Interviewing the families of St Timothy’s

We kicked up a cloud of dust as we entered the village of New Land, just outside of Moshi, to interview the parents and students of the new St. Timothy’s School we all enabled the community to construct. Bryce (Mama Hope’s Visual Journalist), James (Director of St Timothy’s), Godfrey (New Land’s elected Street-Chair) and I ventured down a dirt road with the mighty Mt Kilimanjaro looming in the background. Our intent, find out why the community identified education as one of their most pressing concerns. Moreover, what impact the addition of St Timothy’s school would bring to the families and community.

Many residents were around doing chores here and there, while others stared at us in wonder. We trailed between mud homes, pig pens and occasional family graves. As we approached our first home to interview many thoughts whirled through my head; so this is life at the $2 a day poverty-line, what is daily life like here, if not for being born in a different country it might be strangers here interviewing me. Finally Bryce and I arrived at our first home.

Thoughts of things I heard and studied about Africa, Africans and global poverty whipped around my mind as we sat down face-to-face with student Theresia and her mother Elis. “Can you tell us about a day in your life?” we asked and James translated. Elis went into detail about how she prepared her home each day before going to work as a laborer in the neighboring maze (corn) fields until sun down. If she is able to pick enough maze that day she is paid 2,500 shillings (about $1.60) and buys dinner for the night. When we asked Theresia what she looked most forward to about starting school at St Timothy’s in January she said it was having a meal everyday.

Then we got into the more focused questions, “What difference does having St Timothy’s School in the communtiy have?” Elis response reflected that of all the families we interviewed, St Timothy’s school sought out and provided an option for the “forgotten kids.” The families made it clear that there were two options for children in their community, attend school and get an education or become a “street kid” exposed to many many dangers. Before St Timothy’s there were no other options for them.

As Bryce and I interviewed Elis and Theresia the grandmother joined us. The grandmother said she had hope that with a quality education Theresia could get a job and bring the family the support they desperately needed. We found it profound to see the hope that education could bring to three generations of family. Mother and Grandmother sought a better life for their family in Theresia’s education at St Timothy’s which had just begun.

This is just a little sample from the interviews we did. I couldn’t capture it all in a blog. I attached some picture of us interviewing the kids and from the footage we took.

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