School in Ngorongoro District. Since it was a boarding school, she only came to our center during school holidays and breaks.
When she reached Form Four and took the National Exams, she actually failed. Due to her results, Emusoi no longer supported her. This setback did not stop her. She was determined to study and really create a better life for her and for her mother. She asked a former teacher to help her. Natasha shared that she became a house girl for that teacher. She would be working before and after school. She would be cleaning the house, cooking for the family, fetching water and taking care of the children. She repeated 2 years of secondary school. With all her hard work, she finished with a Division 2 when she took the Form Four National Exams. This result qualified her for a diploma course in clinical medicine.
Natasha pursued the diploma course with the helped of her mother. They were able to work out fees and other expenses for her first term. College courses are expensive and one has to also consider boarding and food expenses. There was not enough money to pay for her 3-year course. With her determination, she came back to us, told her story and asked if we could support her again. We agreed to help her since we saw how determined she is. She really worked so hard on her own in order to reach for her dream.
Amidst the pandemic, Natasha finished her course last year. She was actually planning to come to our center but had to postponed it. She had to go home because she had to take care of her mother who had a bad broken arm. Now that her mother recovered, both of them came to Emusoi to thank us.
Natasha shared, “Thank you so much for support. I would like to pursue a career in the healthcare since this is my chosen profession. I hope to help not just my family but also my neighbors and my community.”
Written: 4 February 2021
Meet Kitindi Sayori, she is our former student and currently works as the Head Pediatric Nurse at Monduli District Hospital. She started in 2003 as one of our pre-secondary students. After a year, she continued her secondary education at Kiraeni Secondary School. After finishing her O-Level Education, she pursued a Diploma Course in Nursing. When she finished, she worked at Monduli District Hospital for two years before pursuing a University Degree (in Nursing) at St. John’s University. Below is our interview with her when she came to our center last January 2021:
Emusoi: What were your fond memories when you were still in Emusoi?
Kitindi: I consider Emusoi Centre as my home. I joined the center when I was only 13 years old. I was so small. I like the pre-form one program, especially the lessons learned and the teachers. I remember Sr. Maureen. I like the evening prayers and the camaraderie that I formed with the other girls.
E: What was your goal when you were in Secondary School?
K: My goal was that I need to be someone else so that I can help others just like I was being helped. I also need to be in the medical field.
E: Now that you fulfilled your goal in being in the medical field, do you still have other goals?
K: I need to be a teacher in the medical field. I like to be a teacher nurse who will train future nurses.
E: Do you have your own family now?
K: Yes, I married a guy who I chose for myself. I have three children. My husband works for an NGO. My husband and I have decided that having three children is already enough for us.
E: Even though you are already married and have your own family, are you able to help your parents and siblings?
K: With the support from my husband, I am able to support my mother who is totally dependent on me. Being the first born in my family, I am able to support my 2 younger brothers in their education. I am also able to provide for any needs that my family need.
E: With the help that you are providing to your family and the services that you are giving in Monduli, is there a difference on how educated women are viewed in your community now?
K: In my family, my father is so proud of my accomplishments. I am able to talk to my elders on the importance of education and they see the example in me.
E: What is your message to young women who are now part of Emusoi?
K: They should work hard in order to reach their visions and when they work hard, they can help others.
E: What were the problems/challenges that you have experienced when you were still in school? How about now?
K: There was the pressure of teenage pregnancy. Since parents does not value education much, getting them to contribute was a problem.
E: What do you find fulfilling in your profession as a nurse?
K: I feel wonderful since I am able help others-helping patients and healed others. Being Maasai and coming from a village in Monduli, I am able to help my Maasai community since I know our needs, our ways and our traditions. Being able to assist them improve their chances of getting the proper medical needs that they need and deserve. I am able to help them the way I can. I talk to them
E: What is your dream for your Maasai community?
K: I hope that my Maasai community will no longer be ignored or excluded. I want us to be seen.
Written: 23 November 2020
Last October, Veronica Abraham came to our Centre. She is one of our former students who is currently in her Third Year in Mbeya University Science and Technology. She is taking up a course in Bachelor in Science, major in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. She enthusiastically agreed to sit with us for an interview to update us about her different endeavors. Below is short interview that we had with her.
