Our students technically finish school in November, but the school holds their graduation in late September. We attended a small graduation ceremony for the students during our first weekend here. However, this ceremony was much more involved and much larger. All the parents attended and there was far more entertainment involved. The ceremony in itself was very different from an American graduation ceremony. First of all, there is no large venue to hold 1,000 people. So, the students constructed this amazing outdoor venue over the course of 2-3 days prior to the ceremony. During the ceremony morning, I assisted with the decorations committee to pretty it all up with pieces of fabric and balloons.
Jon was technically on the food committee because after the graduation, they feed all the students and parents. After decorating, I joined the food committee mostly because it was amazing to witness everyone cooking for 1,000 people. They had about 10 bonfires going in which they just set HUGE cooking pots up and cooked for about 6 –8 hours straight. I helped cut up some of the food, but overall, there were too many cooks in the outdoors kitchen.
Jon and I were on the “honored guests” podium. Basically, the students do a bunch of performances from singing to dancing, the honored guests do speeches, and they give out certificates to the students. Then, the students all go to take their pictures. The ceremony lasts about 4 hours. This year’s ceremony wasn’t all that special to us since we don’t know the students graduating. However, it was a great cultural experience and great way to bond with the teachers during the preparation. We look forward to next year’s, where hopefully we will know the students much better!