Tonight I am tired. I do not want to write, but it was a great day so I know I need to. However do me a favor and refrain from judging my craft. This morning I visited the homes of two New Life students. The first one is in secondary school. Let’s call her Abby. Abby has eight siblings: all older, all working as housemaids. In Tanzania, the housemaids often live with the family or in separate quarters off to the side of the house. Most receive pay of about $15 a month; many are not paid at all. Most housemaids and househands are young girls and boys who did not pass their grade 7 national examinations, or children whose parents did not have the money to send them back to school (a cost of $15 a year). At age 12, Abby was already a house girl. She worked at a home close to town. One day she was grabbing groceries and a woman approached her and asked her if she was a house girl. When Abby answered yes, she was, the woman responded, "I have a place for you to go."With twelve years of age, Abby should have been entering into grade four. Instead, she started with grade one at New Life. It is not often that the school allows this to happen, but Abby was a special case. Now, Abby is in secondary school at New Life. She is devoted to her studies, devoted to God, and dreams of being a lawyer.
This is the home of Abby’s mother. She lives alone now. Most of her children come back to visit, but there is one whom she has not seen for eight years. The house is made of mud and it has a wooden frame. Mama built it with the help of her church group. She lives a primarily secluded life. She provides for herself with the plants that she grows on her land and sells or barters the surplus. From my point of view, the general simplicity of life is something that can be adjusted to, but the isolation is something I could never bare.Abby stays with her mother during school break and hopes to help support her after she has graduated school and has a steady job.