Before heading back to Canada in November we had stopped in Moshi, a lovely drive from Tarangire National Park. While sitting out back on the porch at Martha Msuya’s house I watched as the children had a game of soccer. A young woman and her daughter were walking up the lane, I greeted them in Kiswahili and Martha introduced us to Catherine and her 5 year old daughter, Elizabeth. I had asked if she was on her way home from school, and sadly learned that due to lack of money Elizabeth does not attend school. Martha showed me pictures of Elizabeth when she had visited and was coloring with crayons for the first time; she was great at staying within the lines!
Later that evening I kept thinking about the children who do not have the privilege of attending school. I believe that all children, no matter the country, should somehow be given the opportunity to go to school. We discussed the idea of sponsoring Elizabeth for school, providing a life changing opportunity for her. We decided that we would see that she started school in 2013 and would continue supporting her until she graduates school. We asked Martha if she knew of any schools in the neighbourhood that Elizabeth could attend. Right away she agreed to look into options for schools for us and get back to us.
We travelled along our way, from Moshi to Namanga, crossed the border into Kenya and headed to Nairobi to enjoy our long awaited dinner at Trattoria Restaurant. Early the next morning we boarded the Oxygen bus en-route to Mombassa. We opted for the journey by bus versus flying to take in the Kenyan country side. After 8 hours and just a few traffic jams, ( a bonus of taking the bus on a Sunday) we arrived into busy Mobassa where our car was waiting to take us to the small fishing village of Kilifi; one hour north of Mombassa, along the beautiful Indian Ocean coastline. It was just before nine when we checked into Kilifi Bay Beach Resort and enjoyed the sounds of waves crashing onto the beach, the oceanfront rooms are the best choice! I was excited to see what things looked like in the day light, check out and explore the town and hit the beautiful turquoise waters.
A walk on warm white sands in Kilifi was a great start to the day; the crystal clear waters were so refreshing and relaxing after spending months in the woods. We enjoyed rides along the bougainvillea lined roads in our Tuk Tuk, a very nice way to explore Kilifi. The beaches and Kilifi Bay provide hours of adventure, beauty and "Kodak moments" which I will share in future blog posts. Below are some of my favourite pictures from our visit to Kilifi.
Nine nights passed quickly and before we knew it we were on our way back to Nairobi to depart for a 5 week holiday to the East Coast of Canada. I was thrilled when I received an email from Martha, letting us know that she had gone with Catherine (Elizabeth’s mother) to check out some schools in their neighbourhood. She explained how they met with the principal of the school and was given a tour of the school grounds, it was a very nice option for Elizabeth and the yearly fees are only $200 Canadian Dollars. The English speaking Catholic school teaches children from the ages of 3-6, has an enrollment of 94 students and employs 6 teachers, school hours are from 7-12am. Uniforms are also provided at the school for a small additional fee. The children have a nice sized playground to run and play and have food and clean water to drink. I was so happy to learn that Elizabeth would be attending such a great place and replied right away saying "yes please, do what needs to be done to get her enrolled for the new year". I was so thankful to have Martha’s help and support to make this opportunity possible.
The next email from Martha shared that she had filled out the forms for schooling, paid the cost for the uniform and school picture and as soon as we were ready we could send along the payment for the tuition. We jumped online and sent via Western Union the $300,000 Tanzanian Shillings ($200 CAD) which Martha took with Catherine and Elizabeth to her new school. It made me so happy to be able to help out a young child. This inspired me to want to help more children, and help others looking to give back and provide a life changing opportunity for children in less fortunate situations. We let Martha know that if she was willing we would like to expand the number of children we could possibly help. She mentioned that she knew of another woman in her neighbourhood that was unable to send her son Noel to school. Ironically several days later she then noticed a young girl hanging around her house with her younger brother and even younger cousin. In a short time she learned that they too were neighbours and Julianna and Lucas have never attended school.
Our intentions where set and we let Martha know that we would find enough donations or sponsors to cover the costs for all three children; so they could also start for January 2013. Through generous and kind support from family and friends in Nova Scotia I was happy to learn that we had received enough to cover a full year for Noel in an English speaking Catholic school, as well, the reaming funds would be sufficient to cover the costs for Julianna and Lucas to attend a local school. The cost for a well-run local school in Moshi is only $40 Canadian dollars a year. Our goal is to have them attend a local school for their first two years and then have them attend English speaking school like Noel and Elizabeth.
We are ever thankful for those who have donated funds to help make this possible and very grateful to Martha for finding well run, clean and healthy environments for the children as they learn and grow. With continued support our intent is to continue to grow this project and help as many children as possible. As for the children currently in the program, we wish to have the fund support their education in years to come. Donations and sponsorship can be made online or in person should you be planning a trip to Tanzania. A chance to visit the children at their schools is a wonderful way to see your kindness in action. In March I will be visiting all of the children at their schools in Moshi, please follow TemboTours.com for updates on the children’s progress and story.