graduation

i’ve been super busy lately, running back and forth to kigali. with the year wrapping up and people taking off to different parts of the world, there are still papers to correct, projects to finish, meetings to be held, parties to organize.

so thursday morning crack of dawn i dragged myself out of bed, down the mountain, and onto a bus with an empty backpack and my flash disk, bound for civilization – stationary shops, printers, and photocopy machines. my mission, as i chose to accept it, was to create certificates for my IT class. the day before i’d locked myself into the computer lab with a thermos of tea for about seven hours to do intense one-to-one practical/oral exams with the students. of 36 kids, 12 received distinction, 10 satisfactory. the certificates i was to create might help them get jobs in the months to come.

so. into town. hit the paper shop. haggle with the rasta behind the counter. back to the vso office. locate new printer cartridge despite office supply person nowhere to be found. flash disk full of viruses. oh well. print certificates, stuff them in still relatively empty bag, jump on bus and i’m off to the market. cabbage, peanuts, avocado, onions, garlic, bread. backpack crammed to the brim. on a moto, pull up at bus station with five minutes to spare. cajole friendly bus man into finding me a seat, squish in cozy with knees up to chin and heavy bag obscuring view. forty minutes of holding my breath while feet fall asleep. bang on ceiling of bus to let me out. drag myself up the hill with heavy bag pulling me down.

why all of this you ask? on friday the senior sixes threw themselves a graduation party, complete with speeches, gifts, food and photos. i spoke, gave out my certificates, received a gift from the class, had my pictures taken with nearly each one of 60-odd students, and contributed a vat of my famous guacamole which i’d been promising them for weeks. after the speeches had died down and the authorities taken off, amanda and i stayed with the students late into the night for music and dancing and a real goodbye. the rwandan penchant for speeches and staged photos aside, it was like any graduation party back home, except that for the first time in my life, i was on the teacher side of it, having to send off students who’ve been my friends over the last year, off into the void of high unemployment and slim chances at university study.

here are some pictures – the same faces which you’ve seen before in uniform or sweaty sports garb, now transformed into full-grown men and women, the graduates of 2007.

awaiting certificates ladies and gentlemen gift giving

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~ by aliciawolcott on October 21, 2007.

One Response to “graduation”

  1. hi,i thank you very much for your certificate because by it i have just get job.I’m receptionist of a hotel(procure d’accueille Kigali)

    thanks.

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