Question: What is new with you?
Veronica: I am currently back here in Arusha after being in Mbeya for University. I am currently doing field work at Tanalec. It is a three-month field work.
Q: Is your family supporting you in your University Education?
Veronica: The government approved my student loan which allowed me to continue my education.
Q: What are the things that you have learned so far, like skills that would be helpful in your chosen profession?
Veronica: I can do insulation, wiring, maintenance of computer devices and other electronic gadgets.
Question: What is the difference between the Veronica before and the Veronica now?
Veronica: The Veronica before was just focused on studying and passing my exams, especially when I was in secondary school. The Veronica now is focus on her future.
Q: How do you see your future?
Veronica: After I complete my studies in 2022, I would like to work for a company that would allow me to practice the knowledge and skills that I have learned. I can work for both the government and the private sectors. If there is no possibility for employment in those sectors, I would like to start my own business. I would like to put up my own electronic shop to practice my profession.
Q: How are your parents?
Veronica: They are fine. They are both so happy and proud of my achievements.
Q: Early pregnancy has been an issue for girls being unable to finish school, what prevented you from taking the road?
Veronica: I did not want to be pregnant. I thought of my family and Emusoi. They did so much for me. I want to help them. I fought for my education and I am fighting for my future to help my family.
Written: 18 November 2020
Respected and dearly Emusoi staffs led by Sr. Mary Vertucci,
First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks, glory, praise and honor to almighty Good for his abundancy blessings and protections to this far.
Secondly, I would express my great appreciation to you Sr. Mary Vertucc, the mother of many, on behalf of my family and my self as well for your motherly and fatherly support. Though there is no enough appreciation to pay for your greater kindness, I still want to thank you for your generous support and kindness.
In 2010, when I joined this beautiful family of Emusoi from a very desperate life of parenthesis. I saw my life getting lightened by the very kind and generous support that I received from the whole team of Emusoi center led by Sr. Mary Vertucci. I felt like I have got a new family of Emusoi since then and for sue it has been that for 100%.
I spent my 10 years of schooling here at Emusoi Center where I received my secondary and college education. Throughout my education journey, You (Sr. Mary) and the whole family of yours (Sr. Jareen, Da Teika, Da Pau Mkubwa, Da Pau Mdogo, Ma Salome, Ma Edini, Da Naino, Mwl. Masawe and Madam Mwason) has each contributed very much to shape my life for the better person that I am now. All these individuals raised me with their unconditional love throughout financial support, psychological counseling, all dimension of social life and cultural life of my own origin. Several times each one of these individuals extended her parental support in shaping me for the better. I can only say thanks for many thigs you taught and induced me.
I would thank you also all people who made sure I eat in time and socialize in clean and safe environment. More appreciation to all security personnel (my fathers) as well for making sure I’m safe and secure for the whole time I spent at Emusoi. I would also thank my fellow colleagues, elders and younger sisters at EMusoi for their love, respect, prayers and mutual support of growing together earning and experiencing a lot.
My beloved family of Emusoi center under the management of you Sr. Mary Vertucci. It is my time now to departure from this beautiful and blessed family. It is hard to say goodbye but it worth as well for me to leave and stand independently showing and spreading the best-matured fruits of Emusoi to the outside community. I can assure you how proud I am to this family of Emusoi and how dear I felt to you all. You gave me and my fellow colleagues much love and tender kindness altogether. Being a human and teenager I wronged you knowing and unknowingly. I ask for forgiveness for the time I made you sad and sometimes strayed from the good things and behavior wished me to be.
I can only say “Thank you all and wish you, my nice people a peaceful and happy life forever and ever.” May almighty God bless Emusoi and prospering it, may abundance blessings fall unto you Sr. Mary and the whole family of Emusoi so as to continue pouring beautiful and sweat fruits for Girls from all over the community who have a desperate and highly hopeless life.
Through you Sr. Mary, “God’s love speeded to those children who are in difficulties and in need from so many communities.”
