Sunday night here at the end of another busy weekend. Boys are all in bed including Robbie! The kids have been out and about mixing it up with the local kids which has been great to see and of course Johnathon has been here most of the weekend.

The overwhelming theme for the weekend as we have visited people and had people visiting us is education. The desire for further education and the lack of money to be able to afford it.

Yesterday we visited Vithalis, a Pastor working as a youth pastor with Tumaini at present. His work is bordering on volunteer as he receives only a very small living allowance. He is married with three children and lives in Murgwanza. He never had the opportunity to go to Secondary School as his family had little money and his father thought it more important for him to stay home and help on the family shamba. After a struggling couple of years he began teaching Sunday school at his local church, then the pastor left and so he took over leading the church. There he was spotted by a former CMS missionary who arranged for him to come to the Bible College at Murgwanza. He then went on to study in Dodoma after teaching himself English. He now is in the process of waiting for a reply to his application for scholarships to go and study a Bachelor of Theology in either Uganda or Kenya. Either way the scholarship will pay for his studies and living expenses, but not his families. They will need to stay in Murgwanza with no income while he is away for 3 years and maintain rent payments of about AU$65 a month as well as food and education for their kids.

Secondly is Winston, who is working as a carpenter at Tumaini. Winston and Wilbrod have been coming on Sunday afternoons for English lessons. Wilbrod is sponsored by Tumaini and has completed two stages of his carpentry training and just needs to complete the final 6 months. This final exam however is in English and he knows he would not pass it at this stage. The amount that Wilbrod has done however will allow him a government certificate that certifies him as a 'fundi'.  Winston is not formally trained but has been taught by a village teacher. Because he has no formal training he cannot be a registered fundi. Winston would love to go to college but of course he has no money. For the first part of his training which is 2 years long it cost 200,000Tsh, that is all inclusive tuition, food, accommodation. That's about AU$150, but totally prohibitive for Winston.

Then there was Kwizera, a Secondary Student in Form 4 who came asking for 8000Tsh - about AU$5. He needed the money to pay for his entrance exam to Form 5. Not all students get to go to Form 5 and 6 - you must pass Form 4 plus do an entrance exam for Form 5. There are no High Schools (Form 5 and 6) in the Ngara region, so they will have to travel and live out of home to attend, as well as have the money for fees, uniforms etc.

Earlier in the week, James was here. He is in Form 2 and must pass his exams in September to be allowed to go on to Form 3. I am helping James with his English, but he has no Science teacher at the school. Maths and Science is compulsory, so if there is no teacher you must just teach yourself using the textbook you must buy. James told me the other day there was a temporary teacher at the school offering to tutor kids in Maths, Physics and Chemistry for 5000Tsh per topic and James needs help with all three subjects and many topics. This temporary teacher is a Form 5 student on holidays (as High schools run on a differnet calender!!).

So here are four examples of how these local men and boys are desperate to attend further education but the costs are just so prohibitive. Then don't get me started on the primary school is free for students to attend a government primary school (which NAPS is not). However you need to wear uniform and provide your own supplies which is prohibitive for many. But is you can afford to send your child, there is no guarantee of a 'good' education. There are often far too few teachers for the number of pupils and they have no resources to aid them.

It is crushing to see these needs each day and know there are so so many other stories out their that we have not heard yet.

Please pray for Vithalis, Winston, Kwezira and James today and pray for us to know how to best assist them. We fear we have so many on our hearts already and we have not even been here two months.

Pray also for our language - it was so lovely to have Wilbrod and Winston here this afternoon and share with them but also so frustrating at our lack of Swahili and their lack of English to allow for meaningful conversation.

A new week tomorrow, we will see what the Lord has installed for us We are expecting Gershom for a visit on Tuesday to stay for a few days. We are really looking forward to that, we have missed him. Sas


Time Difference

We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.~

Ben Sweetland
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