Greetings from Sr. Mary
I hope you had a blessed Christmas season and a very Happy New Year! I am writing to thank you for your November donation to Emusoi. I’m sorry that I am late in thanking you, but we have been so busy as we were sending all our girls off to school. Most girls have returned to their schools by now. We still have 5 girls who need to be transferred to boarding schools and the girls going to vocational schools.
We began with the students before New Year ’s Day since the first group was off Jan. 3! Buckets, hoes, mosquito nets, sheets (blue, pink or white), blankets, boots, school shoes, sports schools, mattresses, pillows, etc., etc. It is a massive task to figure out what is needed and then to buy everything. We have probably spent close to $20,000 to get all that was needed. Fortunately, we have two of our former students here at Emusoi sewing. About half of the students will buy their uniforms at their schools, but we have to sew the uniforms for the rest. Their “joining instructions” from the schools come with a swatch of material showing the color and material for their school uniform skirts and for their work dress. It is a challenge to get the right skirt to the proper girl. Now every school demands that the students come with one or two track suits. Each school has its own color and style of stripe. We will be very happy when we get everyone into her school with all that she needs!
So you can see that your donation has been put to work already and we would not have been able to help these girls without your help. We also had to transfer a few of our students from secondary school to vocational school. We check every girl’s academic progress each term. Some girls get their reports when they close school and other schools send the reports by post. We require that the girls maintain a certain average each term in order to remain under the sponsorship of Emusoi. Our average is quite low, but if they maintain it, they should pass their Form IV national exams and get a secondary certificate.
When we see that girls have received averages of F (0-29%), we talk with them and their parents, suggesting that they transfer to vocational studies. From our experience, we have seen that girls who score so poorly in first year secondary school do not improve. These girls end up scoring zero in the Form IV national exams; other girls get pregnant and drop out of school before finishing. My sense is that they get pregnant to be able to drop out of school to save face, so it does not appear that they have failed.
We have had success with the girls moving to vocational school. They study tailoring and cookery, even gardening. They also have classes in English, computer, math, entrepreneurship, and life skills. They learn theory and practical. When girls who have always scored F or D in all their subjects begin to get A’s and B’s, you begin to see a new light in their eyes; they smile and look very happy. These girls often do field work in some
of the big hotels around Arusha and they gain confidence when they see that they can excel in these fields. Some of the girls have been able to get employment after their studies and they are doing well and beginning to help out their parents and their families.
We are always so happy when we hear that our former students are working and remembering their parents. Maria who is the daughter of one of our watchmen is now teaching in a primary school near her home. Yesterday, her father proudly told me that she had saved her salary and bought solar lights for her family. Her father said that they don’t have to worry about buying kerosene now for the lanterns that they were using for light. Other girls have helped their families farm so that they have enough food for the year and others have put a roof on their mother’s house. These girls are changing the village’s ideas about the value of educating girls. They are seeing and experiencing that girls with an education will help their parents and their village.
This week we will be receiving our new class of pre-secondary students. A few of them are here already and they have had the advantage of getting to feel at home. But they will help us to welcome the new students and show them around. Hopefully, classes will begin the last week of January.
I thank you all for your generosity. Without your help, we would not be able to help these young girls. This chance of education is changing their lives and they will have the chance to change the lives of others when they finish their education. Yesterday, we brought one student who was transferred to join Mwedo School here in Arusha. When our staff arrived at the school, they were pleasantly surprised to see Naweshi, one of our former students. She is now one
of the new teachers at Mwedo. So they turned our student over to her and said that Naweshi needs to be the big sister of our Emusoi students at this school. As days go on, we will be seeing more and more of Emusoi graduates teaching our students in the many schools they attend.
Thank you for your support of this work. I wish you a joy filled New Year.
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.