Greetings from Sr. Mary
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I am writing to greet you in this holiday season and to thank you for your support and to beg you to continue helping us.
2020 has been a strange and difficult year. People all over the world have suffered with the Corona virus. We have experienced the death of loved ones; others have lost their jobs. We have experienced and still experience lock downs and are unable to be with friends and family. I don’t know how you will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There is some good news with the progress with vaccines, but the world is still faced with the monumental task of distribution and administering them. We here in Tanzania and in other parts of Africa have remained relatively safe from the virus and after dealing with the first cases and the closing of schools, now life has returned to normal. The country is suffering from the effects of the lack of tourist trade and this has also affected us with decreasing our income from local sources and from the contributions of parents.
This week the Form II students are closing school as they just have finished their National exams. All our presecondary students have finished their entrance exams and they all have been placed in different schools. They are now beginning to study Form I class work to prepare them for next year.
Our girls going to colleges and even to University are beginning classes this week. The girls going to University are anxiously awaiting to see if they have been granted student loans. We are also waiting to see the results of the Primary school national exams in order to confirm our selection of next year’s new intake.
Unfortunately, due to our strained resources, we have had to cut our intake in half. If we select a girl, we commit ourselves to educating her for at least 7 years and we do not want to accept more students than we can manage to support in school. We have also had to limit who we can continue with after the girls finish Form IV. At this point, girls can go to advanced level studies or diploma colleges. We can afford to pay for advanced level schools, but only a few colleges. It’s sad that we cannot support more girls in college taking professional courses, but our sources of income have really decreased.
So, I am coming to all of you begging for your help and generosity. We are moving toward the holiday season. It’s a time to take stock and to remember how good God has been to us, even in the midst of the pandemic. It is the time to give back if you can and share what you have with others who are less fortunate than you are. I marvel when I see our girls grow and develop, becoming self-confident and assured in their new professions. They want to go back to their villages and help their families and communities.
I see girls who came to us 7 or 8 years ago, unable to read and write and now they are on their way to University. Other girls who have finished their diploma courses are now nurses or clinical officers, agricultural extension workers and even environmental scientists. And all this is happening because of your help and support. We could not go on without you!
So, I beg you in this blessed season to open your hearts and hands and be generous. We need your help so much. You and your family are in our prayers every day. Blessings in this Christmas season and joy, peace and health in the New Year!
Sr. Mary Vertucci
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!