Posts tagged ‘events’

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.


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!



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!


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!

Tags: , ,
October 24, 2017

Impact Engineered

In mid-October I had the opportunity to go to an event hosted by Engineering for Change (E4C) in New York called Impact Engineered. Even though it wasn’t a regular part of the E4C fellowship that I did over the summer, it was a great way to wrap up the experience with them. Impact Engineered was a half-day event that brought together mechanical engineers, policy-makers, and global development practitioners across multiple sectors, to share and celebrate work that is happening in the domain of technology for development around the world. The event was also partnered with an event for the ISHOW (Innovation Showcase) finalists. The E4C fellows were invited to come a day early to help interview the finalists to see if their products would be appropriate for inclusion in the E4C Solutions Library database. It was a great opportunity to meet the finalists from India, Africa, and the USA, who have designed products that have the potential to alleviate poverty. The innovations included (in India) a compact sanitary pad making machine, a neonatal breathing device, a braille reading and writing tool, (in Africa) a malaria diagnostic tool, a science set, a sign-language to speech translation glove, (in the US) a clean cookstove, a portable eyeglass prescription device, and a low-cost mobile refrigerator. That evening we had an informal dinner so that we had a chance to continue talking and networking.

The Impact Engineered event was held the next day at the Centre for Social Innovation. It didn’t start until the afternoon and so Grace, a fellow E4C researcher, and I decided to work a bit at a cafe in the morning and then walk across town to get there. I introduced Grace to the Highline which was very close by to the venue and saw the Zaha building almost complete and the Shed still under construction. The Centre for Social Innovation is located in an old industrial building that had been transformed into a creative and flexible work and event space. There were options to participate in a main group of presentations or break off into smaller workshops depending on our interest. Themes included discussing how to enable an ecosystem for social impact, what engineering for 2050 might look like, and case studies of different solutions being implemented around the world. After the sessions there was an awards ceremony and a reception. I met many interesting people including a few designers and construction material experts who I interviewed during my research fellowship! It was also nice to spend more time with the other E4C fellows who attended. After the event we were pretty fatigued, but hungry, and so Grace and I went to a bar around the corner from our hotel where we had a good meal, shots on the house, and I learned that in the US they call mixed drinks with the cheapest liquor “well drinks”. The following morning I headed home already and by the afternoon was back at work!


E4C research fellows reunited!

December 30, 2015

Raptors Game

In November I went to my first ever Raptors game. It could actually be considered my first ever professional sports game. I went with my work colleagues because we were given tickets by one of our clients. The seats we had were amazing! It was cool to finally experience being in a large stadium and seeing how the building was organized. The game was incredibly close which made it exciting to watch! Near the end of the game they were calling time-outs every few minutes because it would be so easy for the game to tip in the favour of either team. I could see the amount of strategy that was involved. The Raptors were better at manoeuvring and passing to get close to the net, but the Knicks kept getting three pointers. Because we were behind the net, we got free blow-up noise-makers for whenever the Knicks would take a penalty shot in our end. They must do so much training to maintain focus during the ruckus! The Knicks won with only a two point lead.

Stones throw

Work colleagues

Near the end of the game I somehow managed to give myself the most bizarre and embarrassing injury (second only to walking into a hole in the road on the streets of Kampala). During time-outs the mascot and cheerleaders would come out and throw free T-shirts into the crowd. I reached out to catch one that was coming my way (the guy beside me got it in the end) and as I did I sort of half stood up and then sat down hard. I somehow managed to come down and sit right on the edge of my phone! Ouch! I swallowed the pain and and managed to hide it as we left the stadium and even went out for drinks, but when I got home my ass was swollen and black and blue! I was walking funny for almost a week! Excluding my injury it was a great night. Next time I think I’ll just avoid getting swept up in the fandom so that I don’t get distracted, since that is when I usually hurt myself. :P