Tomorrow is graduation day at Mwanza Bible College; we will be graduating 69 students (Three year diploma level). We believe this is the largest class that has ever graduated from any of our 5 Bible colleges here in Tanzania. We are anticipating about 500 people on the campus tomorrow for this special day; there will be less if it rains since about half of them will have to stand/sit outside. Our chapel will hold about 250 people packed like sardines with NO standing room; there are no fire Marshall’s or fire codes to prevent a truly “packed” house.
It has been a week of activity; finals, grading papers, grade reports, decorating, buying food, buying gifts, washing and pressing robes, fitting robes, rehearsals, preparing diplomas, acquiring a generator (power is off frequently), buying food to feed a multitude, renting chairs and tables, and a multitude of other tasks.
We are thankful for the wonderful staff and faculty we have who, in typical Tanzanian style, do not get flustered, stressed or frazzled. They patiently take everything as it comes and make adjustments when necessary. In fact, they seem to expect last minute changes and adjustments and handle them with grace and acceptance. I am trying to learn to be more like them in this area and although I have not arrived there yet, I am getting better.
We had several practices with our students as we worked on the task of getting in and out of the chapel with dignity, grace and rhythm. They selected a song for their procession and then practiced keeping in step with the music. The younger students wanted a more complicated routine for the procession but the older students (the oldest being in his seventies) wanted a less complicated routine. Tanzanians don’t just “march in” or “file in” they move in sync with the music and can get quite elaborate in their choreography. We settled for a simple procession with simple choreography.
The above picture is one of several practice processions made from the library to the chapel; some of them were done in the rain.
Tomorrow is a big day! I’ll let you know how our biggest graduation for the college and our first graduation as “Mkuu wa Chuo” (Principal) and Mama Mkuu (Mrs. Principal) goes.