With love and great appreciation,
Yours sincerely and truly one,
Helena M. Siria
“Menyanyuk serian oraposhi” this is a proverb in Maasai language which means “peace and fullness can’t ever compare, peace is better.”
Written: 29 October 2019
It is not a common practice in the Maasai culture for a husband to send his wife to school but this is what has appened with one of our former students, Nepashina Moses.
Nepashina Moses joined our pre-secondary program in 2004. After a year in the program, she qualified to go to Secondary school. She finished her Ordinary Level Education and was able to continue on to Advance Level Education. Her combination was Chemistry, Biology and Geopgraphy. She finished her secondary education in 2011.
When asked about her thoughts about Emusoi, she shared: Emusoi is a supportive center to pastoralist girls. Send your daughter here, your daughter will be safe. She will not just be educated but also issues with health and other problems will be helped as well.
Nepashina had big plans to pursue higher education but had to stop since she got married and got pregnant. After giving birth to her three children, two of whom were twins, she decided to go back to school. With the support of her husband, who is an accountant, she joined Dareda School of Nursing in 2016. The situation was very hard for her since she had to leave her husband and children behind. With the support of her husband and her husband's family, she was able to pursue her diploma. Her sister-in-law took care of her children and her livestock while she was in school.
In her own words, Nepashina shared: when you educate women, you educate the community. When you educate a girl, both her family and the husband's family will be helped. They see the value of education now and that is the reality: that both sides of the families are helped.
Seeing the change that had happened in her life, her parents are motivated to send her youger siblings to school. The financial issue is still a problem but there is awareness on the importance of education. This year, Nepashina finished her Diploma in Nursing and is looking forward in applying her knowledge and skills. She hopes that she will be able to help her family and her husband's family soon.
Before leaving the center, she shared her thoughts for our current students to learn: girls should study hard, to have an objective. If they get pregnant, keep objective and let it not die. Keep your dreams no matter what you are undergoing.
Written: 22 October 2019
Nepashina Moses joined Emusoi, she was just a young girl coming out from Simanjiro and has just finished Standard 7. She stayed with us for one year to be part of our pre-secondary program.
Written: 2 October 2018
For the first week of October, our center will be full of young women coming from the different parts of Maasailand to try their luck to be selected for our sponsorship. Based on the number of "Letter of Request" that we have received this year, we are expecting around 300 young women who finished Standard 7.
We wish that we could accept all of them, knowing the needs and the situations of these women. With limited funds, we can only accept 60 girls. Our staff has the hard task of interviewing and screening who among these women really deserves the educational sponsorship. If accepted, this will be a life-changing opportunity for them to have better-options in their lives-thru education. The impact of change and development will not only stay with them, but it will also impact the lives of their families and communities.
As we annually select deserving students, we notice that more and more parents and relatives are coming to our center to bring their daughters, sisters, nieces and granddaughters. Before, it would just be mothers, aunts and other female family members. There were times that they had come secretly or escape from their homes since they will be punished for bringing girls to our center. Now, we notice that more male relatives are bringing their female relatives. There seemed to be a change of hearts and minds when it comes to seeing girls as commodities to exchange during marriage. Since they are already here at the center, we took this opportunity to push forward our advocacy on the importance of education, especially educating girls. We also educate them on their roles and responsibilities as parents. We give emphasis that educating their daughters is a collaboration between Emusoi and them.
Our center continues to promote and advocate the importance of educating girls. It is a long journey but we believe that we are truly changing the minds and hearts of people coming from the pastoralist and hunter gatherer tribes as seen by the wonderful work that our former students are doing. They are currently the changemakers now in their respective communities.
Written: 12 June 2018
For the past six years, Sr. Jareen has been accompaning and mentoring our young women here. Recently, she was interviewed to share her ministry in Tanzania, especially her work at our center.
Below are some of the questions that were asked of her:
What are your hopes and dreams for Tanzania?
Who are the two people who have made an impact on you at the center?
