Sister Rebecca Nyaki
Location: Center, NY
Rebecca Nyaki was born September 19, 1975 in Mandeka in Moshi, Tanzania to Maria Joseph and Joseph Nyaki. She had 1 brother, Blass and 7 sisters: Chrisantha, Magreth, Euphrasia, Gudila, Eliakunda, Lucy and Redempter. She graduated from Mkwawa High School in Iringa, Tanzania in 1998.
To help others with health needs, she became a physiotherapist, receiving her Diploma from the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, Kilimanjaro in 2001.
Rebecca (Becky) Nyaki entered the Maryknoll Sisters on August 8, 2002 at the Sisters Center in NY. She professed First Vows August 27, 2006 at the Center and Final Vows September 8, 2012 also at the Center. After her First Vows, she was assigned to the Eastern U.S. region in January 2007. After discernment with the four seasoned Maryknoll Sister missioners working in Hendersonville, North Carolina, she joined them learning more about the American culture while the other Maryknoll Sisters learned more about African culture and even some Swahili expressions.
Responding to the priority needs of pre-school education and immigration, she volunteered at a public school in a preschoolers program of four-year-old children, mostly from Latin America and who hardly spoke English. With her characteristic good humor, she said, “We are learning from each other as I can hardly speak Spanish!” She also volunteered at a physical therapy rehab office. As a trained physiotherapist, she applied for certification in North Carolina.
Sister Rebecca joined with ‘Women Build’, an effort of Habitat for Humanity to help finish a house constructed solely by women for a family of eight in Henderson County. When Hurricane Gustav struck, Sister Rebecca and another Maryknoll Sister rushed to the U.S. Gulf Coast region as volunteers serving with the American Red Cross chapter of Henderson County. Sister Rebecca helped more than 2,700 people who had taken shelter at Louisiana State University in Alexandria. When this shelter closed, she helped evacuees assess the damage to their storm-ravaged homes.
In her eight years in North Carolina, Sister Rebecca learned much about the spirit of American volunteerism, more needed than ever. She said that Hendersonville reminded her of her home in Tanzania on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, “The beauty of the place took me home—the mountains, the people are more laid back and very welcoming.”
In 2017, Sister Becky returned to the Center in NY to give Congregational Service working with immigrants at the Center and in the Eastern US region.