Fabi Meing’oru started school this weekend. Since I was on retreat on Kilimanjaro, I arranged for her aunt to accompany her from her village at Endulen at Ngorongoro to St. Joseph Secondary School here in Arusha. Today, I went to see how she is doing. I guess it is to be expected that she is a little frightened. For the first time in her life, she is far from the cattle camp of her family and hundreds of miles from home. She knows no one in the school. There are two or three other Maasai girls, but from other parts of Maasai country.
Right now I am feeling badly for her as she struggles with loneliness and the strangeness of a new place and being plopped down in the midst of many hundreds of strange girls from all over Tanzania. In time, she’ll get used to the place, make friends and eventually feel totally at home, but the first weeks will be difficult. She speaks Swahili well of course, having just finished seven years of primary school. But, it is a second language and not the familiar Maasai that she is used to speaking every day with her family and friends.
To stay home at Endulen would mean little hope of good secondary education. St. Joseph’s is run by sisters and has a great reputation and track record. I feel very lucky to have gotten her an opportunity to take the entrance exam. And she did very well on the various written tests.