Notes From Tanzania 2018 (part 2)
In this letter I would like to tell you about my visit to Kasulu. The trip from Moshi to Kasulu takes two full days on the bus, with an overnight in Kahama (see the map below, Kahama is about the midpoint). At this point you may be wondering why I was traveling to Kasulu. Early in 2016, one of our graduates by the name of Gertrude Josef died in childbirth. In a prior newsletter, we shared the news of this sad event with you and also described her plans following graduation—to support her mother and her younger sister’s education. In November 2016 my daughter Heather, Tika and I traveled to Kasulu to visit Gertrude’s family, who live in a very rural area outside the town of Kasulu. We also described our findings in a different prior newsletter and what was done to assist the family.
For this visit to Kasulu, Tika was again my travel companion. Below is a photo of Tika (her full name is Tikakoi). She graduated from the Tukuyu School of Nursing in April 2016. She is Maasai, from a very rural area around Morogoro. In addition to Kiswahili and Maasai, she speaks almost fluent English. For this trip, I counted on her translation skills to keep me out of trouble and on track!
We started our day early the morning after our arrival in Kasulu. Our first stop for the day was to visit the boarding school that Jackie (Gertrude’s young sister) attends— St. Francis Xavier Secondary School. We first met with the principal of the school and the school accountant to pay the fees and pocket money for her second year. She did well in her first year, ranking 31 out of 192 students. Following our meeting with the principal, we had a short meeting with Jackie. She was smiling and happy to meet us. She told us she was happy at the school and felt good about her progress. During the term (except for a “parents’ day” and my visit) visitors are not allowed, students are not allowed to have phones or internet access and are not allowed to leave the school. This certainly makes it easier to focus on studying!
Next, we visited Jackie’s mother. She lives in a very rural area about one hour outside Kasulu. Jackie’s mother expressed her appreciation that her daughter was able to continue her education. We told her that her sponsorship would continue for the four years of O-level and then, if she wanted, she could apply for entry to a nursing program and could be considered for sponsorship (which we had also explained to Jackie).
The family has a small subsistence farm. When we visited her in 2016, I left money with her. The money was used to purchase improved corn seed and fertilizer. The corn crop looked good – tall and deep green.
On the way back to Kasulu, we came across a group of children selling mangoes. We stopped and bought three or four batches of mangoes. At the end of the day, the chef at the hotel turned the mangoes into a delicious juice.
Our next task was to visit the home of Juvines, who is a third-year student at Mirembe School of Nursing in Dodoma. I had learned that she was from the Kasulu area and she had given me instructions to find her home. Based on the instructions, we traveled about one hour from Kasulu towards the Burundi border. It was a beautiful, hilly area. It was apparent that large stretches of land had been deforested relatively recently (within ~ 20 years) and that small farms had been established on what were in places steep hillsides. Erosion was also apparent.
When we got close, we asked around and eventually found relatives who guided us to Juvines’ home. Her mother was quite excited to see us and expressed her happiness with a little dance. Quite a few relatives also showed up.
Juvines’ mother insisted on giving us a gift of avocados and pineapples, which we accepted. We walked back to where the taxi was parked with all the family members. Below, you can see a cousin carrying our gift of pineapples and avocados and an aunt carrying her young child.
Two of the 2015 TNSP-sponsored graduates of Tukuyu School of Nursing, Aisha and Anna, work near Kasulu at the Nyarugusa refugee camp. The camp has a population in excess of 50,000. We met them for dinner that evening. It was a very pleasant reunion.
The following morning at 6:00 AM, Tika and I were on the bus heading toward my next destination— Dodoma.
Now, it is time for my usual caveat: All my travel expenses, including entertaining students, etc., are my personal expenses. I mentioned in a prior paragraph that assistance was provided to Gertrude’s family, this was not done at the expense of the TNSP sponsorship program. The TNSP sponsorship program is totally focused on female students studying to become registered nurses.
As always, we want to thank you for your interest and contributions supporting young ladies toward becoming registered nurses.