News from Burundi
On the feast of St John the Evangelist, there was a colourful and a breathtaking farewell ceremony at the grounds of St Francis Parish in Butimba, Mwanza. The environment was filled with a lovely combination of colours of decoration and graduation gowns. The air was filled with dust coming from the traditional dances performed by the nursery school leavers and the rejoicing parents. The ceremony was crowned by the active participation and celebration of the most Holy Eucharist with the Hosts of Angels. Lest it be forgotten, the ceremony was graced by a beauty pageant performed by the nursery school leavers.
We are reminded by various great minds throughout history that education is the key to life. Becoming educated is a life long process. Henry Ford understands it in this way, “anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty whereas, anyone who keeps learning stays younger.” Yes, it can be hard and frustrating at times but it can also be incredibly exciting and enriching. Aristotle would say that, “the roots of education are better, but the fruits are very sweet.” Most importantly education can help us in changing the world by becoming better people and reaching our potentials. For our late wise man Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World.” Therefore, education has to be taken seriously, and if you think education is expensive try ignorance!
On the 27th December, 2013 a farewell ceremony was held at our Nursery School (Chekechea) known as “Kituo cha Ndugu Wadogo”. It was amazing seeing small children in graduates’ gowns, a tradition which is firmly taking root in such ceremonies. They were full of joy and happiness to celebrate their two years of nursery school program. Indeed it can be said that they were celebrating their beginning of the educational journey. In other words they were harvesting what they had planted in that span of two years. This joy was vividly marked by the smiling faces of their parents, rejoicing at the results of their children. You may think that it is an exaggeration, but when you see a small child is able to read confidently in public you will be stricken with wonder!
We started with Holy Mass in which the leavers were involved in the liturgy through readings and intercessions. After Mass, the leavers displayed their abundance of talents. Through various energetic traditional dances, they proved to us that they are not behind when it pertains to traditions. They danced until nobody felt the urge to leave the place. They also showed us that they are updated when they performed a beauty pageant. Some of them dared to express their wishes concerning their future careers and you could see that there was no joke, I mean not even one was cheap.
Those who took speeches reminded parents of their duties towards children. That is, the formal education they are receiving is a continuation of the informal one fetched from their parents. On the other hand, parents expressed importunately that friars should open a primary school. This is due to the fact that a child who finishes here is far much ahead of other pupils when they begin primary school owned by the government. The parish priest Fr. Agustus Byaruhanga OFM, responded favourably to most of the wishes presented by the parents. Concerning the expansion of the school, he was clear that in the time being the means to undertake that project are not yet feasible.
The school was officially started in 1997 with only 20 children. In 2002 the school was stopped because of several reasons. These included the situation of classes, teaching equipments of the school, and a lack of trained teachers in the field of early childhood development. In 2005 the school was reopened. It was officially inaugurated by his Lordship the Late Archbishop Anthony Mayala on the 3rd of January, 2005. It was to be known as, Kituo Cha Ndugu Wadogo. It started with 60 children, 3 workers, 2 qualified teachers and one cook for the children. The school follows Montessori system.
Those who have been directors since it started are:
•Friar Gianfrancesco Sisto 2006
•Friar Michael Oyoo (2007-2009)
•Friar Oscar Girardi (2009)
•Friar Joy Devassy (2009-2012)
•Friar Peter Mwangi (2012-2013)
•Friar Pelagio Kaweri (2012 up to date)