05 October 2015

a thief in the night.

It was two o’clock in the morning. The electricity was out. Everything was completely dark. Six men approached our office with guns. One threw a rock atop the tin roof, intentionally wanting to stir the night guard to see where he was positioned. As the watchman appeared in the darkness, the six thieves began to climb and jump the fence. Immediately the guard grabbed his whistle to sound a call for help, but was promptly deterred by one of the thieves with a gun. “If you blow that whistle we’ll shoot you!”

Putting the whistle back in his pocket, the night guard was quickly wrestled down, only to have his hands, feet and mouth bound with some spare cloth. One of the thieves held a gun to him while the other five, using a homemade crowbar, broke into our computer classroom stealing nearly twenty computers and three generators (which are used to power our electricity).

Having swiped the guard’s keys (and mobile phone), the thieves unlocked the gate, allowing a car to be backed in where they quickly loaded all computers and generators. Five of the thieves piled into the car and sped away up the dirt road, while the sixth remained behind an extra ten minutes, still pointing a gun in the direction of the night watchman. After ten minutes, this thief finally made his exit, darting up the same hill under cover of the night darkness.

Living in a developing, impoverished setting like Mwanza, Tanzania, you expose yourself to certain risks. Thankfully, unlike gun violence in the United States, guns are incredibly rare in Tanzania and gun violence even rarer. But the desperation of poverty can push people to their limits.

Education for Better Living Organization (EBLI), the NGO where I carry out my ministry as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner teaching entrepreneurship to young Tanzanian mothers, was robbed recently as described above. Before coming to me for business training, however, each young mother completes four months of a computer literacy course on our premise, which is a proven track to helping these young women gain dignified employment. Unfortunately, this program has now been put on halt due to the aforementioned theft.

But you can help!

We are seeking funding to purchase replacement computers and generators for our young mothers project. To minimize costs and help us reach our goal faster, we will purchase locally available machines. Our goal is to purchase twenty computers costing an estimated $200 each and at least two generators costing $500 each. In total, we are aiming to fundraise $5,000 by the end of 2015.

 help us buy replacement computers and generators for young tanzanian mothers!

If you would like to help, please donate to our Ministry Account with Maryknoll Lay Missioners by using this secure online form. Not only is your gift tax-deductible, but also you will enable us to continue our computer literacy project for vulnerable, young mothers here in Tanzania.

Some have already offered to ship computers to us in Tanzania, but due to the cost and unreliability (damage, theft) of shipping, we suggest that a donation to our Ministry Account is the safest and easiest way to ensure our computer classroom is up and running as soon as possible.

Know that EBLI is already taking action to bolster security of its premises to protect future equipment (including a double entryway of iron bar doors), and that no one at EBLI was harmed and our guard is back at work.

Thank you in advance for your support. Everything we do in Tanzania is made possible by the generosity of others, and for it we could not be more grateful. You make the difference!

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