Still More Notes From The Field…

Dear Friends,

Since my last newsletter, I have been to Mbeya, Tukuyu and Dar es Salaam.



I travelled by bus directly to Mbeya and continued to Tukuyu, which is close to the Malawi border. At the Tukuyu School of Nursing I delivered some items that had been donated by the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing—educational materials, blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes.


Photo: School principal Nolasca (R) and tutor Sarah (L) inspecting gifts to the school

I enjoyed meeting the sponsored students, particularly those who are graduating at the end of March—they were all smiles, grateful for their sponsorship and each looking forward to a career as a registered nurse (assuming they passed the national examination).

I reviewed many student files while in Mbeya and had difficulty winnowing the list down to seven students. I started by recording key information for each student into various categories into an Excel spreadsheet. I then went back and selected the neediest students. I reviewed the selected student profiles with Nolasca and Sarah, at which point I arranged to meet with the selected students as a group. I talked to them about the sponsorship program and ask them to complete an application form. I then met with each individual student for an interview and ask them in detail about their family situation (most of which I was already aware of):
  • The farm: (usually 1-2 acres), what is raised, what is sold and how is it sold. Typically, peasant families sell small quantities of produce by the roadside for money to cover clothing, school fees and other needs.
  • The family: frequently many children, we try to focus on students who do not have older siblings who are working.
  • The home: number of rooms, concrete floor or dirt floor, composition of the walls (mud bricks, baked bricks or woven branches filled with mud), and the composition of the roof (corrugated metal or dried grasses)
  • School fees: how secondary school fees were paid for both the student and their siblings. We talk about which of their siblings were selected for education and which never went to school or only went through primary school.
During my stay in Tukuyu I backtracked for one day to Mbeya, followed the process outlined above and selected two students for sponsorship.
I held a dinner for the sponsored students from both Tukuyu and Mbeya at the place I stayed at in Tukuyu. No surprise – chicken and french fries and soda. I arranged for the four sponsored Mbeya students to travel to Tukuyu and stay in the student dormitory overnight. Including the four students from Mbeya, we had twenty-six students plus a principal at the dinner! I had door prizes (medical dictionaries, flash drives and T-shirts) and an assortment of scarves from which each student could make a selection.


Photo: Tukuyu students graduating April 2016
Photo: Students thoroughly enjoying dinner
Photo: Siti with her door prize
Photo: One of many scarves selected

Following these events, two of the students read a letter of appreciation for their sponsorship.

Photo: Students reading letter of appreciation

Finally, a group photo with twenty-six students and Nolasca Mtega, principal:

Photo: All Tukuyu and Mbeya sponsored students

Next is my visit to Dar es Salaam and return to Moshi. This will be the subject of my next letter.

Thank you again for your support of the sponsored students.