Saying Thank You… Nashukura sana

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I think we can all agree meeting with students has been a pleasure especially for me after two years absence. I see them older, more mature, transitioning to adulthood, making decisions for themselves, advocating for their needs and progressing in their studies. Our group has been able to meet some remarkable young people who continue to push forward in an unpredictable world. Family members ailing or managing poorly, living away to study for years at a time and living off campus in hostels on the tightest of budgets.  A shared room, often a shared bed, electricity, water, food, cooker fuel, transport all accounted for. They are transitioning to adulthood and many have arrived early.  Despite hardships I will never fully understand, these students and families remain very thankful for the help that comes from Canada.  They and their families express it in so many ways often during our home visits which have been an honour.Gifts from Max’s mother…chickens and eggs

 

 

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Avelin

We feel incredibly lucky to have Avelin who has done a great job communicating with students in the last year and half and coordinating school fee payments and transfers especially to students in remote regions. I looked at every option to get to Dodoma to see Happiness, now studying medicine and needing equipment like stethoscope, fetoscope, otoscope, bp cuff, tuning fork, pen light, measuring tape and small laptop( thank you for donations.,Dr. Geoff and Dale, Midwife Beth, Hope H., Margo P. and Compassion Resource Warehouse!) but it would have been a very long trip. To see Maximilian in Iringa and deliver a small laptop for his degree studies business would be even more road time, something a bit challenging here. We looked at shipping on a bus but with valuable items Avelin volunteered to make this trip himself in the next few weeks. Asante sana na pole sana. Thank you but sorry for your trouble!

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Our first student meeting was with Godfrey Nguma who studies math at Mt Meru University in Arusha.  He is doing very well academically and lives off campus in a hostel. A gracious young man he showed us both the university site and the 8×8 room he shares with another student. We also visited his mother’s shamba up in Makamijuu and can see that he gets his grace from her.

 

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Flora is studying in Arusha to become a primary teacher and we enjoyed a visit at her home where Elizabeth could offer her some teaching materials.

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Paulina in Mandaka continues to do well and when we arrived to her home mother Goudency served us grilled corn and gifted us with a basin of bananas and mangos. Its mango season!  Paulina whispered in my ear thank you to everyone and expressed interest for medical training.  Her marks are good enough so we will wait to see her Form 4 results.  Dr. Victor, at Kilema Hospital has agreed to look at her marks and courses and advise her on how to proceed!

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Augustina Mlay continues to study education with a focus on science so she will never have difficulty getting a job.  We found out she really wished to study medicine as well but had her studies interrupted by the national military service.   She is another student who lives on a tight budget in an off campus hostel in Moshi.   At her village home in Makamijuu she and  the family treated us to banana stew to say thank you for the school support.

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Home visit to Margareth’s……
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We met with Margareth who, after studying secretarial and computers, is wishing to become a teacher. At a home visit with her shoemaker father there was evidence of a big new house being built by an uncle who has only offered her a little school assistance. To be fair few people here have a bank account and hold wealth by building a house, sometimes only partially as long as the money holds out.  The uncle is a miner of Tanzanite gems and we understand he found a small stone.  We want Margareth to succeed and have urged her to challenge her uncle to help co pay if he appears to come into any more money.

 

 

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Stephen and his grandmother

Families and students have all expressed their thanks in words- asante sana, nashakuru sana, mungo bariki. Also in  handshakes, cards, kangas , in eggs, chickens, banana stew, grilled corn, bananas and mangos have arrived in a steady stream.  Perhaps one of the most memorable visits this trip was our hike up to Stephen’s house where he suggested, with wide eyes,  that his grandmother had a special gift for us.  He himself hadn’t been home for five years, away studying in Arusha, now completing his third year at university in education.  As we climbed the village trails in Legho people came to greet him.    His grandmother could barely rise from bed, having aged significantly since I saw her last in 2014. We helped her out of her hut and into the courtyard where we  exchanged greetings and where given sodas and tea biscuits. After a time in, a thin voice she announced she wish to say thank you to us by giving us a goat.   The goat was brought out of the barn and we debated what to do and how we could possibly decline.  Despite her frailty she was very serious.  I envisioned walking the goat back down the mountain to Kilema and …what to do after?  Our pleasure at Stephen’s academic success was not gift enough.  Truly an awkward moment we finally solved by accepting the gift (!) with the caveat that Stephen’s grandmother keep and care for the goat in our absence.  She finally accepted and so now we have a goat.  Perhaps unwisely we named it right away, Mguzi, meaning nurse.  Not to be confused with mbuzi,  meaning goat.  In describing myself, I have fallen prey to the slight difference in these words many times!  I’m sure we will not soon forget our goat, Mguzi, or the amazing generosity and poise of Stephen and his grandmother.

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Not only is visiting in the village quite touching….it is also fun!

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One thought on “Saying Thank You… Nashukura sana

  1. [email protected]

    To fellow Tanzanian travellers, I have really enjoyed following your travels through each of your blog entries and it is bringing back a flood of memories for me. I loved this latest one as it features some folks that we had met during our trip. Such special people and place. I loved seeing the photo of Augustine, who is now (like the rest of us), looking a little older but as an energetic as ever. ( I still remember the story of his daughter’s “illness” that produced his 4th grandchild !).

    Really glad that everything has gone well for everyone, and you are no doubt reading this quick note as you prepare to return. I look forward to catching up and seeing the slide show of your adventures. Safe travels on the return and the “reentry” back into the western world !

    David, Rhona and family

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