Who Do You Want To Be? A Global School Experience inviting young people to discover a path toward the fullness of life.Participate here
By Bokop Obac Thabo Ajameng
Apr 13th, 2016

 

            I, like many other boys and girls in South Sudan, went through a primary education (standard 1-8) system where Arabic was the medium of instruction. My family, friends, and I have had, for a long time, had a burning desire to speak and write in English. Arabic has been part of my consciousness since I was a child yet my country, after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Khartoum government and us southerners in 2005 and the subsequent independence in 2011 decided to change from the use of Arabic in our education system.

            I enrolled at Loyola Secondary School in the preparatory class in 2010. Loyola is the best school in Wau and so I was proud to be accepted to join. The preparatory class is dedicated to teaching Arabic speaking student how to write and read English. Since I had little or no English in my previous school, I had difficulty in adapting to my new situation at Loyola, where English is the medium of instruction.

            My inability to freely express myself in English made me uncomfortable with those students who spoke the language with confidence and ease. I longed to be like them. Although I must confess, I felt small before them. My teachers were patient, kind, and compassionate to me, as they initiated me in this new language. Slowly, I began to pick up. Slowly I began to utter isolated English words, coupled with grammatically incorrect sentences. I never gave up during these awkward moments; I soldiered on!

            My coming from a different State in South Sudan (Upper Nile) to Western Bahr el Ghazal, posed another problem. How could I mix with students whose way of life was miles away from that of my people? Some of these students spoke better English, something that made me drift even further from them. My efforts inside and outside the classroom helped me to overcome the timidity that had handicapped me during my first days at Loyola. Now, I can express myself confidently in English. I have made many friends most of whom are not from my State nor my tribe, for tribalism has no place in Loyola. Loyola has taught me how to live in harmony with people who are not from my tribe. I am happy for this achievement, although, I am acutely aware that I have to fight even harder to achieve my goal.

            On another note, Loyola Secondary School, like many other good schools has extracurricular activities in the form of clubs such as Science Club, United Nations and Diversity, football and volleyball. How can I forget special days like Loyola Day (Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola), celebrated on July 31, of every year? Loyola Day is one of the days that all in the school look forward. This day, we students can showcase out talents and achievements. Many people around Wau come to witness the greatness of our school on that day. Also, our school has a well-equipped library where students can study in quiet. We also participate in spiritual activities that help build our souls too. We are educated in the mind, but also in our hearts.

            To my fellow students, I say that the road that leads to success in education is long and rough. It is full of discouragements. Education is the path that will lead our county to prosperity and lasting peace. The lazy and fearful cannot walk on that path. As our parents, brothers and sisters, and friends walked a painfully dangerous and more difficult path to free our country from captivity. Therefore, may we, their children, arm ourselves well for the battle before us. It well befits us, then, to toughen ourselves knowing the nature of our struggle and its hazards.

            With hard work as our sword, patience and perseverance as our shield, self-discipline as our breastplate, and in cooperation with our teachers let us root out illiteracy from South Sudan, once and for all. Let it not be in years to come, that our country will still lack qualified doctors, teachers, accountants, and lawyers and other professionals, as is the case now. We are the soldiers on the battlefield, and we must prove ourselves to be worthy of the battle. It is either now or never.

            To my fellow female students, let us take our education seriously. I am happy that as a girl, I have a chance to receive an education. Many girls do not get this chance because of early marriages that take place in our society. Let us not waste this opportunity to show that we girls can make a difference in our society.

 

Bokop Obac Thabo Ajameng is an alumnus of Loyola Secondary School, 2014 class. She was the second best student in the South Sudan Certificate of Secondary Education (SSCE) in 2015. She is now enrolled at Baraton University in Kenya.