• Priska intake photo, 2009.


Priska was the most melancholy child I met during my initial assessments. Whenever we were together Priska would cling to me, sadly, resignedly. I have dozens of photos of an unsmiling little girl, shy, quiet and very self contained. Priska, Mama, and seven month old brother Saidi lived in another terrible house in Usa River I would discover on my home visit.

Story of Priska

DOB – May 16, 2006

Came under Tumaini care August, 2009

As I have mentioned before, I became ill in the last week of my first stay in Tanzania and was resting late one afternoon when I heard a commotion outside my door.  The door to my room didn’t open into a home but to a sort of outdoor, self-contained “private compound”.  Oddo and Mama Priska were arguing outside my door in Swahili which, of course, I didn’t understand.  I wandered out to investigate where Oddo apologized,  translating that he had already told Mama Priska we were at capacity and would be unable to help any more families at present.  Mama Priska argued that she had been to see us three times previously to ask for assistance, and that we must help her and her children because there was no one else to help and announced that neither she (who was nursing) nor Priska had eaten anything for three days!

I immediately got Priska and her mother some biscuits and carrots (there was nothing else) which they devoured.  Mama Priska even let her infant Said taste a cookie. I packed up some dry beans and vegetables (what we had at the compound) and sent them home with a promise to visit the next day. Upon my arrival I discovered that Priska’s family possessed nothing in the way of furniture except a bed frame, without mattress or slats (they slept on the mud floor), and two five gallon buckets (the national tool of Tanzania).  We sat on those buckets.  They had no food except what we’d given them the day before and Mama Priska had no prospects for employment.  She had been trying, unsuccessfully, to buy and then resell milk for a small profit.

I made a micro loan of $55.00 to Mama Priska and we got her into the banana (ndizi) business, purchased her a mattress and had her bed repaired.  We also moved them from their unsafe home into a home (room) with a concrete floor and walls. Shortly after I returned to Canada, Priska, Said, and Mama all became ill.  Mama changed her business to chickens and continues successfully and fully repaid her loan.

Priska attends and lives at Amani Primary School. Boarding school is an option for all children if they need an even more structured lifestyle than Tumaini provides. She attends school with sponsorship support from Tumaini and is doing well.

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