by Jennifer Ostrowski, CARITAS For Children Intern
Some of the “original” CARITAS children, the very first to be sponsored who have been with the child sponsorship program for many years have now graduated from secondary school (high school) in Uganda. The sisters call these girls “the pioneers”. I had the opportunity to sit with some of these young women and discuss their plans for the future. Today’s post features my conversation with Lestetutah (nickname Resty), sponsored by Mary Ann M. Resty's answers to my questions appear below in an interview format.Resty N.
Jenny: How many years have you had a sponsor?
Resty: "I have been sponsored since P4 by Bonnie. When she passed away Mary Ann became my sponsor."
Jenny: What were you expectations of the program?
Resty: “It was really nice for me to join that program.” She notes that, through the program, she was able to attend Stella Maris Primary, which she considers to be the best school in the area. She continued attending Stella Maris until graduating from S4 (senior 4, fourth year of secondary school) last December.
Jenny: How have you benefitted from the CARITAS child sponsorship programs?
Resty: “It really helped me a lot because my father passed away and I was living with my grandparents. They never have money. From P1 to P3 we used to get some food, but there was no money for school fees. When we couldn’t pay the fees, I would be sent home from school. Since I started [the program] I have never been sent home for school fees, and it has also helped me with my other needs [books, supplies, etc.].”
“My mother is still there [living], but the assistance [that she can provide] is never enough.”
Jenny: What advice do you have for younger students in the sponsorship program?
Resty: "They should continue with their studies, because if you don’t study things cannot be good in what’s in front [in the future].”
Jenny: What do you think the CARITAS program should look like in the future?
Resty: “Since it is helping children and there are more [children] coming…it has expanded and let it expand more. Many children are on sponsorship.”
Jenny: What is your relationship with your sponsor?
Resty: "I used to write letters to my first sponsor, but did not receive any." [Resty hopes to get to know her new sponsor better.] “I only want to thank [both sponsors], so I am thanking the new sponsor [Mary Ann] who I have just received for the generous heart.”
Jenny: Give three examples of how the program has impacted your life.
1. [The program has impacted me] “because I have been able to go to a good school. In Nkokonjeru, it [Stella Maris] is the only good school; if you go there they say that you have climbed Nssube Hill” (“Climbing Nssube Hill” seems to be a positive phrase, indicating that you have accomplished something.)
2. "It has also helped me to achieve my goals because I am being sponsored and going to a nursing course.
3. "Many things—they are so many things."
Jenny: What are your plans for the future?
Resty: Currently, Resty is waiting to join a nursing course at St. Francis Hospital in Nsambya, which is generally regarded as one of the best nurse training schools. She will study general nursing, which is a five semester program.
Thus far, she has applied to the school, which involved bringing some letters and paperwork, followed by an interview. She has been accepted to the program and hopes to begin her studies in November.
Jenny: Why do you want to study nursing?
Resty: “It was my future job. When I was still schooling [in school], I was thinking about that, and it really came through.” Resty noted that she wants to help other people to be healthy.
Jenny: What will you do after graduating from nursing school?
Resty: “After studying and getting a job, I have to add. I want to add by raising some animals and farming. Right now [at my grandparents’ home], we are keeping a few farm animals, including one cow, two pigs, one goat, and some hens.”
While working as a nurse, Resty also plans to keep animals and farm bananas, as she wants to ensure that her family has enough to eat and to cover expenses, like school fees.