Monday, May 17, 2010

Rose, Hadija, and Dua

Two weeks!  And now water is back!  But more importantly, today's about Rose, Hadija, and Dua.

I'm helping out Kyungbok with the KOICA scholarship applications.  Each year, some of the more determined education volunteers hand out scholarships to students in need.  Kyungbok had the will to do the work, and was able to collect 17 applicants.  In order to verify that the students are indeed in need of financial assistance, we decided to visit their homes.


Rose is a delight to teach.  She has a particularly loud and deep voice, and actually lets me know when she does not understand certain points in my lesson, and she yells at some students who are disturbing the class.  I often enjoy pronouncing her name with a deep voice, because there is a nice ring to the word "rose."  Her academics aren't great, but she seems to try somewhat.  Unlike others, she's a bit conservative with laughter, and perhaps there is to be.

In Dar es Salaam, there is a village museum, depicting how certain tribes build certain houses.  These houses, are mostly made of mud, with thatch roofs and a dirt floor.  I thought, surely, this is a depiction of the past.  Well, it's exactly where Rose lives.  Three small rooms, and a small kitchen.  No electricity, no water, of course.  I saw a small child-sized bed.  I wondered how rose could fit in it.  Well, she, her sister, and her cousin sleep there.  Her parents are farmers, but the word peasant seems to fit more. She, like the other two, eat two meals a day.  Breakfast, however, is just a cup of simple porridge.  She, and the other two cannot afford tea, which is a staple here.


Hadija is absolutely ridiculous.  A total clown.  Once she gave Kyungbok a mushroom as a gift, saying that it's edible.  Except, everyone else said that it was poisonous.  Hadija is loud, but midway through the lesson, she passes out like crazy.  She is just seconds away from drooling, and her mind is already somewhere else.  Hadija also owns an illicit business.  She sells keki, small donuts, for 50 shillings each at school, and students buy them.  I'm not sure she's allowed to sell them, but I got one for free in exchange for keeping it a secret.  Hadija isn't a stellar student nor does she try very hard.  But oh well, she's not the only one like that.  Her defining feature, I must add, is her tattered clothing.  Her hijab is so many tears, and her skirt has a giant whole as well.

Hadija's poverty is much like Rose's, except that she lacks parental care.  Her father passed out when she was a baby, and her mother is at another town to take care of her illness.  She is taken care by one of her sisters, who had no idea who I am, and why I came to visit.  Hadija, despite all this, seemed extra cheerful during the whole time.


I don't teach Dua, and it was the first time I saw her today.  She was rather calm, and had a lot of composure.  I managed to talk to her mother, who was very kind, and showed me her roof that almost collapsed when a tree fell on top.  Dua's poverty, is much like the others, but I was impressed how she had the poise of an adult.  This wasn't so surprising as she seemed to have certain responsibilities over her younger siblings.  Dua wants to be either a nurse or a teacher, and to do so, she needs to pass her exams this year.  She also has to attend A-level classes next year, but given her financial situation, I'm afraid that's going to be very hard.

The scholarship pays for the students' school fees, which amount to about $14 a year.  Seeing their homes, I can see how that is an exorbitant amount for these families.  The cost of dinner and tips, two souvenir mugs, a kilo of coffee beans... And come 2011, it's another headache for these three families.

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