Hamjambo wote! (Hi everyone!) The time is long overdue for an update on my life here in Mwanza, Tanzania. There has been a lot of changes within the past few months, so I have been trying to catch up with them myself.
Reflecting on the fact that I have been here for 9 months, I would say I am adapting quite well. I have the hang of the language, transportation routes, navigating myself around, cultural norms, and most importantly- have mastered the art of eating without utensils.
When I arrived here in Mwanza, as expected, I started work at the Lulu Project. An amazing organization that works to promote women entrepreneurship, teaches them lessons on self care, how to save money, and how to start a small business. Many of the women that were participants in this program had children of their own and weren’t able to continue secondary school (high school). For various reasons things unfortunately did not work as planned, as it was a very difficult situation for a first term missioner to join in to on my own. But MKLM is great with accommodating their missioners to make sure we feel comfortable where we are. After about a month of searching, I found my new ministry.
I am now working at EBLI (Education for Better Living Organization) teaching English. This school is for teens that aren’t able to complete secondary school, for various reasons. Once a student has completed this program they will receive a certificate which is the equivalent to a GUD in the states. I am loving my experience there so far, the people I work with are beyond helpful, the location is fairly safe and my students come eager to learn and ask plenty of questions.
My main challenge I am facing is the student’s attendance rate. They do not have to pay to take the course, but many live far from the school and cannot afford to take a local bus or motorbike (what would be anywhere from $0.50-$3 round trip), so they travel up to 8-10 miles by foot to get there early morning. The man who started this school, along with myself, are trying to find a way to ease the students of the long walk, get them in class on time, and offer them a better future.
Searching for ways to find funding for the teens, along with offering them vocational classes along side English are the next two goals that I will be working towards. Many more changes are yet to come, so I will be sure to keep everyone at St. Joseph’s updated within the next few months.
I hope everyone is well, and I will be seeing you at Christmas time!