My name is Nademwa Orpuria. I was born in Ketumbeine Village in Arusha Region in 1991. I am the fourth of ten children. I began primary school in 1998. When I began school, I had my both parents, but when I reached Class three, my father died. Th
My name is Nademwa Orpuria. I was born in Ketumbeine Village in Arusha Region in 1991. I am the fourth of ten children. I began primary school in 1998. When I began school, I had my both parents, but when I reached Class three, my father died. This was in 2001. My father had 5 wives and my mother was the last one. When my father died, my mother was taken care of by the son of another wife. He was the first-born son of my father. When my mother’s livestock, that is goats together with cows, were all gone, my mother was told that she must depend only on herself to get food for her children and herself. Therefore, my mother returned to live near her father. We lived close by as neighbors, but my grandfather did not help us at all.
The thing that my mother did to get food for her family was to make beadwork and to sell it. Truly, this was hard work because it took a long time to make the beads and she got only a small amount of money for them. This income was only enough for food and not even enough to educate her children. Therefore, we lived a life of hardship at home.
The first born in our family is a girl. She went to primary school and when she finished she was married off. The second born did not even go to primary school. The third born, a boy, went to primary school and when he was in Class 7, he ran away from school. I am the fourth born and when I finished Primary school in 2004, I stayed at home to wait for my results. When they were announced, I saw that I passed but I was told that there was no place in school for me. I stayed one year at home that was 2005. At the end of this year, a young man came and asked to marry me. My mother agreed.
At this time, I had gone to see a young man of our clan, whose name is Yohanna Raphael. I told him to look for a school for me. By good luck, he got a place for me at Emusoi Centre. When he got this place, he came to tell me and I agreed to it. I told him that I would go to study. When he went to tell my relatives that he had a place for me, they tricked him and told him that I was pregnant because they did not want me to study but they wanted me to get married. My mother, at first, wanted me to study, but then she received advice from my relatives, convincing her that I shouldn’t study, but that I should marry. So she refused to give me permission to study. When I heard this, I just kept quiet because I wasn’t able to do anything else.
When Yohanna saw this, he went to our village leaders and told them that they should help him take me and send me to school. At this time, I was taken by force by the leaders and brought to school. I came to join Pre-Form I at Emusoi in 2006. When I returned to school for holidays, my relatives still didn’t want me to study, but by now my mother had agreed that I study.
Now, I no longer have trouble when I go home. I can be there in peace. Before, my relatives saw me as a bad person because I agreed to study. They said bad things about me. I was seen as a disobedient child who would not listen to the advice of her elders.
But I thank God because now I can talk with them well, as friends. On my part, I love to study and I ask God to help me study with all my energy without missing any of my studies so that in the future I will have a good life.
When I finish my studies, I want to help other girls like myself whose parents don’t know the meaning and value of education and who do not have the means to educate their children so that they can have development like other people. I ask God to help me make my hopes a reality.
Written by Nademwa Orpuria, July 2007
Translated by Sr. Mary Vertucci, 20 July 2007