Greetings from Sr. Mary

My Dear Friends,

Greetings from Tanzania.  I hope you are all well.  I am writing  to send you my mid-year appeal and to give you the latest news of Emusoi.  I also want to thank you for the support you have given us and I beg you to continue to be generous to us.

This year we succeeded in welcoming 15 young women to our pre-secondary program.  These are girls who finished primary school but failed their national exams. Girls who have passed their exams must go directly to secondary school, according to new government policies.  However, we know that most of these girls would benefit from our year’ remedial program, but we can’t give it to them.  Last year, we gave these girls and intensive 3-month pre-secondary course to prepare them for boarding school and hopefully that has helped.

However, we are free to help the “failures”; some of whom come to us unable to read or write.  Our teachers have the challenge of getting them ready for secondary school in one year!  The girls are improving and hopefully all will get places in schools in January 2023!

Sixteen of our Form VI students are now taking their final exams and we hope all will perform well and qualify for University in October.  This year we have 9 girls finishing diploma courses in colleges in August: 4 secondary school teachers, 2 nurses, one in community development, one in livestock production and another in microfinance management.   We hope all will quickly get employment after completing school.

40 girls who finished secondary school last November with good exam results have qualified to join advanced level studies and now waiting for government selections.  They will be assigned to schools all over Tanzania and should begin classes in July or August.

I feel such a sense of accomplishment as I see these girls who come to us shy and scared and lacking self-confidence grow into mature women with skills to help their communities and families.  We are so proud of them!

In Easter week, I had a wonderful surprise.  I heard a small voice greeting me at the door of my office.  It was our former student Namwati whom I hadn’t seen for a number of years. Namwati joined Emusoi in 2010 for the pre-secondary program.  She did well in the program and joined Sangiti Secondary School in 2011.  In 2014, when she was in her last year of school, she fell sick.  It took a while to find out that she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.                                                                                      

I appealed to our donors for help for her treatment.  She had to spend 6 months at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam for chemotherapy.  Many generous people responded to my plea and she underwent treatment and went into remission.  She then repeated her last year of school and finished her exams in 2015.  Her parents were so thankful to us because they said we saved her life.  If she had been at home, they knew she would never have been diagnosed and she would have eventually died from the cancer.

The next year she joined a diploma course for clinical officer training.  In her second year, she ran into difficulty and failed some courses, causing her to repeat the year.  According to our Emusoi policy when this happens, a student loses their sponsorship.  Namwati knew our policy and she begged the school administration to help her.  They agreed but we were never able to get a straight story from them.  We tried to contact the school, but were unsuccessful. We lost contact with Namwati until this day when she appeared at my office door!

I felt that I was seeing a person risen from the dead.  I had had a sore spot in my heart when ever I thought of Namwati and wondered where she was and how she was. She told us that her college had been closed by the government because it was not officially registered and she was sent with other students to another college to finish her course.  She had begged help from an NGO in her home area and they supported her.  She was afraid to come to us because she had failed.  She finished her course and was volunteering in a local clinic, but now she was applying to the Ministry of Health to work in a local health center.  She had come to Emusoi to get her school certificates that were in her file.  I was so glad to see her.  I felt as if the Prodigal daughter had returned. She is well and looking healthy and was glowing!

This is how your generosity is being used to save people’s lives and to serve these communities. We can only keep going because of your donations. Right now, we have to prepare all those 40 girls who did so well in their exams to continue in school.  It will cost $800 for each one to buy uniforms, pay school fees, buy a mattress, sheets, shoes, hoes, blankets, books, school supplies, etc. and then bus fare to get to their school.  We also need to buy food for the next year since it will be harvest time in August when grains are at their lowest price. Our two faithful vehicles need tires, and some major repairs.  One has been with us since we began in 1999! We still haven’t finished paying the school fees for first term and then in August, we need to pay the fees for second term! We depend on your help to give these young women a chance to change their lives.  Please continue to be generous and keep us in your prayers.  We and the students pray for you all every day.

With peace,

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; use this link: https://www.maryknollsisters.org/support-us/donate-now/ Write “Emusoi Center/Sr. Mary Vertucci” in comment/intention field.  If any of you would like to receive this newsletter by email, just write me at emusoicenter@gmail.com and let me know.  Thank you.

BREAKING NEWS!! The Advanced level selections were announced today and 35 of our students have been selected for Form V.  The other 5 girls were chosen for diploma courses in colleges!!  A first in Emusoi history.  We have never had this number going on to higher studies!  They will all begin classes I mid-June.  Now we need to buy all that is needed for them.  We are depending on your generosity.