Greetings from Sr. Mary
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All of You!
As we come to the end of the year, I am writing to thank you for your generosity this whole year and to ask you to continue being generous to us. The ending of a year and the beginning of another call us to take stock of our lives and to reflect on all that has happened and how we have struggled and how we have been blessed. They also call us to consider those who are less fortunate than we are and invite us to share our bounty with them. I thank you for sharing your bounty with our girls at Emusoi.
Your generosity has enabled us to accomplish so much. In January, 52 girls joined the pre-secondary program and from that group, 46 have been placed into various secondary schools and will begin classes in January 2019. One girl will go to vocational school and five will
repeat pre-secondary. The 36 girls who finished secondary school in 2017 passed their exams, except for one girl. Of this group, 15 joined advanced level studies and 15 joined certificate and diploma courses in teaching, nursing, human resource management, local governments, agriculture, community development, accounts, clinical medicine, secretarial, animal health and production and records keeping!
Five girls who finished advanced studies have qualified for university and are now studying. Two of these girls will be our first Emusoi engineers as they study electrical and civil engineering! We have 19 girls who have graduated from various colleges with certificates and diplomas in early childhood education, primary school education, clinical officer, electric and bio-medical engineering, community development, tailoring, home craft, animal production, land-use planning and railways!
Then in October of this year, we had over 300 girls applying for 2019 and we were able to accept 46 girls for the pre-secondary program, 16 to join public secondary schools and 2 for vocational school. It was a very difficult task to choose out of the 300. The girl take exams and we then give them a oral interview. We try to discern which girls have no other alternatives for their lives. If Emusoi did not accept them, they would not go to school, but just be married at the age of 13-15. These students come to us in many different ways.
The girls were brought by a man sent by the village leader and left at Emusoi. They took the exams, but as is the case with many girls, the neediest ones are the ones who score so poorly in the exams. We had to make an exception for these girls and we accepted them and said they would stay at Emusoi. If they returned home they never would have returned to begin classes in January. We have a group of about 9 girls who did not go home after the interview. I assigned various staff to teach these girls one hour a day—reading, writing and arithmetic. At least by now all of the girls can read Swahili and they know the multiplication tables. A few days ago these three girls came to see me to thank me for accepting them into our program and for giving them this chance. They were crying and so was I.
As Teika talked with the woman, she realized that these 2 girls had finished primary school, but the woman had no plan to continue their education. Her other children were not in school and the daughters were all married off. Teika told her about Emusoi and said that the girls should come to Arusha for the interview. Later that day, she met another man in the homestead who was visiting. He told her about his daughter when he heard about Emusoi. She had finished primary school in another village and was disabled. Could she be helped by Emusoi?
Teika encouraged them to come to Emusoi, but the woman was doubtful that they could get bus fare to come (It would cost about $14). She knew that her husband did not want her daughter to go to school and he would not give them any money. Teika talked with the village leader saying that it was his duty to make sure the girls came to Emusoi. When Teika returned to Arusha, she kept in contact with the leader, encouraging him to get the girls to Arusha. She ended up sending bus fare for the one girl whose house she slept in.
One of our staff, Teika, travelled for a day by bus to go to Kiteto, a Maasai district over 400 km south of Arusha. We needed forms from the schools of some of our students and after trying to send parents and others to the schools, we had failed due to difficulties in communications and distances. Teika, travelled to one school in a remote village and the headmaster was away. She needed to stay over night to meet him the next day, but there were no guest houses in the village. The village leader brought her to a homestead and asked hospitality for her. There she stayed with a woman and her children. This woman had her own daughter and other children and she was also helping to take care of another girl who is an orphan and who lived with her grandmother in the same homestead.
Your generosity helps us to give these girls a chance to change their lives. Please remember us all in this Holiday season; share your bounty with us and keep the spirit of Christmas alive. I wish you could meet these girls whom you are helping so they could thank you in person. May God bless you and may your have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and blessed 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. You can also contribute electronically. Check out the “donate” page on our website. If any of you would like to receive this newsletter by email, just write me at email@example.com and let me know. Thank you.