Here’s a couple fun videos of what our Ethiopian graduation looks like:
A sunny day is always helpful. All the lining up and parading around happens there. Students are mostly in their new shiny suits and the ladies in dresses with freshly-done-up hair. Graduation is big here. It reminds me of high school prom in the school decorations, hair-dos, dressing up . . . If the students have families, the kids are all present to see their parents’ big day. Since sunup, the guards and other school workers have been cooking a goat and chopping vegetables for the big meal afterward. The guards bought the goat at the market and slaughtered it the night before.
Very suprising (to me anyway) we started almost on time, and kept pretty close to the program. After breakfast of bread, eggs, and tea, we all milled around outside the dining hall, lining up the students, waiting for 9:00 to arrive. With much singing and the slowest parade march, we made our way like the Israelites at Jericho to the church. The graduation program was scheduled for 3 and 1/2 hours, and the building celebration another 1 hour. Then lunch.
At meetings like these the “greetings” at the introduction of every person go quite long and get quite repetitive. But that’s how Ethiopian greetings go in general, so it’s not too surprising. “Dear graduates, diploma students, degree students, families, church members, Dr. Kursie head of Kale Heywet Church general secretary . . .” And so goes the beginning of each of the several segments of the program.
After the program (including a VERY good sermon by the Kale Heywet Church general secretary! If only I’d understood more of it!) we made our way to the new buildings for a ribbon cutting. After several years, they are finally completed. The humid sky and onlooking clouds finally decided to send a brief shower–for which a few people silently thanked the Lord–and the ceremony was held to 15 minutes.
So we quickly moved on to a scrumptious lunch of injera bread with meat sauces and vegetable dishes. Students quickly cleared out as soon as this was over because they had to get their families to town in order to catch buses to their own towns.