Taking the long way around – more adventures in Tanzania
In our last newsletter I told you about the Tanzania Nursing Scholarship Program (TNSP), what we do and how we select students for sponsorship. We strongly believe in being personally involved in selecting students to ensure that your donations are well spent. For this reason, we visit Tanzania at least once per year.
My most recent travel to Tanzania began with a short visit to Dubai to see our daughter, Heather. She and her fiancé then accompanied me to Tanzania. We enjoyed our first week spending time in Moshi (from where we could see Mount Kilimanjaro) and a short wildlife safari to two national parks. After a week, Heather and her fiancé returned to Dubai and I started my travel in Tanzania.
My first stop was in Kasulu. In 2016 I wrote a story about Gertrude in a newsletter. Gertrude was a sponsored student who graduated in 2015. She and her baby died in childbirth the following year. In November 2016 my daughter Heather and I visited her family and decided that the best way to help was to support Gertrude’s younger sister, Jacqueline, to retake her secondary education in order to prepare for further studies. She has since been at a private boarding school and started her last year of O-level studies. If she does well, she will be eligible to continue studies for a profession such as nursing. As a side note, her support does not come from the TNSP.
I then went on to visit three diploma programs where we currently sponsor students. These are located in Moshi, Mbeya and Tukuyu. At each of these schools I was very happy to see students whom we had started sponsoring in prior years. I met with staff at each of the schools, interviewed students in Mbeya and Moshi for sponsorship and elected to support fifteen students. At each stop I had dinner with the sponsored students, consisting of the usual fried chicken and chips, a salad and fruit juices. Following dinner, we had a drawing for door prizes including shawls, USB memory drives and nurses’ pocket dictionaries. USB sticks have become a very popular item!
I also visited a new school in Mbozi, about an hour southwest of Mbeya, on the road to Zambia. The school is located at Mbozi Mission which appears to have been the population center of the area during the German colonial period. I was contacted by one of the students who we had sponsored at KCMC, Rachel Jeremiah. Rachel graduated in 2015. She had been working at the KCMC Hospital as a nurse since graduation and recently asked to be transferred to a teaching position. I very much enjoyed my visit to the school and met with members of the staff to explain how TNSP’s sponsorship program operates.
Rachel also took me to several local attractions: one of the world’s largest iron meteorites and the Moravian Mission Church. The Moravian presence in Tanzania started during the German colonial period. The Moravian Church presence in Mbozi comprises the church and related buildings, a hospital and an orphanage. In the company of Rachel and one other instructor, I met the current pastor, toured the church building and learned about its history. The original church was built a few years prior to 1900. Additions were made in later years.
I also visited Rachel’s home and met her two children and her aunt and uncle.
I was very happy to see a graduate of the TNSP sponsorship program working in the community, teaching nursing students. I expect that we will return to Mbozi during our next visit to Tanzania. One of the most rewarding aspects of visiting Tanzania is meeting young women who received sponsorship from TNSP and graduated. I learn what they are doing and how the sponsorship has helped them and their families.
During this trip I also visited two university-level nursing programs – St. John’s University in Dodoma and Muhimbili University in Dar es Salaam. The purpose of these visits was to explore possible collaboration with a US nursing program.
When I returned to Moshi I learned that Juliet Chugulu, the retired principal of the KCMC School of Nursing, had died that night. Juliet was a wonderful woman and friend to those of us at TNSP and to her many students. Whenever I was in Moshi she would remind me that it was my second home. To the girls at the school, she was their mama and always ready to talk to them about any personal or academic problems. In 2006, Linda and I invited her to visit us in the USA for a month. She met many people in the Western Massachusetts area, visiting various health facilities and community service organizations. We will miss her dearly.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for your support of TNSP. I know the students and their families are very appreciative of the sponsorship. It makes a big difference in their lives and opens windows of opportunity.
Tony van Werkhooven, Treasurer