What a massive day! We arrived for the Commissioning, and I looked for Ivan. He wasn’t there, and people weren’t sure that he was coming. Dan sent someone to get him, and then they had to hunt up a uniform for him, because his was in the wash.
While we were searching for Ivan, the march was ready to begin. We marched along after the marching band (the Mbale school band) and the JPS students. We marched through a slum village, and all the children (and many of the adults) came out to look and march alongside us. The contrast between them with their ragged and dirty clothes and the JPS students (many of whom live in this village or other similar ones nearby) could hardly be greater. Afterwards, they all waited, crowded at the fence, to watch the proceedings…
Which didn’t start for another 2 hours. I read a few chapters of my book and I entertained Ivan, and chatted to more of the invited guests. Parents and community members were still arriving over an hour AFTER we started.
There were a lot of speeches, I made a short one (one of the few short speeches!) about Ivan and his book, then presented it to him. Lots of people made a big fuss of him afterwards for having done such a great thing. Someone was convinced that he was the youngest child writer in Africa, if not the whole world.