We visited Busilykia Secondary School, which in recent years GOEC has supported through the 'Brighten our Future' program (annual Fundraising event & campaign).  It was such an honor (not to mention inspiration) to see so many young people dedicated to learning and reaping the benefits from GOEC's support towards this goal. 

They impressed us with their singing, dancing and speeches and it was obvious how much they had practised and prepared for the day. Everyone did so well, especially considering the sweltering afternoon heat!

A student gives a welcome speech

At the end of the ceremony at Busilykia, they asked us to stand up and say something to the students. I felt so unworthy of speaking to these dedicated young people who work so much harder for their education than we could ever understand. They appreciate school and the opportunities it brings so much more than I ever have. What advice or anecdote could I possibly offer that they could relate to or find inspiring, let alone useful? But then I remembered that these kids are just like any young person anywhere else in the world, in that kids their age (or anyone at any age) can always use more encouragement, that adults believe in them and that whatever they're working so hard for is completely worth it!   Everyone benefits from hearing this and even if they get it every day at home,  it never hurts to be reminded by one more person (remember how we all rolled our eyes at the advice of adults, but then realized it made sense later in life) to keep trying and never give up!  I don’t remember exactly what I said (I was probably just as nervous as the students who gave speeches to us!), but I know I commended them for their hard work in school, reminded them they are the future of their country - the next leaders of Tanzania (wow that is an incredible & exciting realization when you really think about it!), and encouraged them to work hard in school to be successful in making positive changes for their future and their community.

It was a pleasure to meet these wonderful students and I hope and pray that every one of them will finish their secondary school education and have the opportunity to pursue whatever future educational or career options they may choose!

With the dedicated teachers at Busilykia

As with the other schools we visited around Bukoba, we were so inspired by the dedication and hard work of the teachers, not only in their concern for both the quality and quantity of available school books and supplies, but also for students who may be ill or vulnerable of losing their education. I have no doubt they often play the role of community or social worker for some of these children, and likely go over and above their job as a teacher. It was great to see how closely Thadeus communicates with the teachers, working together with them to help these children if at all possible, and as a result, providing support to the exhausting role the teachers play as well.

Pictured with a fellow drummer girl who impressed us with her beats on the traditional Haya drum!

I've posted the rest of the pictures from our Busilykia visit, as well as other community schools on Flickr.