Greetings from Sr. Mary
Greetings from Arusha! I hope all of you are well. As I watch the news every evening, I think of you all dealing with Covid. I hear news from some of our sisters that their families are ill from the virus. I keep all of you in my prayers. At Maryknoll, we had about 10 sisters die from Covid. It was so difficult for us all.
Life is a bit quiet here at Emusoi. Our remedial students are studying hard since they will begin to take entrance exams for secondary school in October and November. All are anxious wondering if they will pass and be selected. It is difficult this year because there are a few students who would benefit from repeating the year, but the government has changed their policies and require that a student must move from primary school to secondary within 1 year. Our students are taking this remedial year after finishing primary school, so it means they must start secondary next year.
We ordinarily have 4-5 students who repeat the year and almost all of them do so much better and they do well in secondary. So, it is really a loss for these slower students. I can think of 2 good examples-Rita and Neema. Rita was the last born of her mother and she got a place at Emusoi because her older sister got married. But she had to escape from home because her father wanted to marry her off too. Rita had finished primary school, but she had not attended many classes since she was forced to herd the family’s livestock by her older brother. Sometimes, her mother would herd so Rita could go to school.
When Rita came to Emusoi, she could hardly read or write. After one year, she repeated the remedial year. Each month, she improved until she passed well at the end of the second year and got a place in Sangiti Secondary school, a good school run by Sisters. Rita passed well in Form IV and was able to go on for advanced level studies with a scholarship. Last year, she finished Form VI and received a Division II in her national exams and qualified for University. She is now finishing her first year at St. Augustine’s University studying sociology. She wants to serve her community when she finishes her degree so she can help girls fight for their rights.
Neema is another girl who found her voice at Emusoi. She joined the program in 2012 and also needed to repeat the program. At the end of the first year, her uncle teased her saying that she was wasting my money since she had to repeat the remedial year. Neema shocked her uncle by standing up and looking him straight in the eyes and telling him how much she had improved since she came to Emusoi. She said “look at me; look how smart I look. I know how to take care of myself and wash my clothes and I can read and write. I will continue to improve!”
She was determined to do better and she did. At the end of her second year, she passed to join a good secondary school and she improved each term. She passed Form IV with a Division 3 and was selected to join advanced level studies. This year, she passed her Form VI national exams with a Division II and has qualified for university. She’s applied for a student loan and wants to study to become a secondary school teacher! She wants to go back and help her community after finishing her studies and she hopes to be a role model for all those girls in the villages who are not given their rights to get an education. Without repeating the remedial year both of these girls would not be going to University!
It is because of your help that we are able to help these girls. You have given these girls a chance that they would never had had to change their lives and eventually to help their families and their communities.
Please continue to help us. Unfortunately, we have lost income from one scholarship group in the United Kingdom and from a tour company that was giving us donations according to the number of their tourist customers. This is due to Covid. Hopefully, the tourist trade will pick up now that Tanzania has said there is no more disease in the country and they are welcoming tourists. But we are going to have to reduce the number of students we accept this year to reduce costs. When we accept a student for our remedial program, we make a commitment to support her for at least 7 years. This is a big commitment and we depend on you all for help to carry it out.
I thank you all again and please know that you are all remembered in our daily prayers.
PS: If there are any of you who get this newsletter by mail and you have an email address, could you let me know your address. That way, I can send it electronically and save on postage and printing costs. Thank you!