Greetings from Sr. Mary
Greetings from Emusoi! I am writing to thank you for your July donation to Emusoi. It will be very helpful to us as we pay the school fees for our students for this second term. Second term is the time for National Exams for the 2nd and 4th year students. Schools like to have the fees early in the term before exams begin. Now, because of your generosity, we can do that.Greetings from Emusoi! I am writing to thank you for your July donation to Emusoi. It will be very helpful to us as we pay the school fees for our students for this second term. Second term is the time for National Exams for the 2nd and 4th year students. Schools like to have the fees early in the term before exams begin. Now, because of your generosity, we can do that.
Another expense which is hard to predict is medical care. Here at Emusoi, we have a first aid room where we can give the girls over-the-counter medications for headaches, scrapes, colds, etc. However, if girls suffer from chest congestion and have trouble breathing, we bring them to the doctors as many times girls will suffer from pneumonia. Our cold season is continuing and often days are chilly and damp, so chest infections abound.
There are other girls who have more serious conditions. One girl, Maria, had a brain operation when she was in primary school. She has to take medicine everyday to ward off convulsions. Recently, she began to have spells when she would faint. After contacting her father to get more information about her health, we realized that she had not had a check-up in a long time. We sent her and her father to Dar es Salaam to where she first had her operation. They were surprised that she hadn’t returned earlier for a check-up. The dosage of medication that she was using was for a smaller child and now she had grown and needed more. Since she has begun her new dosage, she no longer has problems. However, her father would not have been able to afford to take her to Dar by himself.
Emusoi shared the costs of the trip and the stay in Dar. Maria’s father wants to help her and he is concerned, but he has other children whom he supports. He is a Church worker and receives no salary. He begged help from his relatives and the Church to help Maria.
Another girl, Neema, began to have health problems since she came to Emusoi in January. She had swollen glands in her throat. She went to the doctor and was given antibiotics thinking she had an infection. But the swellings remained. We brought her to another hospital and they referred her to an ENT specialist. This doctor said it could be cancer or maybe TB and said she needed a biopsy. She had the biopsy and her specimen was sent to Nairobi for processing. It took weeks before we got the results and we were happy to learn that she had TB, which can be treated rather than cancer.
Neema has been on medication now since she was diagnosed and the swellings have disappeared. I am so happy to see her now, smiling, no longer wearing a scarf and hat, covering her lumps. She is feeling well, even though the strong medicine is giving her heartburn. She just had a check-up and her medicine was changed to a less strong kind as she is proceeding well with her treatment.
We had contacted her family and her father had come to see her when we were struggling to find out what was ailing her. He was a bit taken aback by her weakened condition and we informed him as soon as we received her diagnosis. After that we didn’t hear from him. Just last week our students went on a study tour to Olduvai Gorge Museum to learn about human evolution. Neema’s family is from the area and her father came to greet us and Neema. When we asked him why he hadn’t been in touch since Neema’s diagnosis, he stammered a bit saying the family had been very busy, but we knew that he was afraid to ask about her progress; he was afraid to hear that she was very sick. He was delighted to see how well Neema was and he even found a few shillings to give her as pocket money!
Last week, we were asked by the Sisters running one of the schools where our students study to come for a conference about the health of one of our first year students. The Sisters said that it had been discovered that this girl was HIV+. The girl did not know her condition and we were asked to go to meet together with the girl, the doctor and the Sisters. She needed to get counseling before she could be told about her condition and we had to plan how we could help her. Fortunately, the sisters had 3-4 girls in their school who were HIV+ and they had worked out procedures for helping them.
Our matron went to the school and spent the day with the Sisters and the girl. They gently explained her situation and counseled her. She will begin taking medicine this week. We tried to contact her mother so she would come with us to the school, but she said she was unable to come. We were willing to pay her bus fare (she does live far away from Arusha and she is a widow), but we wanted her to come so we all could be a support for her daughter. We suspect that the mother knows the girl’s condition. We think she was born HIV+. Her father is deceased and he had died 2 years after our student was born. We try to involve the parents when their daughters are seriously ill, even though we are the ones who pay for the treatments.
We are only able to help these girls because of your generosity. Your donations help to pay school fees, bus fare, personal and school needs, and medical care. You help change a girl’s life by giving her the chance of education, but you also save girls’ lives by giving them the chance to go to hospital to be examined and treated when they are very ill. In most cases, their families would not have been able to do this. We thank you so much for your help and support. 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 for the link. 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.