Minnesota ‘saint’ gardener uses plant sales to transform lives of youngsters in Tanzania

The following appeared in the “Homes & Gardening” section of the Star Tribune on March 21, 2021.

Roseville nurse and her plant sales support a school that is raising a nation in Tanzania.

By Rohan Preston Star Tribune

In January 2017, Bethany Husby traveled with her family to Tanzania for a safari vacation that doubled as her 55th birthday celebration. Besides bonding and quality time, the group hoped to see and photograph lions, rhinos and giraffes.

But capturing charismatic megafauna was far from Husby’s only indelible experience. As she was buying stamps for a postcard to send back to America, Husby struck up a conversation with the sales clerk, a shy young man about the age of one of her three sons, who was bursting with educational dreams.

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Roseville woman plants flower that blooms into a school in Africa

The following is an article written by Vonny Rohloff that appeared in the Roseville Review on Tue, 09/17/2019

Roseville resident Bethany Husby with students at the Bethany Pre and Primary School in Kisongo, Tanzania, Africa. (courtesy of Bethany Husby)

Ordinary people can sometimes do extraordinary things — such as Bethany Husby, a Roseville wife, mother and career nurse; an ordinary woman who started a school in Africa. 

From a plant sale in Roseville, Minnesota, grew an elementary school in Kisongo, Tanzania.

The story starts in January 2017 when Husby and her family were on a safari vacation in Tanzania. 

“I met a young man, Emmanuel Boaz, in the gift shop at one of the lodges where we stayed,” she says.

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A Life-Changing Gift

The following was originally posted on Grand Circle Travel’s website.

By Bethany H., first-time traveler from Roseville, MN

Bethany noticed that Emanuel wouldn’t smile with his teeth showing when they first met.

In January 2017, while on an Overseas Adventure Travel trip, I met Emanuel, who was working in a gift shop at the Ngorongoro Farm Valley Lodge in Karatu, Tanzania. I only needed to buy a postcard stamp, but we ended up talking for 45 minutes. I could see there was something special about him. He told me about how he was almost done with training to become a safari guide, but he put that on hold when he came upon this job at the gift shop that allows him to send money home to help pay for his younger brother’s education. Emanuel was so friendly and engaging, but he covered his mouth when talking and he would not smile with his teeth showing. There were yellowish areas on his teeth, and I could tell he was self-conscious about how they looked. I later discovered that, like many Tanzanian people, his teeth were affected by fluorosis at a young age, causing the pitting and yellowing; at age 25, he had never been to a dentist. I decided I had to help him get the smile he deserved. I had faced issues with my own teeth growing up, so I knew how he felt.

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And so it begins: Supplies purchased, delivered and ground is broken!!!

Monday, September 11th

Emanuel and Arlene go to the bank, and then to the store to purchase supplies.

Tuesday, September 12th

The purchased supplies of sand and bricks (cement blocks) are delivered to the site.

Items delivered and costs:

Bricks 2000 — $1,378

Cement 100 bags — $551 

Steel 50 pieces, 10mm — $264, Steel 30 pieces, 6mm — $76, Binding wire 10 pieces — $14

Nails — $15

2 truck loads of sand — $368

Transportation — $18

Emanuel has to pay in cash each day the bills for the day. He is keeping fabulous records!