We boarded the bus early in the morning and made a quick stop at the local vegetable/fruit stand to purchase some gifts for the families we would be visiting later in the day. Then we were off to visit The School of St. Jude, Moshono Campus, which is the original campus created by Gemma Sisia in 2002. This campus is now home to all of the primary and upper primary classes. We were greeted by a few staff members as well as four children who were kind enough to give us a tour of the school on their day off!
Pascal, Rashid, Muhudini, and Kelvin showed us the art room, music room, library, computer labs, playground, and boarding rooms. The kids absolutely loved our cameras. Once Doug, our cameraman, had shown them pictures of themselves, we found ourselves handing over our cameras for them to use. Some of us quite enjoyed this, as we love having photos, but hate taking photos. What an easy solution to that problem!
The school is breath taking. The buildings, the staff, the gardens, and the overall atmosphere of respect, responsibility, honesty and kindness are unimaginable and come to life once you step foot into this amazing establishment. The team was blown away by how far Gemma’s vision of fighting poverty through education has grown and flourished in such a short amount of time. After seeing the already standing school grounds, we were taken to the construction sites where new buildings were being built by hand to accommodate the upper primary students. This project is carried on by hundreds of local workers who have come in to excavate and construct the buildings all by hand. It is an amazing sight to see.
After the tour of the school, the team was separated into small groups to visit the homes and families of three students. The students that attend St. Jude come from impoverished families. We were honored to be able to hear the stories of each child and why and how they ended up being accepted into the school. The children and their families expressed that they were thankful for the opportunities St Jude’s has presented them with. The school is highly respected in Tanzania and gives children the chance to not only learn, but the ability to dream big. These children do not just see themselves working on farms, in a small shop, or possibly landing out on the street; they now see visions of being pilots, teachers, doctors, football players, etc. It is beautiful to see and hear their stories.
Later in the afternoon, Charlotte, Kaitlyn, Laura, and Doug headed out to Usa River Campus, where the secondary school is located. They visited with Kim Saville, the deputy director of the school and then toured a few classrooms to see the students attending classes. The class sizes were small, and the teachers genuinely cared about their students’ success. Shortly after school ended, they boarded a bus to visit Julieth, a student that Charlotte has been sponsoring for many years. Julieth is now 15 years old and she started the secondary school this year. Her family had to move to Dar Es Salaam last year. They did not want her to miss the chance to study in a great school so she has been living with her aunt since then. The house is small and shared by five family members. Despite these rough living conditions, Julieth has managed to study well over the past few months. Her English is amazing and she was able to share stories about the books she read, the dreams she has and the goals she is so sure to reach one day. She wants to be a lawyer to fight for women and children’s rights. Laura, Charlotte, Kaitlyn and Doug were shocked by the wisdom and insight of such a young individual. The School of St Jude is definitely making a difference in the lives of those children and 3 Peaks is really glad to continue supporting such a great organization.
As the evening has rolled in, the team is packing and getting ready for the first day on Mount Meru tomorrow. Wish them luck!
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Posted by Kaitlyn and Charlotte