Author Archives: Dawn O'Connor
In his first application to HYTES in 2007, young Edward Nobo clearly stated that he aspired to be an engineer. In the fall of 2012, we were delighted when Edward became a full-time student in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Dar es Salaam!!
Edward’s story of personal loss and difficulties in pursuing an education is similar to a great many young people in sub-Saharan Africa today. Edward was a child in rural Tanzania, happy in a farming household with his parents and 6 siblings. Primary schooling was attainable in government schools that were free, and simple food was supplied by the farm.
In 2001, when Edward was nine, all that changed when his mother died of snakebite.
“Life became more difficult for us because I myself loved my mother a lot more than anything in this world. My mother was the only one who new my problems… but my father used to give me courage.”
Serious difficulties developed three years later when his father also died.
“We started living a very hard life, walking on bear legs, lack of food and basic needs…I never gave up, I continued with my studies although more difficulties were increasing.”
The family was split; Edward and two sisters, Martina and Esther, were taken in by a kind aunt in Dar es Salaam. Edward completed his primary education, but his aunt could not even feed her extended family, let alone pay secondary school fees for any of them. (Secondary fees are equal to the average annual income in Tanzania). So Edward stayed home for a year. When Martina and Esther also needed secondary fees, the three of them luckily found Mawengi School which generously allowed some students to stay in class, even if the hope of fee payment was slim.
However, when the school was no longer able to pay its teachers, the Nobo children were chased away. Two recent U of Alberta grads, Carol Frost and Glenna McGregor, were volunteer teachers at Mawengi school when they were surprised to see their classes reduced to only a few students as the non-paying ones were literally chased away for not paying their fees. When Carol and Glenna returned to Edmonton, they found donors to support the school, the teachers were paid, the Nobos returned to class, and in 2008, all three, Edward, Martina and Esther, became HYTES students until they all graduated. Now Edward is in university, and Martina and Esther hope to be admitted soon.
These students exemplify our HYTES students. They have the ability, the energy and the determination. We just give them a chance.
Less than a week prior to our 6thAnnual Summer Fun event we were debating whether to cancel. With only a few people signed up we worried that despite our fabulous auction prizes we might not have anyone to buy them.
Competing with beautiful weather, last minute camping trips and out of town plans, we made the executive decision to go ahead and hope that our months of preparation would pay off for our students in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and Guatemala.
And with $7600 raised, we think we made the right decision!
Apparently this is a last minute culture. Not only do people RSVP only days prior (if
at all) but auction donations also poured in at the final hour. We scrambled to write bid sheets for dozens of generous last minute donations including a basket of fresh vegetables from someone’s local garden!
A great part of our success can be attributed to Wesjet for their donation of 2 tickets to anywhere they fly. We raffled these off and the lucky winner told us she is soon to be married and will use the tickets for her honeymoon!
Another big contributor, Fresh Kitchen http://www.freshkitchen.ca/, donated the
fabulous food including dips to die for.
And to go with the food, many kids (and a few adults) enjoyed a lemonade slushie made in a pedal powered blender. Heather Hendrie of Powered by the People brought her blender bike and taught us how to use our own energy, via pedalling, to blend a refreshing drink. If you are really ambitious you could actually power your whole event including the band. Check it out….http://www.poweredbythepeople.ca/.
We also enjoyed the beautiful voice of singer Trish Evans http://triciaevans.com/ who not only sang but helped make announcements and kept the auction bidding going.
For the kids we had crafts, face painting and balloon artistry by Art Star Creations. The face painting was so intricate and detailed – truly little works of art – that even my 14 year old had hers done.
Finally, a general massive THANK YOU to the volunteers, all the donors and most of all the people who came out to the event and generously purchased and donated so that our HYTES kids can continue another year in school and make a difference in their communities, countries and the world.
Take a few minutes to watch these videos of some of our exceptional students in Africa: Part 1 http://youtu.be/wFC1sJ1r4_0
Part 2 http://youtu.be/1Vl3htaNV7s
By Dawn O’Connor HYTES Secretary