Anna Josephs story

My name is Anna Joseph Lema. I come from Kilimanjaro. I am 18 years old. I would like to use this chance to tell you my story.

We are four children in our family and I’m the first born. We were living together with our parents at home. My father has serious problems with his liver and he also suffered from Seizure. Due to this fact my father was not allowed to perform any work and this is up to now. However my mother hadn’t any permanent work but she tried to engage in large scale agriculture as a labor force. This time I was seven years old and my younger sister was 4. In spite of the fact that our life at home was really tough, my mother managed to send us to primary school in 1998. That time we were paying school fees but later the money was a problem, but the teacher allowed me to go to school without paying any fees. My mother worked hard and so she was able to send me to school, god helped her and so I could continue up to standard four.

At this time I found work so that I could help my parents and also myself to get school properties like pens, exercise books and a uniform. I worked for one mother as a house girl. This was a problem for me because the work was very tough and it was very hard to find the time for my studies. I worked there for two years, till I reached standard six. Then my father became very serious sick, so they needed me to go and help them. Although I had to stop working for this woman, she continued to help me up to standard seven.

While waiting for the results I decided to go to work in Dodoma, although the situation of our family was really bad. But my parents allowed me to go there, to work as a house girl. The life as a house girl was very hard, the woman I was working for was so strict and I just got 10000 = Tzh per month(less than $10). But I agreed because I had nothing else to do at that time and I wanted to help my parents. I worked there from September up to March, but the woman didn’t paid me anything. I tried to ask her to give me my salary, but she told me that for that time her money was in a business. On March my mother called me and told me that my father was so serious sick that I should send them some money for the treatment. So I went to my boss and I told her the situation of my family, but she refused to give me the whole amount, she said hadn’t the money and either I take the money she could spare and go home, or not. So she just gave me 20,000=Tsh. I took it for the bus fees, and she told me she will send me the rest of my salary. I could not do anything else than taking my properties and go back home.

I reached home and I told my parents all the things, which happened to me. Later there were two women, they talked to my parents about us and what they can do for us. They suggested taking me to Dar es Salaam, to work for them as a house girl and they promised that they will send me to school and pay for my fees and the other needs. My parents agreed because of our poorness. On the next day they came and took me to Dar es Salaam. I was very happy, because I thought they would give me the chance to go to secondary school now.

Our journey started on a Monday morning and we met in the town to travel to the Dar. I started to worry because the women gave me clothes which were shameful to me. We reached at Dar es Salaam at 2:30 p.m. (Ubungo)

We entered a restaurant at Ubungo and they ordered food and soda for me, but they took nothing and told me to wait for them. After a short while even before finishing eating four boys came to me and started to ask me some questions. They wanted that I introduce myself and then they asked if I would be afraid of leaving Tanzania.

This question made me feel afraid and I decided to go outside to look for those women, but I could not find them. One other woman saw me and asked me why I was crying. I explained my situation to her and she took me aside and told me that these men and even the women were not good for me. She explained that they were selling children to other countries as slaves and that I should try anything to get away from them. Together with her we went to a church and there she told my whole story and a man from the church gave me the advice to go to the Friends of Don Bosco center (WWT).

They told me not to take a bus but to drive with a taxi. Unfortunately the taxi driver didn’t know if Don Bosco Center is in Kimara suka or in Upanga and he drove me to Upanga. He left me there and I met a man and talked to him about my problems, but he was not able to help me. He advised me to go to the police station so that they can help me to reach Friends Don Bosco in Kimara Suka. I went to the police station and told them my problems and they told me I should wait and sit down on a bank.

I stayed in the Police Station for five days without any services from them, sleeping on that bank, thanks God that there was a woman, who gave me some food. One day in the night one policeman came and approached me to marry him but I refused because I was too young to get married. At the next morning I told one Policeman about the night and he decided to help me to get to Kimara Suka. We reached the Friends of Don Bosco Center together. For here I started to see that God was with me. I talked to the brothers about my background and how I reached in Dar es Salaam and they received me without any problems. They also told me to start pre form 1 what I did. I thank god so much, because without his help I would have ended up as a slave in a foreign country.

My ambition is to be a Doctor for Women and God help my Guardians that they get the school fees so that I can have success in my life.

Anna Joseph Lema