To know about her answers to the questions and to watch the full interview of Sr. Jareen, click the link: https://vimeo.com/274509199
Written: 30 May 2018
Meet of our former student, Joyce Lemka Nangan. She is creating a sustainable and harmonious environment for both animals and human, especially for her Maasai tribe, at the Serengeti Gamepark, Tanzania.
Born to a pastoralist tribe where education is not a priority, especially educating girls, she is the first in her family to break that cycle. She joined our Pre-secondary program in 2006. She admitted that it was hard for her to leave her village but she also knew that the opportunity that was given to her is important. It is a chance for her to have a better life for herself and for her family. It took her sometime to adjust with the living situation, the food and most of all, the language (she had to work hard to learn Kiswahili and English) but she persevered.
Below is a short Q and A that we had we Joyce when she came to visit the centre:
Emusoi: Why did you choose Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness for a course?
Joyce: I grew up in a farming family. I would ask myself as to why farmers suffer. I wanted to help farmers especially my father. I wanted to look for solutions to their problems and help the situation.
Emusoi: Now that you finished your course, how are you applying that in helping farmers especially your father?
Joyce: When I go home, I would teach my father and other farmers on the different techniques that I have learned.
Emusoi: Does your father listen to your advice?
Joyce: Yes, he listens to my advice and follows them. His harvest has improved. He is being helped by my three brothers. He is very proud of me.
(Pictures above provided by Joyce)
Emusoi: What was the first responsibility or project that you did when you were hired?
Joyce: My first responsibility was to remove all exotic plants that are not indigenous to the Serengeti. There were people who brought flowering plants to the area with the intention of beautifying the place. They forgot to consider the effect of those plants to the native fauna and to the health of the animals. I collaborated with an ecologist from TANAPA to ensure that what we have around and within our camps are plant genuses that are native to the Serengeti.
Emusoi: Aside from removing exotic plants, what else did you do?
Joyce: There were a lot of fallen trees along the paths where elephants would usually pass. My team taught of replanting trees. After acquiring the necessary permits from TANAPA, we planted over 350 trees in the Serengeti.
Emusoi: It seems that the company that you work for really cares for the environment?
Joyce: Yes, I work for a company that is against poaching and against the usage of plastic bottle. We are the only company that does not use plastic bottles. We actually banned the use of plastic bottles in our safari camps. We have our own bottling place where we use glass bottles that can be cleaned and refilled. My team and I also collect plastic bottles all over the Serengeti every first and last week of the month. Whatever we collect, we would bring them to this NGO who repurpose/reuse those plastics.
Emusoi: How are you helping your family now?
Joyce: I am able to contribute to some of the basic needs that my family need with my salary. My father has three wives, with my mother as the first wife. I am encouraging my father to also send my half-siblings to school. I would give them money for their school needs.
Emusoi: How has the Center and being educated changed your life?
Joyce: I gained confidence thru education. I become confident to face my community.
Before going back to the Serengeti, Joyce shared her time and wisdom to her younger sisters (our current pre-secondary and secondary students). She shared her successes and failures to them. She also gave them some advice on how to handle different situations that she herself had experienced. She then gamely answered the questions post by our young women. Below are some of the questions that they asked her:
1. What were the things that you had to do until you reached for your goals?
2. What were the different problems that you experienced when you were still studying?
3. Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend? What is his work?
For this area, Joyce shared that she is in a relationship. She was so proud to share that she chose the guy to be in a relationship. It was her decision and was not decided for her.
4. What is your work?
5. Who are the people that you met in school that helped you reached for you goals?
6. How were you able to escape for being married off?
Each student listened intently to her stories. Her sharing and presence has inspired them that if they work hard, they, too, can reach for their goals to have a better life for themselves and for their families.
She continues to be grateful for the opportunity that Emusoi has given her.The center gave her different perspective and attitude towards education. The foundation that she received from the center allowed her to continue and pursue her life goals. To end our session with Joyce, she shared the following words, "There is an awareness that I know what I can do as a woman."
