Greetings from Sr. Mary
Greetings from Tanzania. I hope you all are well. Life is a bit uncertain these days in this time of the Corona virus. We listen to the news every day to hear the latest updates, praying for all who are infected. May you all stay well!
I am writing to thank you for your generous gifts for Emusoi given in January. Your donations came just as we were sending out all our new students to begin secondary school and accepting the new pre-secondary students. The new class has 40 students and they are now hard at work revising all they were supposed to have been taught in primary school. The girls are very eager to learn and it is a joy to teach them!
The students had their first round of monthly tests last week and the results were not so good. But we realize that the students have had a lot of adjusting to do in the past month. Many of the students had never been outside their home villages. They are adjusting to new diets, new schedules and new ways of doing things. We spoke to them all after we received their results, giving advice on how to study and encouraging them to do better next month. Hopefully, they listened well and will improve in the next set of tests.
Because of your donations, we have been able to begin to pay the first term school fees. Please keep up your generosity so we will be able to finish payments before Easter break. Many of our girls in colleges are now in the middle of field work. Some stay at Emusoi and go off to work every day. The girls look so grown up and professional as they go off to their various work stations. Some of them will be finishing their courses in August, so they are hoping that they may be hired in some of their field placements.
One of our students, Helena, finished teacher training last year. She is now a chemistry and biology teacher for secondary school. The government will post her to teaching position, but it is not known when. Helena has been applying to nearby schools asking to volunteer. If a person volunteers, she will be paid a small stipend, but many schools have great need of teachers (especially science teachers), but they have little funds from which to pay them.
We happened to mention Helena’s case to one of the Regional Education officers when he was visiting Emusoi and he asked why she didn’t try the school closest to Emusoi. We said she had but didn’t get a place. He said he would put in a good word with the Headmaster and she is now teaching many class periods! Hopefully, the school will like her a lot and they will request the Ministry of Education to post her there permanently.
A week ago, another one of our students, Neema, came to greet us. Neema is in her last year of University studying to be a science teacher for secondary schools. Neema struggled hard to get to go to school, asking help from the village and ward officers when her family tried to force her to get married after she finished primary school and then again after finishing secondary school. She was the only girl in her secondary school to pass the national exams and she was selected to join advanced level studies. A local government leader brought her to Emusoi for help and we accepted her and supported her when she began Form V in advanced level studies. She stayed at Emusoi during all her school holidays.
She finished her advanced level studies and qualified for University. Neema’s father is deceased and because of this and her other qualifications she was able to get a student loan which has supported her for 3 years in University. Neema has been on teaching practice in a school near Emusoi and she stopped by to greet us before she returned to her studies. It was so nice to see her and to hear how she is doing. I am always so happy to see our graduates who are or who will soon be teachers. They are role models for our girls.
I thank you all for your continuing support and interest in our students. They thank you and I thank you so much. May God bless you all in this holy season of Lent.
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.