“Back in our days, a senior four leaver meant clean water in the community, education to peers, positive change and economic development. Nowadays, we have more than a thousand graduates in the community full of unemployment, a population who desist from thinking for positive change.” Said Fagil Mande as we arrived in the main hall at Bishop Stuart University Mbarara, for the commencement of the Fifth National Inter-University Debates and Skills Expo 2019.
“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.” Said Billy Cox.
His statement was so profound, I remember every single person rising and clapping in agreement with him. Motions were read, teams were paired, and allocated to rooms. Walking to our destination, we all thought out loud, about what impact we would love to leave behind.
The cold whistling wind-dispersed into the evening air, as we made our way hastily to the main hall, where the judges and convener sat waiting for us. Settling down now, I remember the heavy rain that accompanied our entrance (Lucy Mega Munduru, Onyango Sanfo Senivo, Turyamwijuka Roland, Oromo John Tito, Mugume Hassan K, and Okongo Joel Morgan) as team IUEA. We were overjoyed to discover our University banner on a Boda Boda (Motorcycle), riding around town, igniting excitement and pride in our University.
After a cluster of speeches, we were happy to have a good night’s rest before we could see the sun again. Being an area with less internet use than our campus, made us aware of how privileged we were and appreciated our facilities at IUEA. It was normal mode until we were told our points could not usher us into semifinals.
Panic swept us all, how could we come this far and go back the same way, none us had answers until it was announced that team IUEA was in the final of both Public speaking and poetry. Being our only hope, we swore to do our very best and the universe never gave a deaf ear. Dreams come true but only to those who strive to pursue them.
We never lost hope and on the final day, as they announced results, International University of East Africa had emerged as the winners of Poetry. I cannot sum it all up in words. Every single moment was memorable.
I sit in room 305 taking fellow debaters through strategy as a debate skill; though I can never be perfect
Debate is a skill, anybody with desire and hard work can learn it. Young people in University can learn to share knowledge and change society. Through this debate, I learnt that we are the change we need and, I know that, those who focus on learning and building capacity, will be in charge of rewarding responsibilities.