It was a sunny Sunday! We were all dressed in a colourful attire! But blue was the dominating colour! And the sky was blue. Perched in the middle was a tent hosting the table, a table not like others, but the table of the Lord. Some call it the altar, others the throne of grace! Ours was a throne of grace. Indeed, we were graced to be there, and we long to belong to the Graceland!

On either side of the tent –not the tent of the meeting, although some meetings took place there- the tent housing the throne of grace, two other tents were pitched, with people in varied colourful attires. On the one side, one could easily see white garments, or white robes, like the one the book of Apocalypse describes. Those wearing the white garments were not as numerous as the book of Apocalypse puts it, but we numbered around one hundred and fifty two people. Eighteen of them were to be plunged into the fount, to be born not of the flesh, but of water and spirit. I saw six youngsters and twelve babies, all ready to be welcomed in the community that shares one creed. I saw also around fifty six people longing to partake to the table of the Lord. No wonder their eyes were always fixed on the tent of the meeting! Alas, the throne of grace. I also saw seventy-eight people craving to be sealed with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the initiation process takes root each and every year in this small village of ours.

Of the three groups of the people mentioned above, the first and the third were unique. Well, each group was unique. With these two groups, a scent of holy oils diffused around! It was a scent that comes from above. A scent that emanates from on high. But the giver of that scent, the giver par excellence gave himself on the table of the grace. He gave them bread from heaven as the first reading of the occasion put it!

Behind the white garments, one could easily see a group of twenty eighty people: twenty four girls and four boys. They were dressed to kill had it not been the blue and white garments and blue hoods they put on. These we call the pioneers of the senior or high school. They are now the alumni. Some have been with us for the last nine years. Most of them have been here for the past six years toiling in classes on the other gate of Saint Ignace, or as they say, Saint Ignatius!

On the other side of the throne of grace, another tent was pitched. This housed people with melodious voices and the ones we often call godparents. They all gathered for a celebration. Life has to be celebrated. Success, joy, any form of achievement have to be celebrated.

In front of the throne of grace, I saw a large tent, housing around one thousand and two hundred people or more. Majority were youngsters and their parents and teachers. And in the throne of grace there were a number of men, all dressed in white garments, pronouncing words of blessings and breaking the manna of the day! We all ate and drank.

There came a group of dancers and I recalled the moments when feasts are flavoured with dance. The dancers entertained the congregants! When I thought that the party was over, one of those men around the table of grace, which had become a table of speech, gave a welcoming note. We all sat down and enjoyed the party.  Then I saw beautiful kids marching and singing. They all marched on the same tune, just like soldiers do. One boy in blue garment and hood came in front and called upon his crew. Together, they praised the time they have spent in this village, under the tree of wisdom. They thanked their teachers and mentors and all who thought of planting the tree on this village. And above all, they thanked their Maker and Sustainer.

A story had to be told once again. A group of learners, aged ten came in front, and recited the fame of their nesting. They all said in one accord that they are of the same age with their nest! They all came here with their milk teeth, some of them were starting to lose those precious teeth. These youngsters are now ten years old, the year their school has reached.

Then another group of senior pupils came. They reminded the congregants how kids themselves formulated the educative project. They also reminded the parents of their role in the education of children. They did this in three languages –English, French and Kinyarwanda. We all clapped for them.

One of the parents whose kid wore the white garment stood to tell his story. His was a story of gratitude to God who put in the hearts of the Jesuits the idea of nurturing the kids on this hill. He also thanked each and every parent for bringing their children here. As he put it, kids do not only learn from books. They learn also from their hearts. The address of this parent was welcomed by a dance of primary school kids who entertained all of us and invited some of us to rethink of how we used to dance!

I always thought that a dance like that marks the end of the celebration. I was wrong. One of the elders, who has spent her ten years nurturing and educating the kids gave her version. Hers was full of songs of thanksgiving. I remember one song that goes like ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one.’ Yes, ten years of shaping people’s minds is a blessing. May we always learn to count more blessings and not glory ourselves in them, but glorify the Giver of them!

Those who were initiated each in his or her level, received gifts prepared for them by those who made sure they were ready for the initiation. Those who were the pioneers of the senior school received also gifts prepared for them by their gurus! Then followed another round of thanks by one of ours who keeps vigil at our senior gate, for there are two gates! He thanked all people gathered there and all the teachers and mentors of the senior gate!

The all awaited address was from the Guru of the RWB! He was the one leading the men in white garments at the table of the Lord. Now he came to rephrase his joy and happiness. He also thanked those who initiated the project of putting up a structure that catered for the education of the people around this hill. He was the only one around among those who started it. One has gone to meet his Maker, two more are still around, but were not present at the gala. He also thanked the Goboka Association for giving us the land and making sure all that was needed was provided. Goboka yaratugobotse, we firmly say! So many praises were uttered. The sun had become stronger, leaning towards the west. Some were feeling the light weight of their stomach. It was time to call it a day.

Some called it a day, others called it a way! A few selected ones followed a way to the other gate where a sumptuous meal was prepared for them. Staff members, supporting staff, Jesuits, alumni of the senior school and their parents, former teachers of the primary school, and other invited guests, all found their way in this second session! They all shared joy and happiness, success and achievements. And by surprise, one of the founding team of the project found his way there. What a joy! Because the meal was so delicious, we gave little time to speeches. A few took the stage. The first was one woman who has been part of the school from its inception, and who followed the pioneers of the senior school at the other gate. She narrated her story. And every story is unique. But she stressed on the climate that reigns at school, a climate marked by respect and appreciation. She also reminded the employers of the fluctuation of the prices at the market, hence, the need to revisit the wages.

The surprise again took us when the former Guru of the RWB also was given time to address those gathered around a glass of wine, oops and of beer! He emphasized the importance of celebrating ten years. We have to look behind with gratitude, look at the present with firmness, and at the future with hope. It is of course time to celebrate, but also to rethink of what to do in the future. This Guru also gave a piece of advice to the alumni. There was also a time to thank those who have been at this very school for the past ten years up to now. They each received a certificate and a box which contained something I am unaware of! Then the current Guru gave his blessings and we parted, all full of joy. It was getting dark. I hope my pleonasm did not disturb the readers!

For the Greater Glory of God

Jean Damascène Bavugayabo, SJ