Archive for August 4th, 2018

August 4, 2018

UCBC Graduation

Campus was lively at the end of July with final presentations and graduation of the fourth year students. It was slightly difficult to concentrate on IRI work because the presentations were happening in the new classrooms in the same block and so there was a lot of applauding and cheering and conversation after each student finished. At the end of one of the days I attended Hortense’s final presentation for her final project. Afterwards there was a lot of cheering and congratulating as we headed over to the lawn for photographs. Her sister and cousin had also come for the event. It was fun to witness this important moment for her.

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On the last Saturday of July I attended the UCBC graduation. I was hosting Jessica’s father Bill for ten days at that time and so we went together at around 8am. While waiting for activities to start we went to sit at the pavilions near the CDP office, but before long we could hear the sound of brass instruments. That was the cue that the graduates had arrived to campus. There is a tradition that the graduates meet in the early morning at the mayors office and march all the way to campus which is no small distance! They were led by three students who made up the UCBC Brigade. When Bill and I found the group they were just arriving down the driveway to campus. It was so fun to take part in the energy and see the graduates dancing and grinning from ear to ear!

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The delegation proceeded to the Hope Tent and soon everyone was seated and the ceremony began. There was some praise and worship, welcoming words, a sermon in Swahili with translation to French (I was proud I could pick out quite a few words in Swahili), and then a long line of speeches and reports from various representatives. The ceremony started at 9am and it was not until 1pm that the graduates started being called up! They called the graduates up in groups by area of study, they walked across the stage and received their diplomas, they lined up in front of the stage, and then a few minutes were given for friends and family to go and congratulate them. People would come up with tinsel garlands and fake flowers to give to their loved-ones. It seemed like a fun way to do things! When it was Hortense’s turn I went up and joined the throng to congratulate her again!

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After some more worship, the UCBC leadership led a prayer for the graduates and then gave closing words. They encouraged the students to go forward and be their best selves and work to transform lives, communities, and situations around them in the same way as God has been transforming them in mind and spirit. In Congo people are often secretive about having higher education, and so the students were encouraged to hang up their diplomas in a visible place and not be afraid to take their place as leaders who bless others with what they have learned!

After the ceremony everyone was invited to visit and celebrate the opening of four new classrooms. By this time it was 3 o-clock! Everyone formed a line and walked through the various spaces, and along the path there were stations offering sodas, grilled meet kabobs, samosas, bananas and pineapple. The new rooms are very well done and it is an exciting milestone in the construction of the community centre.  It was a day full of celebration and new experiences!

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