A Party for our Students
We made the announcement about our intention to have a joint party a few weeks before the end of this semester. Janice's math students had a meeting and decided that the best time was the last day of classes. So our party was held on June 5, Wednesday, at 4pm in the afternoon. Everyone in our present classes was invited, however, some students from last semester came anyway. Janice made the arrangements to have drinks from the Staff Canteen, and ordered six different food items from a friend who is in the catering service business. Tom's students were quite organized, as they had chosen a master of ceremony and prepared quite a number of songs and dances for the occasion. For many of the songs they wrote the words themselves to say thanks and show their appreciation. It was quite impressive! The most fun part was when students were asked to tell something they liked about the classes after their class representatives first thanked us for our teaching at UB. They had collected quite a number of things we did in the classes of which we were not aware. For example, one imitated Tom's saying "that's another story", and another about Janice's phase " let me see" . They are also were impressed by the fact that both J and T would clear the blackboard at the beginning and the end of each class. Other professors here do not have the habit of erasing their dirty blackboards before they leave.
Tom had been promising all year to sing for his students so he made good on the promise and sang "To Dream the Impossible Dream" for them (with no accompaniment of any kind and with the words dragged up from memory!). We both thought that the words are very appropriate for these students and, in fact, at least one student has asked Tom to write out the tune for her so that she can learn to sing it.
Then our students showered us with gifts. Many of them are in quite tight financial situations so their kind generosity made us feel a bit uncomfortable. After more songs and dances, we served our food and drinks. We had different soft drinks and six finger food items, which included chicken (a delicacy here), fish cakes, roasted peanuts, doughnuts, sandwiches, and a pastry made from bananas and cassava . Since we came to Cameroon, we have gone to many parties but they were all dinner parties. We had not been to a party which just included some drinks and finger food Therefore our party also had some main items, so that students did not need to eat another meal that night.
At the end, we took pictures, a lot of pictures. They love to take pictures with us. And we certainly have taken a lot of pictures with them. There are many "professional" photographers around campus. They will come to take your picture whenever you want or need to have one taken. Many of them were pressed into service that night, and, of course, Tom's camera was in constant use.
We think you can see from the pictures this week that we have had a very good relationship with our students here and we will miss them when we return to the U.S. They are, for the most part, hard working and serious about their work - and very pleasant to be around!