March 19th we had made plans to visit Noel at his school and then head to Julianna’s school. Both schools are located just outside of Moshi near the village of Maili Sita.
Noels’ mother Hilda, Martha, Josephine and I drove to Noel’s school for noon. When we arrived at Stella Maris Primary school the children had just finished class and were playing in the playground area. As we pulled into the school yard they came running to say hi. I stepped out of the vehicle and some of the children immediately took my hand and started walking towards the school. They noticed my camera and were excited to get in the pictures.
We had a quick tour of the school and met with Noel’s kindergarten teachers. They let us know that he was doing great and on par with the rest of the students. We took a few pictures and then drove Noel and his mother home before we made our way to visit Julianna. We had a quick visit with Noels family; his younger brother who is three years old was sick and their older brother Barraka was at home taking care. Martha had brought bottle of bubbles for the younger kids and showed them how to make bubbles, they enjoyed their new toy. Noel then showed me his school work; ABC’s and numbers with lots of red check marks, he’s doing great!
Our next stop was to visit Julieth (Julianna) Costatine. Since arriving in Moshi I had learned of an unfortunate situation for both her and her brother, Lucas Costatine. When they first were introduced to the sponsorship program they were under the care of their aunt, as both of their parents have left the earth. An unexpected event took place and their aunt had to move to Dar es Salam for work. Both children have gone with different family members and for the time being no longer share the same home. I hope one day they will be reunited and live in the same home.
Juliana’s school is nestled in between the many banana fields. At ten years old she had never attended school so she has started primary school and attends grade 1. The head teacher had advised Martha when she enrolled Julianna that she would need to do extra work to catch up to her age group. Julianna stays after class and does plenty of homework every evening. We arrived at Msingi Narumu Primary School and were greeted by over a hundred students who were out on their break.
A young girl helped us and led us to meet with the teachers. Juliana’s classes were finished for the day but we had this planned as we were meeting her and her guardian Christina at her house a few roads away. The teachers let us know that Julianna was very dedicated to catching up and has been staying after class and attending Saturday classes for extra time. She gave us a tour of the school and we then made our way to visit Julianna.
Christina welcomed us into her home and had prepared an African meal of green bananas and kuku (chicken). Christina, a retired teacher herself, shared with us that Julianna is a very hard worker. She rises at 4am and does chores such as scrubbing the chicken coup, prepares her own breakfast and gets ready and heads to school for 7am. Julianna was shy but enjoyed taking some pictures and showing me her school work. I told her that she was doing very well and that it makes me happy to see how hard she is trying. I gave her a lot of encouragement to keep up the great work.
We explained that Martha would be visiting Lucas at his school in a weeks’ time. Christina expressed her deep gratitude for what we and the sponsors are doing for both Julianna and Lucas and shared this lovely card with us, it was a great way to end the visits for the day.