Vije’s Graduates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Auxerunt Romae tumultum litterae ex Gallia allatae ab L. Porcio praetore: Hasdrubalem movisse, ex hibernis et iam Alpes montes transire; ……… [Livy, The Metaurus Campaign, Book 27, Stanzas 39 – 51]

 

Translation: Anxiety was increased in Rome from reports emanating from Gaul (France) through the Praetor (Governor), L. Porcio: Hasdrubal (Hannibal’s kid brother) had moved out of his winter quarters and had already crossed the Alps mountains……..

 

Indeed, this was the case of heightened tension around our house leading up to the end of the semester as our first daughter was heading towards possible graduation from West VirginiaUniversity.   It was only like yesterday that FaraiMwanakaSimoyi was born in the Mile End Hospital Maternity wing on 275 Bancroft Road, London, E1 in the NewhamBorough  (before Thatcher abolished the GLC).  It was a Saturday, and coincided with the Nigerian Independence Day (October 1).  Now that baby is a graduate!!!!!!!!!!!!  There are things we can control; but what your children do is out of your control.  You only hope that you taught them well enough to pick up the work ethic that you yourself lived by.  Vije took exactly 4 years to complete her degree studies.  Most students take a little longer.

Before taking an evening flight from Portland through Phoenix, and connecting to Atlanta, I officiated at Gwinyai’s soccer game at Schiffler Park in Beaverton.  Gwinyai is the youngest of the brood; sometimes he looks like a promising Maradona, at other times the second coming of Tiger Woods (he is deadly with a 7-iron!)

 

Vije started first grade at Groombridge Elementary in Mount Pleasant, Harare.  Then she attended PeabodyElementary School on Linnean Street in Cambridge, Mass for two years before going back to Groombridge.  Next she attended Suncrest Elementary in Morgantown, Christian Alliance, Woodburn Elementary, South Junior High and MorgantownHigh School.  She entered WVU in the Fall of 2001 on a leadership Storer scholarship.  She had been class president at MHS in her senior year, the first minority female to hold this post in the history of the storied high school.

                                        

My trip to West Virginia was long and circuitous.  I flew from Portland to Atlanta via Phoenix and then connected to Pittsburgh later in the day, arriving in Morgantown at 5 PM on Friday, May 13th (Friday the 13th?).  On the drive from Pittsburgh airport, I called the children and we set up a dinner date.  I was excited!!!!!  I went first to my friend John Penn’s house, dropped my luggage and then went for dinner.  The cause de celebre herself had to work and so could not come for dinner, but her two siblings, mom and aunt made it to dinner.  I was dog tired, but the adrenalin was pumping enough for me to keep going.  We had dinner with Vije’s siblings and mom and aunt at the Glenmark Center in Cheat Lake.

Above are the dinner participants at the Glenmark Center the evening of Friday, May 13.  From left to right are Mom, Auntie Rebecca, (big bad) Tsekwi, (big bad) Dad and Effie.

 

As usual, we never finish our dinners, and we always leave the restaurants with doggie bags.  (I finished my margarita, though!).

 

After dinner I went to join John Penn at the Elks Lodge where he is the Grand Pupa (as in el Hancho!!).  We drank a lot of Australian Shiraz wine and went to sleep quite late.  As a result I over slept and did not make it for my golf game with Effie on time.  We finally made it to Mountaneer Golf Club at 11 AM and took two large baskets of golf balls and went to the driving range.  I showed Effie a few tricks about how to hit a 7-iron with spin (the trick is to hit the ball first on a downwards motion and pick up a divot after the ball had gone (I told her); and also to make sure that the golf clubs are clean, exposing the grooves that give you the spin.  Effie hits the ball with a beautiful hook, just like Annika Sorenstam!!!

 

The initial festivities started for real on Saturday afternoon with Farai’s cousin, Linda, graduating with a summa cum laude degree in nursing at the Creative Arts Center.  We all trouped there to ogle, cheer and give our moral support.  I was interviewed by a beautiful reporter from the Dominion Post names Natalie Alund, and the article made it on page 6 of the Monday edition of the newspaper.  There was a big picture of Linda there as well.

 

Uncle Philip had driven all the way from Gaithersburg for the children’s graduations.  There was quite a family gathering there at the Nursing School Graduation ceremonies.  My brother flew all the way from Zimbabwe to attend the graduation

 

The world really moves fast.  It was just like yesterday that I was moving around at the WVU admissions office shopping around Linda’s papers for admission into the Nursing school.  Now, she is a graduate!!!!  4 years is quite a short time the older you get.  The 4 years I spent in graduate school in Boston almost lasted a lifetime: the cars I bought and drove, the jobs I took up, the apartments I lived in, the (super) girlfriend I had… it all seemed to take such a long time, but my daughters’ graduations seemed to have happened in a flash (Jumping Jack Flash… it’s a GAS!).

 

Talk of raining on our parade, but, rain it did after Linda’s ceremony.  We all made a bee line to Vije’s mom’s home for family get-together at about 5 PM.  My son had braai’ed some chicken and hot dogs and Mwale (Vije’s mom) made a killer Lasagna!!  Many of Vije’s friends were there, at the ‘do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There we are at the party at Mwale’s place on Saturday evening, the 14th of March.  From left to right are Daddy Vije (me, of course!), Mwale, Auntie Rebecca and Uncle Philip, reclining and enjoying the soft life and basking in the glory of our children’s success. (we will get it any way we can!!)

Here is the cake bought by Uncle Philip for the graduating cousins, Vije, Linda and Shupi.  It is actually written in the gold and blue colors of West Virginia University.

 

Unfortunately, the other cousin, Melvin, had to work until late in Pittsburgh and only arrived after Linda’s graduation ceremony was over, but, he still partook in the merriment at 421 Cedar Street.

Above is Melvin and his lovely young family.  Danai does not know that soon she will not be the youngest in the family.

 

This is a picture I took of my children in the late summer of 1990 in the beautiful city of Ottawa, Canada, while on vacation.  Vije is in the middle.  She was 6 years old, Tsekwi was 4 and Effie was 3.  There is only a 16-month difference between Tsekwi and Effie (hence they fight!).

 

 

Vije, now, at 21; with Mom and Uncle Philip.  Uncle is cradling the indispensable glass of whiskey (the finer art of living… whiskey for my men and beer for my horses!!!)

The family party was GREAT!!! And we left with a little of everything…food, beer, nostalgia, and hope for a bright future as a strong family unit.  As someone once said: ‘we should hang together or we will surely hang separately!’  Me and Uncle Philip left the party at 1 AM and went back to the Elks Lodge.  We finally got to sleep at 3 AM and on Sunday, we were ready for the big day.

Vije’s graduation from Morgantown High, June 3, 2001.  Four years later…