FELIX Mollel applied six times before he got a job as a bus driver.
He was only as educated as the kids he drove on the school route near Arusha in the central African nation of Tanzania.
But the job wasn’t enough. Felix wanted more, despite already being one of a lucky few to find work in a land where jobs are rare.
Students on the bus started teaching him English — something he needed if he wanted to get a job in the school itself.
This is the beginning of Felix’s story and the rest he can recall in perfect English sitting inside a warm Grassmere classroom yesterday.
“I was determined to work my way up. It was very hard for me to get a job,” he told The Standard.
It just so happened the school where Felix found work was opened by an Australian woman in 2002. It had just three students. There are well over 1800 there now.
Many supporters of the School of St Jude are Aussies, including a handful in the south-west where Felix arrived yesterday as the school’s ambassador to the world.
There are some interesting local links with the school. Inside the Grassmere classroom are Betty and Doug Moore whose daughter Barbara Kerr volunteered there for several years.
“The school started with only three students and after 12 years the school is offering free high-quality education,” Felix said. “We travel around to meet some of our wonderful supporters and tell about our fight against poverty.”
For the majority of poor students in Tanzania, public school means being thrown into a class of over 100 students to a single teacher.
“We’re very lucky to have the School of St Jude ... now you can see students from poor families get a good education,” Felix said. Felix’s people of the Arusha region would be instantly recognisable to most Australians — it’s the home of the Maasai warriors famous for their culture, dress and ceremonies that involve a lot of jumping.