Written: 21 May 2018
It was in 2004 when we first met her. When the center was being built, Mama Amina put up a make-shift store that sold tea and mandazi to the construction workers. She was also one of the day laborers who would carry water for the cement. When the construction was finished, the engineer recommend Mama Amina to us in case we need a dedicated and hardworking person. Sr. Mary and the staff decided to hire her and the rest is history. (Picture taken in 2012)
There was this one story wherein, she went to this house every morning to "wake-up" a girl so that she would go to school. She did that for the next 7 years until that girl finished Standard 7 (primary school). That girl, Nasinyari, is now in Form 6 and will hopefully soon go to University. She is very grateful to Mama Juliana for hounding her all those years.
We believe that Teika also inherited that same passion that Mama Juliana has when it comes to education. After all, Teika is now a lawyer and our program officer. (Picture taken in 2017)
Rosi is one dedicated and creative mother. Even though she is a widow (and finished Standard 7), she was able to support
She believes that education is important so she brought her daughter to our center. Tumaini (Swahili word which means #hope) finished Secondary School is now able to help her mother. (Picture taken in 2012 at Engutokoiti Village, Arusha)
Sr. Mary is the foundress and directress of our Center. She has helped more than 1500 young women to realize their potentials in life beyond being marriage dowries. Through her dedication in helping them, there are more women in the field of Education, Business, Community Development and Medicine from the Pastoralist and Hunter-Gatherer communities (specifically from the Maasai Tribe). She continues to accompany and mentor them. She can actually name all of the young women (and even their backgrounds).
Being one of the matrons, Bahati has guided and cared for all the young women that entered the doors of our center.
Both Sr. Mary and Mama Bahati have become mothers to all our young women. Even up to now, former students would still come and share their stories and ask for advise from them. (Picture taken in 2007 by Sr. Jeri Stokes)
Written: 2 March 2018
Last February 28, 2018, the center was visited by the Immersion group of the Maryknoll Mission Education. The group was headed by Fr. Bob Jalbert and Deacon Matt Dulka. The aim of the immersion is to expose and invite people to visit and witness the different Marknoll Ministries that Maryknoll Missionaries are engaged in. For the past four years, their immersion trip in Africa would include a visit to our center.
Below are some of the encounters of the participants of the immersion group with our pre-secondary students. Karibuni Tena!
Written: 25 January 2018
Last Month, the national Examination Counsil of Tanzania (NECTA) released the results of the Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (CSEE for Form Four Students fro School Year 2017.
Our Centre is proud to announce that majority of our Form Four Graduates last year performed well. Below are their results:
Division I - 2
Division II - 7
Division III - 10
Division IV - 16
All their hard work and determination paid off. Most of the young women who got good grades were part of our Pre-Form One program. The center has been offering this program since 1999 to help and prepare the girls for secondary school. Aside from the academic preparation, the girls also learned about different life skills that would enable them to adapt and transition well from village life to school life.
Written: 22 January 2018
Maria Yohana, one of our fomer students, is currently teaching at a private primary school in her home village in Oldonyosambu, Arusha. She finished her Teacher Training at Bethesda Montessori Training Center.
She is the daugther of one of the watchmen of the center, Yohana Kidotu. He has been working at the center for more than 10 years. He has seen a lot of changes that had happened in the lives of girls when they are educated. With this realization, Yohana asked the center if they could sponsor her daughter's education.
When his girls started school, Happiness and Maria, he saw positive changes in their lives. Whenever his daughters would come home for school holidays, they would accompany sick relatives and friends to the village clinic. The health care workers only know Kiswahili while the patients only know Kimaasai. With this situation, the daughters of Yohana would be the one to translate so that proper care and diagnosis can be given.
In their village, there is not electricity. Most of the villagers would use lamp oils and flashlights (torches). Seeing that there is the need for electricity, Maria decided to save her salary. She surprised her father and mother by buying a solar panel and battery. With this purchase, they don't have to be buying oils or batteries. Yohana was so proud of what his daughter did. He proudly shared the good news to Sr. Mary and to the whole staff of the center.
Both Yohana and Maria are reaping the benefits of education. Both are definitely changing minds and hearts when it comes to educating girls in their Maasai tribe in Oldonyosambu.
Written: 10 January 2018