School Can Be Thrilling


As Dr. Anna Nyaki says,”The village tells you everything you need to know about how people really live.”  It was Anna Nyaki  who referred Maximilian (above) for help with schooling costs given his academic potential and his mother’s illness.   It was ideal for us to have the chance to meet with Maximilian for school planning  a few times,  most importantly at his home in Komella where we were fed a meal and given a gift of  freshly laid eggs!  In fact he had already brought  a chicken as he has every year, to say thank you.  Staying connected with students, and their families by way of home visits  is the only way to know  if scholarship funding is appropriate and on target.  But it is also great honour to be invited into people’s  homes and lives.






With all this in mind we set off from Kilema Hospital one day with guide and home based care worker, Augustine, to Kilema chini or ‘ lower’ Kilema to visit the home of student Flora Riwa.  She’s been sponsored sinced 2011.  By now we knew we needed hats,  a liter of water each and biscuits or better yet , mandazis, a deep fried and highly satisfying tanzanian donut just to stay upright.  We set off down the mountain, past Kisaluni school and the school garden full of banana palms and some new seed beds.  We climbed down the ravine and crossed the awkward slatted footbridge and then followed the clay trail as it skirted around a slope edge and where we could hear waterfalls below.   I am only looking at my feet and ask Augustine how many villagers have fallen off the trail.  Three.  Despite Augustine’s stroke last year he was able to keep the pace and  climbing through  hilly terrain has likely been a benefit  in his  recovery. He looks a little older this year but every January, with smiles, we all remind each other we are getting older!  We follow red clay footpaths through numerous shambas, calling out “hodi” , a greeting   that  says ‘I am here passing through”.   Some shambas are tidy, well maintained and swept.  Some have new houses under construction made of  cinder block.  Other shambas are in disarray with crumbling huts and show signs of hard living.  It is the equivalent of neighbourhoods anywhere; diverse.


Flora’s home is somewhere in the middle, a clay and pole structure sloping mildly off vertical,  crumbling clay, chickens wandering everywhere indoor and out.   Her mother is present in a well worn kanga  ,even though our visit is prearranged, and there are two other daughters  both with babies in arms.  Flora’s father remains where I last met him 3 years, ago  in his bed with withered legs, paralyzed after  an old  house collapsed on him.  One at a time we  enter the dark room, just big enough for a small bed, to greet him.   Fiona and Dolly  check his supra pubic catheter and now healed bed sores.  He is some how transferred to Kilema hospital every two weeks for a catheter changes which costs 20,000 per visit not including transport.  We guess they carry him out  to the road where a taxi picks him up.  He shows us anti fungal ointment and rubbing alcohol and we encourage him to turn to prevent pressure sores which he well knows.  Flora’s mother tends the shamba on her own, cultivating, carrying out banana to market.  Augustine makes the point that household resources are not be produced by the father but are used by him.





Despite having both a father and mother Flora is vulnerable and only when you see the whole picture at Flora’s home does the justice of the term OVC, orphan and vulnerable children, become clear. It is not only orphan’s or AIDS orphans who are vulnerable.  There are many paths to vulnerability.  OVC is an inclusive term, all over Africa.  Of all our visits and outings in the last month perhaps the most illuminating are the visits to student homes.   






Checking condition of houses



Stephen Lyimo’s grandmother




Shade seekers

 During our  visits  we’ve met grandmothers, grandfathers, a single mother, aunts and neighbours who have taken over the care and education of children.  We visited Stephen Lyimo’s elderly grandmother and sister in upper Lehgo, an arduous Sunday afternoon hike.  We visited Deo Kundi in Kyrua who is vulnerable because of his amputation, despite having two living parents.  For our tuition project we are interested to see where the student sleeps  and lives when not at school and usually that one piece of information  sheds  light on  their circumstance.  Stephen Lyimo sleeps under the same roof as the cows we discovered.




Student Selina Mshanga


Once again thank you to everyone who contributed this year to sending children back to school!  

We continue to be amazed that requests for help are not for luxuries, comforts or the latest fad.  The requests are for schooling.   It is hard to resist.   In particular I want to thanks my fellow travellers Karen, Dolly and Fiona for partnering to send Elinora Kway back to Tanga to study Record Management.  Together they made Nora one very happy young woman.  Thrilled actually!   







Thank you Eric and Cindy and intrepid Mary Todd for Godfrey Nguma’s laptop.  And internet modem!

The following children were funded this January and we  are holding funds in reserve (4,420,000) for other students who will be completing semesters and entering new programs later in the year.


$1 can= $1,426 tanz shilling


Winifrida Charles       Standard 5  40,000

John Remson                Standard 4  40,000

Careen Ayubu               Standard  7     80,000

John Silvanus               Standard 7   40,000

Lilian Mosha                   Josiah Kibera University  yr.1  2,050,000

Stephen John Lyimo    St Augustine University   yr1  1,600,000

Happiness Shirima       Form 4     1,015,000

Edwin P Shayo               Form 2   1,000,000

Paulina H Lyimo            Form 3    800,000

Godfrey Nguma             Mt Meru University  Yr 1  1,245,000

Jonus Aloyce                   Monduli Teacher College   585,000

Vitalis Vicenti Kessy     Form1       145,000

Augustina m. mlsay     Form 6    227,000

Daniel Mshanga             Form 3    117,000

Selina Mshanga             Form 3    117,000

Goodluck Kimarro         Form2     127,000

Glory F Ngange              Form 3    105,000

Elidaima Tarimo            Form 4    181,000

Ester Lyamuya               Form 2  127,000

Germin E. Kipokola        Form 3    105,000

Emuanuel Lyimo            Form 2     127,000

Samuel Shayo                 Hospitality field work  144,000

Elinora Calisti Kway      Tanzania Public Service College                4,015,000


Thank you everyone!!








Happiness Shirima goes to Lombeta School!


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