Tanzania Testing Day

by | May 8, 2024

Feature article from National Catholic Register…

Tanzania Testing Day: A Child’s Chance to Escape Poverty and Danger

Once a year in Tanzania, on its world-forgotten islands, unvisited mountainsides, and in jungles and brush with man-eating animals, the Sisters of Mary enter some of the most dangerous villages in Africa to recruit their incoming class.

This is testing day for Tanzania’s poor. When a white-habited nun escorts a child to a wobbly bench or old wooden chair, each youngster sees the sheet of paper that could change everything. The remainder of their lives hinges on how they will answer the multiple-choice questions before them, they’ve been told.

Because the nuns from the Sisters of Mary of Banneux, who number 383 sisters worldwide, know the weight and strain that hangs in the air, they make a point to speak tenderly to the young test-takers, a mix of pre-teens and 13- and 14-year-olds. It often happens that just as the students reach for their pencils, they’ll be distracted by the rumblings of their stomachs or clouds of mosquitoes. It’s a fraught moment: A single confusing question will often begin a twisting kaleidoscope of doubt. I am failing; I will not make it.

But if a child later hears his or her name called, they will often say it seemed God — not a nun from the Sisters of Mary — called and plucked them from a tomb in the manner of Jesus summoning Lazarus.

Read full article here….

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