Greetings from Sr. Mary
Holiday Greetings from Arusha! I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, a Blessed Christmas and a joy-filled New Year! It is hard to believe that 2019 is coming to an end. I take this opportunity to thank you for all your prayers and support this year and. Many things have been accomplished because of your generosity. Let me tell you about 2019.
This year we are supporting more than 370 students in pre-secondary to University level education. All but 5 of our pre-secondary class succeeded to get places in first year secondary, beginning in January 2020. The five left will repeat the remedial year and hopefully join secondary in 2021.
10 of our Form 6 graduates qualified for University; they were able to obtain student loans and they have begun their courses. Two others have begun diploma courses in nursing. It fills us with a sense of fulfillment when we see these girls grow from shy, inarticulate girls to young women, filled with confidence, sure of themselves, determined to finish their studies and then to help their families and their communities.
This year, I am particularly filled with gratitude when I see Rita going off to the Catholic University of Tanzania to study sociology. Rita came to us in 2011 from a very remote village, more than 300 miles south of Arusha. She is the last born of her mother (the first of 2 wives); she and one older sister had gone to primary school. All the rest of her siblings didn’t go to school. Her mother wanted one of her children to study and she asked the local parish priest to help her get Rita to school.
Rita came to Emusoi for our entrance test but she failed because she had trouble reading and writing. We decided to to admit her to our remedial year, but at first, she was afraid of all these strange people at our Center and she just wanted to go home. Soon, she began to feel at home and she began to study. She just kept improving, soaking up knowledge like a sponge. She had to repeat the remedial year, and in 2013 was accepted in Sangiti Secondary School. She even qualified for a scholarship! She finished 4 years of secondary and then 2 years of advanced level studies until she was accepted at University.
In the middle of her secondary studies, her father asked if she could come home during one of the holidays, so he could bless her. He was afraid that he would die without seeing her since she spent all her holidays at Emusoi. We reluctantly gave her permission to go home. Once she went home, her father refused to let her return to school. He used his old age as a ruse to get Rita to the village so she could get married. With the help of her mother and cell phones and the District Commissioner and the police, we rescued her from her village and brought her back to school! She is hoping that her education will equip her to fight for the rights of women and girls in her community.
When Rita finished advanced studies she wrote me a letter thanking me for all that I had done to help her out of her struggles and she asked God to shower blessing on me always. These blessings need to shower on all of you, too. Without your help, we would not have been able to help Rita and all the girls at Emusoi.
As we move into this Christmas season, I ask you all to open your hearts and hands. This year has been a difficult one for us financially as I lost a big donor and there have large and unanticipated expenses. This year 14 of our Form IV graduates were selected to join colleges for certificate and diploma courses. We were happy for this because the girls are gaining the skills they need for employment, but the costs are enormous and there are no student loans for this level. We still owe a major part of second term school fees. Hopefully, we will be able to pay them before the new school year begins. I am depending on all of you to help us out this Christmas. Please be generous. It would be wonderful if you could sponsor on e or two of our girls for $1500 a year!
When you help our students, you are helping to build peace in a world torn with conflict. You empower these girls so that they can help their own families and communities reduce poverty and disease. You increase good will and God’s grace in a broken world. Please don’t tire of being generous. You are all in our prayers every day. May God bless you!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Thank you.