Greetings from Sr. Mary
Greetings from Emusoi. I am writing to you to thank you for the donation you made to Emusoi in June. It has helped us to get our students ready to return to school for the second term and pay their bus fare to school. It also helped us to get our fourteen Form V students off to their new schools for advanced studies. They were sent to all corners of Tanzania and their bus fare was far more expensive than their school fees! Some had to travel 2 days to get to their schools. But I am happy to say that they all arrived safely and hopefully they are now deep into their studies.
The exam results of our Form VI students who took their exams in May have been announced this month. Seven of our 13 students have qualified for University and the others are going to apply for Diploma courses. Emusoi has finished with their sponsorship at this point, but we are helping them with advice and helping them to apply to various colleges. All applications need to be done on line and many of the girls do not have internet access in their home villages.
So our accounts office has been turned into the career counseling and applications office as our two accountants work with these girls. We are hoping that these girls can receive student loans to offset the costs of their education. Loan applications are the next step. These girls also are looking for other sponsorship as they look toward further education. One girl has been helping with translation in her home village for a group from the States who have a health project. They are interested in helping her to pay for her education.
These girls have been supported by Emusoi since pre-secondary school, more than seven years. They are now at a point in their lives where they can speak for themselves and defend themselves as they aspire for higher education and professional training. So hopefully, in a few years, we will get nurses and doctors, teachers and agriculturalists, nutritionists and lawyers from this group.
The pre-secondary girls all returned from holidays at home and are now hard at work. The first schools will be giving their entrance exams in September, so time is short to prepare well for the tests. When it is time for school holidays, we make sure it is safe for the girls to return home. All the students want to go home and if we advise them not to do so, they are not happy. However, sometimes we cannot anticipate the danger. One of our students has not yet returned to Emusoi. She lives quite far from us and we have notified the person who brought her to Emusoi (not her parent) and he has asked the village leader to follow up on her case. Unfortunately, we have heard that the girl’s father has married her off. We are still doing follow-up, but we are not very hopeful that she will be returned. It is difficult if the village authorities do not cooperate, even though it is against the law for a school girl to get married. Sometimes, we feel that we have taken two steps ahead and then three back. I see our Form VI leavers all excited about applying to colleges and thinking of their future. But then we have these girls who are just beginning their school careers and they are married off or refuse to go back to school. This June, besides this pre-secondary student who didn’t return, we have a Form II girl who is pregnant and a Form I girl who were are told refused to return to school. However, we have heard she may also be pregnant.
This is discouraging and we know that after a few years, the girls (and many times, their parents) will regret giving up this chance for education. Many times, it is not really the choice of the girl herself, but because their homes are so far away, it is hard for us to intervene if we have no one in the local area to help us. Change and attitude change come about very slowly, but we keep at it and try not to lose heart too much. Knowing that you are all behind us and supporting us with prayers and donations keeps us going. May God bless you all!
I thank you again and we keep you all in our prayers.
Sr. Mary Vertucci
Note: All donations should be sent via Maryknoll Sisters, Box 311, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0311. Checks need to be issued in the name of “Maryknoll Sisters”, with “Emusoi Center” written on the memo line. Please include a note designating the gift for Emusoi Center, Arusha, Tanzania. You will receive an acknowledgement from Maryknoll which can be used for tax purposes. I will also send you a thank you from here. If you do not hear from me, let me know about your donation. It will take 2 months or so for me to get news of your donation. EMAIL ADDRESSES: If any of you would like to receive this newsletter by email, please send me your address.