Greetings from Sr. Mary
Greetings from Arusha. I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to thank you for your generous donations made in December for Emusoi. I’m sorry that I am late in thank you but we are late in getting notice of the gifts due to the work of closing the books at the en of the year. But most of all, January and February are our busiest months as we get girls off to begin the new school year.
We prepared 67 girls for Form I and brought them to all their schools. And then we sent off over 200 girls returning to school and accepted 51 pre-secondary students to begin their course. They are now busy at work; they are very serious and thrilled to be learning and preparing for secondary school.
Last year a few girls finished vocational schools. They were very lucky to get jobs in tourist hotels near the game parks in Arusha. Five girls are now working in the hotels in the kitchen, in housekeeping, at the front desk and one is even helping out on the farm which raises meat and produce for the hotels! The girls love their work and they live on the hotel grounds, get meals and get a suitable salary.
In Tanzania, these days, the government has become very strict with regulating vocational colleges. All these colleges have to register their courses and be uniform in student qualifications for the courses. In the past even students with very poor passes could get a chance to study and then get employment. But now, all places of work must demand a proper certificate before employing people. A number of our girls got caught by these new regulations and they finished courses and cannot get work. However, two of our girls have now been hired by a local factory that is making cheese and yoghurt. These girls studied teaching and nursing, but now they are making cheese!
They are happy to be working and learning new skills. Hopefully other girl will also get work. However, two other girls are now self-employed. Timanoi finished her vocational course last December. She studied tailoring and cooking, but prefers to sew. We were able to get her a sewing machine and now she is working with Agnes. Agnes is another one of our graduates who has received sewing training. She was helped by another group and they bought her a machine. Agnes and Timanoi have teamed up together and they are now sewing at Emusoi. They sewed uniforms for 34 students; some needing 4 skirts each! Now they are sewing skirts and house dresses for our pre-secondary students.
Agnes is an orphan and she has a child. She is trying to build up some capital so that she can build a small house on a tiny plot of land in Longido town. There she can set up a shop, sew and take care of her younger siblings and her child. Perhaps Timanoi can set up shop with her. Timanoi was to help her mother whom she hasn’t seen in over 4 years when she was rescued from an abusive husband. She wants to buy her mother food since our area is experiencing drought and her mother has nothing. The price of food is very high if it is available. Her mother goes to the market once a week and begs food from relatives and friends. We are trying to arrange a trip to take Timanoi to see her mother, but it is difficult because she is not sure where she is since she has moved since Timanoi’s father died a few years ago.
After Timanoi and Agnes finish sewing the uniforms, Timanoi will apprentice with a tailor to learn how to sew different styles. Agnes will study for 6 moths supported by her sponsors to learn how to sew bags and other things to sell to tourists. She already knows how to sew some bags and laptop bags and she has een doing beadwork for sale and working with a women’s group in her home village. She supervised their work and helps them with marketing.
Agnes and Timanoi are good advertisements for vocational schools. Many girls seem themselves as second-class students if they fail to perform well in secondary school and they move to vocational schools. But seeing how well Agnes and Timanoi are doing and that they are actually earning money has changed the ideas of many. Girls are always there at the sewing room and they beg the girls to teach them how to sew the bags and other clothes. Timanoi also repairs all the girls’ clothing. We are very happy to have them with us and they are great helps.
Your contributions give us the ability to help these girls in so many different ways. Just seeing how these girls have grown and become self-confident and very proud of their work gives me such a sense of fulfillment. All the girls do not have to become teachers or doctors or nurses or lawyers to succeed; some are becoming wonderful cooks and tailors and cheese-makers! They thank you and I thank you for all your help. May God bless you all!
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.
EMAIL ADDRESSES: If any of you would like to receive this newsletter by email, please send me your address. The cost of postage to the USA is very expensive!