I never thought I would be so close to poverty.
A couple of weeks back, Ally Mohamed was not writing down any of my notes. I asked him where his notebook went, and he said it was stolen. I told him to buy one, which costs less than 25 cents, but he said he couldn't because his parents are farmers and are very poor. Next week, he was still without a notebook, so I told him to ask his friends for a favor, or steal one himself. The next week, he still didn't have his notebook, so I told him that if he got over 75% on the exam, I would give him three. I think he worked pretty hard, but he got 35%. I gave him two anyways, because I couldn't help feel so sorry for him.
The Korean volunteers in Tanzania run a scholarship committee, with our own money. Kyungbok, my colleague here, has started the scholarship work in my school. This morning, a student came up to me with a half finished application, and I took a look at it. I was explaining to him how to write certain portions, and on the section of "explain your family's annual income," I told him to write what his parents do, and how much they make. Then I explained the section that required him to write a personal history, including family events. The second half of that page, on the section explaining why he needs the scholarship, it said that he lost both his parents.
Often outside of class, the students come up telling me half-jokingly that they're hungry. I usually respond with a laughing "what'd you want me to do," or "how about I punch you in the stomach you won't feel hungry anymore." I say this because I can't just buy some food for a student or two, because the students will hoard me and think of me as a rich foreign santa, and that I could not handle. But at the same time, every time this happens, I do wish I could do more to help them.
I've learned this only on Wednesday:
There are 750 students in Saba Saba. More than half cannot pay the 20,000 TSH (about $15) yearly school fee. Most of these students eat only one meal a day, and mostly an unsubstantial one. And about 100 students are orphans, taken cared by guardians and not parents.