This month we received an enormous gift – a visit from John and Jacinta in Portland! While in town to celebrate a wedding, we had the opportunity to meet with them and hear stories first-hand about what this year has been like for them in Tanzania.
At the end of our time, John told a story from a nearby village about a girl named Cathy, who was a first-generation student in a culture where girls are married young and not usually offered the opportunity of an education.
Years ago, Cathy found out she was going to be married off that evening. In Tanzania, it is illegal for a girl to be married while she is still in school. Cathy was able to contact the school headmaster, who contacted the police. They came that night and broke up the wedding, and when the community found out who had sounded the alarm, they were very upset. This affected the school’s relationship with the community for years.
But one day, the leader of their village was in a hit-and-run motorbike accident and left for dead. Somehow he was brought to a hospital, but he was in a coma and had no money to pay for being treated. The hospital said they could not treat him until someone could pay for the costs.
But can you believe it? Cathy, who had gone on to graduate from high school and become a nurse, was working at that very hospital! She recognized the man and offered to cover his fees so he could be treated.
When he recovered, this man said, “if this girl had not gone to school, I would be dead.” The entire perspective of the community has changed because they have now seen the long-term effects that education can have on a community. Today, this school is full of students, and they hope to continue building more classrooms in order to make sure every child has the opportunity they deserve.