|Hanging with Thabo and his best friend|
I was coming to the ceremony from the Peace Corps training village, so Thabo had arranged for one of his teachers to greet me and to store my backpack safely in the staff room for the duration of the event. Miraculously, my host mother, ‘M’e ‘Masekila arrived just after I took my seat and we were able to sit together.
|Reading the program, I was surprised to see my brother was giving a speech!|
|Abuti Thabo giving his speech.|
Later in the ceremony, all the Form E students sang a few songs together on stage. For the final song, they each held a lit candle while they sang. As the song concluded, the students marched off the stage to where their parent or caregiver sat. They gave their candle and a hand written thank you note to their parent. Abuti Thabo gave his candle to ‘M’e ‘Masekila. He had used his stationary to write each of us our own note thanking us for our impact in his life and sharing his love for us. I nearly cried when I read his beautiful words to me.
|'M'e 'Masekila with her candle and thank you note from Abuti Thabo.|
Towards the very end of the ceremony, my energy was dragging. I had eaten a banana and a small bag of peanuts for breakfast at 6am. It was now 2:30pm and I was waiting for things to finish so we could eat lunch! As we moved into awards, the school gave the top performing student from each class a pin commemorating their success. The school only gives out one award aside from academic achievement. With only that and the national anthem between me and the end of the ceremony, I was zoning out. The principal stood and said that the Leadership Award went to Thabo Molisa!
My hunger disappeared as my host brother walked onto the stage to accept this prestigious award! His 800 fellow students screamed their approval loudly as I scrambled to get some photos. Then, my host mother joined him on stage. After he hugged our mother, Abuti Thabo spoke to the principal and then gestured for me to join them on stage as well. As I stood, the student body once again erupted into huge applause. The three of us stood together onstage for a few photos before the principal handed the award to my brother. He kissed is and handed it to me with the quiet instructions to give it to our mother.
|Thabo hugging 'M'e 'Masekila upon receiving his award. Note the trophy still in the hands of the principal. Yeah, he got a fancy engraved trophy too!!|
Still life is not enough to highlight this amazing ceremony-check out the videos!