A Tanzanian teen’s struggle to get an education

The Short History of My Life written by Abel, 19, Tanzania.

My name is Abel Lucas Mtui [he’s on Facebook under Abel Luca]; I was born in 1987 at Moshi–Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I’m the first born in our family of four brothers. My father’s name is Lucas Mtui. He is electrician in Nairobi, Kenya, but he is not employed (self-employment) and my mother’s name is Bertha Mtui. She is a home mother taking care of our young brothers and a farmer domesticating one cow, two sheeps and some hens.

I was schooling in Moshi and growing up over there in 1994–2000. I attended one primary school around home. After the last National Exams, I was among the few pupils who performed well in it. In 2001-2004, I was joined with a government secondary school and it was easy for my father to pay the school fees because government school fees are cheaper than private school, which is too expensive. But when I was in Form Two, I was suffering with headache and our school it was very far—about 7 km–to go and to turn back every day. I was trying to talk to my father to explain about the situation but he was saying that he didn’t have enough money to fund my transfer to boarding school.

So after that I didn’t have any chance, so I was schooling in the same school for four years and it was difficult for me to do some study after school because of tiredness. In last national exams I wasn’t performing well, so I was among students who failed those exams. At that time my young brother was already joined with one of government schools (boarding school) because he was doing well in his primary education. My father told me that he didn’t have more money to send me to high school, so I had to select one of the short courses as my last chance.

I was joined with one of the colleges around Moshi town where I was taking my certificate in Tour Guide and Driving for a year. After that I was asking many tour companies in Moshi and Arusha and in national parks for the chance of doing my field practical. Udzungwa Mountain National Park was the first place where they replied to my application after only a month and needed me there soon. I was interested with Udzungwa because it was my first time to live outside of Moshi and to learn how life is. [This is where I met Abel.] But they only offered me the place for field training but no house, no food, and no payment for three months, so every thing I was asking from my father. It was difficult, but after three months they offered me a contract of three months with payment of 60,000 TSH per month. Up to today I continue working with them. It’s not enough but I don’t have choice. I’m afraid that if I will go back at home with nothing to do, my young brothers couldn’t learn anything from me. All of them were schooling at Moshi.

I’m a Christian (Roman Catholic). I believe in God according to our religion. We believe God is each and everything; He is the one who solves our problems, etc.

I don’t have a girlfriend by now because, first of all, I’m still a young boy to have somebody who belongs to me. I have to take care of her, buying her gifts, solving her problems according to any situation. So I think that is very early for me to have girlfriends. I’m attracted with girls who are model-like, look like miss, who has got long hair, who will be able to tell me her feelings and who speak slowly and politely. I would like a wife from any country around the world, who is a bit educated, the one who will appreciate my lifestyle. She will respect others no matter they are poor or rich and their education level.

What do I think about environment? Due to climate change I expect that it will increase the risk of illness in several parts of the world and it may lead to a falling-off economy to some countries. Other problems facing all humans today are poverty, drug abuse, prostitution, AIDS, and abortions, but illiteracy is the mother of all problems. So in order to liberate girls and boys we must educate and train them from all angles of our social and economic activities.

The following are my goals: To get high education (university) in wildlife and environmental conservation. To hold a beautiful house. To have a family of three children. To take care of others like me, especially orphans. [Many African students mentioned wanting to help orphans whose parents died of AIDS.] To help my young brothers’ education. [Update—Abel is working with tourists as a guide and environmental educator in Zanzibar. He wants to go back to his hometown to start an NGO.]

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