Annual Visit To Tanzania
I should begin with informing you of one major change that has taken place across schools where we sponsor students. Each school is managed by the Ministry of Health. Until recently, students living in a dormitory were provided with meals. Effective fall of 2015, the Ministry of Health no longer provides food for students as part of the tuition package– students are now required to purchase their own food, one meal at the time. School fees have been reduced somewhat, but not nearly enough to compensate for the cost of purchasing individual meals. As a result (and effective fall 2015), TNSP provides sponsored students with a meal allowance. Certain other fees have also been increased, impacting the overall cost of supporting an individual student.
Now to tell you a bit about a new student we have met…
In Moshi, we started sponsoring a young Maasai woman by the name of Seraphina, who arrived at the school in the fall with no money. What little she brought was carried in a grain sack. Her parents are peasant farmers on a very small plot of land. Since her arrival at KCMC School of Nursing, other students have provided her with small items such as soap, a sheet, etc. She had also made an arrangement with a vendor on campus, whereby she is given leftover food.
Shortly after my arrival, Lilian (one of the tutors) and I spoke to Seraphina to determine her needs. She was very shy and soft spoken, reflective of the traditional role of women in rural Maasai society. The next day we met again with Seraphina and agreed to backdate her sponsorship to her first year of studies, although sponsorship normally starts in the second year. We also made an extensive list of items she needed such as soap, towels, sheets, socks, school supplies, etc. We asked Prighet (a third year student) to be her “big sister” and provided sufficient money to purchase what was needed. I will see Seraphina again on my return to Moshi.
During my stay in Moshi, I made a trip to Rombo (in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro). The foothills are very fertile and heavily settled. Most of the families are peasant farmers on very small farms– typically one to two acres. We visited a health center where Royce (a sponsored graduate) is employed. She gave us a tour and told us about malaria season, during which two people frequently share a bed.
Before leaving Moshi, we enjoyed our annual student dinner– as usual, the majority of students ordered fried chicken and french fries. After dinner, we gave out door prizes and small gifts, including scarves and jewelry:
For this dinner I arranged for a speaker, Romana Olomi to join us. Romana is an RN and social worker and the founder of three non-profits. The most recent is the Minjeni Woman’s Group, which celebrated its 10th anniversary. Minjeni serves a rural area (Romana’s birthplace), focusing on economic empowerment. I asked Romana to speak to the students about how and why she started Minjeni. The thrust of her talk was to teach the students that they they also can give back to their communities, following their graduation.
More news from Tanzania to follow soon!
As always, we want to thank you for your support of the Tanzania Nursing Scholarship Program. Please be assured that the young ladies who benefit from your generosity are very appreciative.