On 27th May 2022, Eric MUNYESHEMA, NSJ, Bonaventure NIMBONA, NSJ, Vincent NSABIMANA, NSJ, Pacifique IRADUKUNDA, NSJ and I, Bienvenu Eugene RUGIRA, NSJ departed the novitiate for their experiment. While Eric and Bonaventure went to Bujumbura, Pacifique, Vincent, and I went to Kigali to wait for our flight to Harare.
On 1st June, we flew to Harare. We were warmly welcomed in the sub-communities of Arrupe Jesuit Community where we spent almost a week. With the help of our elder brothers, we got used to the environment of Mount Pleasant. On 5th June, we travelled to Makumbi Mission where we spent one month and a half of the experiment of English immersion.
I would like to divide my experience into 3 parts
- My integration into the Zimbabwean life,
- The weather
- The course of English.
First of all, concerning my integration into the Zimbabwean life, I found that there is no big difference from my native Rwandese lifestyle. Now I am used to every day’s Sadza. For a Zimbabwean, no Sadza no meal! I was faced with the challenge of language barrier because most Zimbabweans speak Shona. It was difficult to interact with some people like barbers and traders when I was in need. It was the same for masses, especially Friday and Sunday masses.
They were celebrated in Shona and I could not catch anything. Moreover, we are still discovering this new culture. For example, in our Rwandan culture, we were used to greeting each other with handshakes, but for Zimbabweans, from what we experienced, it seems not to be in their culture.
For them, when you want to greet someone older than you, you join tightly together the fingers of each hand and clap. Therefore, we are still discovering a lot about their culture and assimilating into it. Furthermore, as far as the weather is concerned, it’s different from the one in Rwanda. From my arrival up to now, I am still experiencing the coldness that I had never experienced in Rwanda. The sun shines but it remains cold and we don’t put off our warm jackets during the day.
As for the course of English, we had a good experience. I can’t say that we started from scratch because we did our secondary education studies in English. Although we did our studies in English, we needed that English Immersion. Often, we can be using a given language academically and pretend to know it.
In this immersion, I discovered that to master a language is to practice it; otherwise, someone could find himself unable to communicate. Therefore, our English was leaning on four pillars: Reading, writing, listening, and speaking. By ways of self-evaluation, I find that I put forth the spirit of MAGIS which is one of the qualities that should characterize all Jesuits.
Nowadays, our improvement in the four pillars of English is remarkable. After one month and a half at Makumbi Mission, we are back at Arrupe Jesuit University and we are following the orientation program. Soon we will start our studies of Philosophy. I am certain that our immersion will play a great role in our studies. Our focus is to fix constantly our sight on MAGIS in all for the Greater Glory of God.
Moreover, during the time of the Immersion, we did our eight days retreat which helped us to revisit our relationship with God who invites us to be the companions of his Son. This retreat consoled me and strengthened immensely my relationship with God.
I would like to thank sincerely all the people who played a role in our experiment. Firstly, I thank the members of the Jesuit community of Makumbi Mission. Even though they were older than us, we felt at home and we were treated like brothers. For me, I am satisfied with their fraternity. Besides, I thank our two teachers who did all for our improvement. We salute the organisation of our Region with those who were in charge of our well- being, thank you. I also appreciate the relationship and collaboration among us. It was the fraternity that was reigning among us.
Finally, I want to give thanks to God who continues to walk with us. His Hand is always remarkable in our lives and our wish is to become good companions of his Son. May you kindly pray for us so that we may become good companions of Christ.
Peace of Christ
Bienvenu Eugene RUGIRA, SJ