Birthday: February 8, 2001
School: University of Dodoma, Biology, 2nd year
Upendo is from Usa River, a town about thirty minutes west of Arusha. Her father used to be a carpenter before he became ill with threat cancer and had to stop working. Her mother used to work as the cook at Upendo Primary School, a local primary school that Upendo also attended, but was forced to quit her job in order to care for Upendo’s father. For now, the family gets some subsistence crops from a farm tended by Upendo’s mother a few miles from the house but little else. Upendo has three siblings, the eldest of which stays at home with Upendo’s parents due to a mental disability.
Despite these difficult circumstances, Upendo, whose name in Swahili means “love” is a sweet and indeed very lovely girl. She might come off as quiet at first but quickly livens up when playing games or sharing jokes with friends. She loves card games and it is common to hear her laughter throughout the house when she is playing cards. Her close friend is Hellen, and the two often study or sit together. In school Upendo enjoys science subjects and when asked will say she aspires to be an optician.