Joel and Nancy Mmary began school January 2014, thanks to kind donations from residents in Nova Scotia, Canada. We had already arranged that Martha and Josie would visit the last two schools two weeks after I left. Joel (13 yrs) and Nancy (14 yrs) attend different schools, in quite different locations!
On the Wednesday, March 21st, Martha and I walked to Joel’s school, Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind and Non-Blind. Joel is in class 7A and attends class with 62 students. The school also has classes for the blind and albino, whose eyesight is often poor. His school was about a 25 minute walk from the house in Majengo, up a few hills, through the beautiful fields where friendly locals live and work. We asked children on their way home for lunch for the last few directions, there were many roads that twisted and turned to reach the school. We met with a staff member at the gate of the school who invited us in and took us to meet the head teacher. Joel was on his lunch break and had just finished eating, the headmaster sent a student to find Joel. While we waited Martha helped me interpret some of the school rules that were posted on the side of the building.
Joel came to meet Martha and me and took us to see his classmates of 7A. He showed me his work books and I noticed the marks were very good; his teacher let us know he was doing very well and is one of the top in his class.
While we were walking around the grounds I noticed that the school has a buddy system in place for the blind students, age was not a factor nor was the color of the skin. It was nice to see the albino children happy and feeling safe and accepted. I sadly learned of cruel behaviors that take place in Tanzania with albinos. As I’m keeping this a happy piece I will leave it up to you to do your own research on the topic. On the way out we met with an older gentleman, the IT teacher for the blind students, he himself was blind. We explained the purpose of our visit and Martha spoke a few words in Swahili with him. He was so grateful for what we and the sponsors are doing for the children of Moshi.
The next day, March 21st, we left around 9:00 am to head to Nancy’s school. Just a short drive to a long dirt road, all uphill, into the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro we went. On our way up the hills to the school we stopped to pick up Seledina, Nancy and Joel’s mother, she was joining us for the visit. We passed by many locals tending to their crops which were coming up quite nicely now that the rains had started. 7 km up the hill (which Nancy walks everyday) we arrived at Mbokomu Secondary School. Nancy attends Form 2 which is equivalent to grade 10 in North America. Her class consists of 108 students, 62 girls and 46 boys. The school is spread out in two locations, the second location just a 100 yards up the hill. Form 2 and 4 (grade 10 &12) are the first location and form 1 & 3 (9 & 11) are at the second location.
The entire school was writing an exam when we arrived. As the classes are so large some of the students were lined up outside of the class for the testing period, one was Nancy. She was finished her exam but stat quietly until the time was up. This was the rule for the entire school; no one gets up until the test has been dismissed.
The school’s head teacher gave us a tour of the school while the students finished their exam. As I walked around I thought of all of the schools in Nova Scotia that have recently been deemed “unfit learning facilities”. Sound structures unnecessarily being demolished and super sized schools being built in their place. The facilities and supplies that the students in Moshi learn from are much less than those of Canadian schools, however the material they are learning is what is important, and this is equivalent. These young adults are happy and enjoy attending school and are working very hard.
I spoke with both mamas who were making lunch in the kitchen; they kindly let me take some pictures of them at work, chapatis, beans and cabbage were on the menu for the day.
We made our way to see the other classes who were now finished the exam. Excitement was in the air as the students were busy in discussion about how they all did on the exam and were checking their notes together. It reminded me of the days of high school were we’d convene after the test to check to see who answered what to each question.
The head teacher pointed out the school bell as we arrived back at Nancy’s class, they were now finished the exam. I met with Nancy and took a few photos and expressed some words of encouragement to her, she thanked me for helping find funds for her school fees. We said our good byes and headed back down the mountain.
This concluded my visits to the schools for this trip to Moshi. In July I will make a short visit to Moshi to drop off a computer to Langoni School. I am hoping to have more than one computer to drop off to them. Also, I will visit the children again in October to follow up with all of them and see how they have progressed. It will give me the opportunity to learn if they will be moving on to the next grade for 2014, something I am positive will happen!
I continue to pray for donations which will help fund all of the children for school fees for the coming years. Should you wish to learn more about how you can help children in Moshi, TZ - please send me an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit TemboTours.com Sponsorship page to view each child and their photos - For even more photos check our YouTube video of the Rudisha Foundation School Visits.