Visit With Mr. Tem



A Day with Mr. Tem

Mr. Tem is a delightful man:  a lay minister and HBC (Home Based Care).  We met up with him at his Sembeti (home) where we delivered school supplies for distribution to local students and were treated to a delicious cup of milky chai.  He is concerned about several orphans in his village who live with a grandparent in poverty and are not supported in school.  We set off on foot through lush growth, past furrows of flowing water – absolutely beautiful scenery.  Our first stop was the small home of three orphans who lived with their Bibi and Babu (grandparents).  How do they all fit in this tiny home of sticks and mud?  How do they survive the rains with a corrugated roof pocked with holes?  How do they sleep in two beds with mattresses of crumpled clothes and old sheets?  How do they breathe or have healthy lungs with an indoor, open fire cooking area and no vent to outside except for the holes in the roof?   In spite of the poverty the shamba’s we saw were neat and tidy with trimmed shrubs and flowers and flowers in leftover plastic containers.

Next we visited the home of Violet, an orphan who lives with her brother and sick Bibi.  Violet is supported in school but her brother is not.  She loves school and is doing well but is frustrated by the poor quality of her science teacher and lack of equipment, asking how can she learn?  Her home was similar to the previous one with only two beds and a tiny cooking area, but she was proud of her stack of school books in a corner.

Our next stop was Sembeti Primary School where Stephanie met with the principal and a teacher to review the students she supports there.  We had several curious children peering through the door, waving and giggling as children do until a teacher moved them along.  They were so cute in their bright blue uniforms.  The principal called in three children – about 6 to 9 years old – all full orphans and each living with a Bibi in very poor circumstances and none getting support for school.  The school is trying to keep them on and feed them and through the fund Stephanie was able to provide them a school meal daily for a year.  InTanzaniachildren must pay for their schooling:  tuition, supplies, uniform, shoes, food, boarding, plus an amount to support the infrastructure of the school, repairs etc.  This is a huge amount of money for families whose income is so very low, but the only way to break the cycle is to educate.  It is both frustrating and heartbreaking to see.

We made our way back to Mr. Tem’s shamba for lunch, cooked for us by his wife Vicky, of stewed savory bananas and beef.  What a treat to have local food served to us under the shade of a tree in the garden.
















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