Lucas on Mt. Mansfield
Greetings Project Wezesha Supporters,
It's heating up for summer in most parts of the world! Even here in Vermont, where I've been based since August 2016, the days are hot and the nights - not much cooler. And guess who's getting to experience our heat firsthand?? The one and only Lucas Lameck!
After planning for years and then finally making the push for his US tourist Visa this past January, his dream to visit has become a reality! At the end of his trip, we'll make a video in which he'll share first hand what his impressions are and how this trip will impact his ongoing work with Project Wezesha. For now, he's enjoying: hiking in the Green Mountains; participation in an English language class with college students from Mongolia, Japan and Thailand; playing 'pick-up' soccer each evening with a bunch of young men from Somalia; sampling the variety of foods this land of farmers and immigrants has to offer; and, marveling over the "good roads and nice environment". In this picture, he's 'flapping his wings' on top of Mount Mansfield.
Back in Tanzania, our scholarship students, current and former, continue to make their way through life - each on his or her unique path.
At Kagongo Secondary School, Simoni’s headmaster said that he is doing exceptionally well and all his teachers enjoy having him in class. His grades across the curriculum are impressive to all. He is still at the top of his class. Currently he is a Form 4 student so he will be taking his exit exams in the fall and we hope that he will do well enough to be selected for high school.
Mahamudu and Hassani are also doing very well. The head master believes that both of these young men will also perform well enough on their exams this fall to earn a spot in high school.
Ezekiel, George and Rahma are also doing very well. They studied together at the same primary school and were selected as students at the top of their class after Standard 7. Lucas visited Bitale Secondary School to visit with George and Ezekial, and to speak with the head master of their school. Both of them are doing really well. Rahma is studying in Mwanza at a day school; she lives with relatives and is doing well in school.
Have you ever wanted a financial obligation? It seems like a strange thing to wish for, but we're really hoping to have the chance to pay for high school for all of these youngsters! Keep them in mind as they round the bend in Form 4. The national exams after Form 4 really do shape their future in a big way.
I'm working with Lucas on his trip this summer to plan for more informative interviews to really share, "in deep" as he would say, what the students are experiencing during and after their studies.
One of our former students, France is living and working in Morogoro running his own small business. He invests in crops - buying food products when prices are low, then selling them when the prices go up. His secondary education gave him the extra boost he needed to effectively calculate profit and loss margins and make wise business decisions that benefit him as an investor.
Hindu and Khadija continue their jobs in Oman. They are both enjoying their host families and their jobs. Neither of them speaks Arabic well, but they have started to learn because most people they interact with don’t speak English, and naturally, don’t speak Swahili. Hindu has also reported feeling some discrimination at times, but she stays quite positive and is grateful for the money that she is earning and sending home to support her mom. She and Khadija are also saving money so that when they return to Tanzania in the coming years, they can open a small business together in Kigoma town. They both continue to send me frequent text and voice messages on What’s App, which include pictures, videos, and lots of love!
As of recently, social media is reaching more of our students. When I started working in Tanzania in 2008, no one I knew in the villages had a cell phone. A few folks in town had old-school Nokia phones. Now, almost everyone has a basic phone, and more and more people have smart phones. If you can afford to buy credit, you have 3G access - even in remote villages. Not surprisingly, it's really changing communication and human interaction in huge ways.
For me, it's a bonus because I have closer contact with some of our students - even from across the world. Diana, Tumsifu, Dibeit, and Hindu use Facebook. Khadija and Hindu love What's App! Through social media platforms, I'm able to get stories from them, share ideas and pictures from home, and just keep the relationships alive. They also stay connected to others that they've met over the years - friends from the US who have traveled with me or visited as interns: Hadley, Tamrika, Katy, Krista, Carter, John, Dagny, Marte, Laetitia, Amy, and others. It's these connections - as much as the education and the financial support - that contributes to the work we do. For us, these young people are friends and our support of them is personal.
Thank you for all of your support and for believing that we can make a difference, even if our reach seems small (i.e., we're not the United Way or CARE) - it's a reach in the right direction and it does matter!
Sincerely and with gratitude,
Rai Farrelly & Lucas Lameck
Co-founders, Project Wezesha
Hindu greets Lucas on What's App
Messages with Khadija
Facebook Message from Tumsifu
Dibeit Shares my Pic of Lucas in Central Park
Chatting with Hindu