Suits and Graduation

Posted by admin - June 25, 2011 - Trip Blog - No Comments
Ernest with his younger brother Daniel before the ceremony.

Ernest with his younger brother Daniel before the ceremony.

Education is obviously important, but I can’t stress enough how important it is in a country like Malawi. Last year the first two students from our program graduated from high school (secondary school in Malawi). Ibra is with us in America and is currently attending Hebron Academy in Maine. Ickber is next to me as I write this. He is currently our assistant director of operations here in Malawi and he is set to begin college in the fall.

I am sitting now at the Mthuzi Secondary School Graduation which is about to begin we think soon (though we have been here for almost two hours waiting for it to begin so we shall see). Two more students from our program are set to graduate today; however only one, Ernest is able to make it to the ceremony. Mphatso, we found out this morning, has come down with Malaria and does not have the strength to participate in the day long ceremony. When we visited him this morning you could see the disappointment he had with his condition, along with the tell tale shakes that come with malaria. We told him that we would visit him after the ceremony.

Right now we are about two miles down the road from the school at an impressive function facility/lodge and we are watching them set up the decorations for the ceremony while the DJ fumbles with his amplifier and microphone. The ceremony takes almost all day and includes speeches, dancing, awards, and singing. Ernest is pacing between his classmates and us, clearly nervous. He is going to sing the final song of the ceremony as a solo so I imagine he is starting to get some butterflies.

While Mphatso will not be at the ceremony, he is most definitely graduating, and for these two boys it is a tremendous accomplishment to do so. Both of them have been side by side for the past four years. Ernest is an orphaned boy who is very charismatic and will one day be a great salesman, or a politician, if not a pop star sensation. He was never the best student, though he worked hard to finish school and I see a much more confident and mature young man than the disorganized but funny boy I met five years ago. He is very proud today and he has every right to be.

Mphatso is much more reserved, but he is also a very focused and reasonable student. He has the qualities to make a great leader as he listens very well to people. I get the sense that when he really comes into his own, he is going to be a force to reckon with. It is a shame he can’t be here but it takes nothing away from what he has accomplished.

I am very lucky to be here and I know that many of the people who have met these boys when they visited Malawi would be very proud to see what they are accomplishing here today. I know that Kelley would be very proud as she is the one that brought them to this school this year and she helped support them when they needed a lot. They are very grateful. And for Janet, these have always been her boys and I know she is so proud. This is not only Ernest and Mphatso’s moment, but it should be celebrated by everyone who helped these boys get to this point.

From them, Thank you.

From us, congratulations.

Ernest with his diploma at the end of the cememony.

Ernest with his diploma at the end of the cememony.