1. A CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO ALL OUR GRADUATES
On behave of Africa and particularly South Sudan where I was born, I would like to take this golden opportunity to congratulate our students who made it to graduate in 2019 across China. It was not an easy journey. Some of us studied in English for master’s degrees for three years, some studied in Chinese for four years (masters) and others took five to six years (undergraduates). All of you who made it to graduate are giants. Congratulations and maburukat laykum ya akwana. Some of you started school 30 years ago and you still made it for master’s degrees and/or PhDs at your ages. Some started without shoes and cloths under a tree with the first pen as your own fingers. Later on those benches made of mud came and a blackboard hanged on a tripod stand made of wood. Then came those grass-thatched classrooms and later the hot iron sheets of places like Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps and finally, the comfort of the People’s Republic of China. Your stories are touching and your achievements are historical. Congratulations for your achievements in your various careers. South Sudan is proud of you.
2. A THANK YOU MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH SUDAN
It is an honor to the government of South Sudan to have collaborated with the Chinese government to allow South Sudanese to study in China either through MOFCOM scholarship or CSC scholarship. Though the two scholarships have different privileges, they all cover the school fees and accommodations of the students they accepted into their various programs. Thanks a lot our government.
3. A THANK YOU MESSAGE TO CHINESE AND THEIR GOVERNMENT
The acceptance for scholarship by the Chinese government can never go unappreciated. Those of us who have made it to go home alive will thank every Chinese we have met our way. China is a land of peace. Chinese are no thieves. You can leave your money in a restaurant and still get it back tomorrow especially in the city where I live. Thanks to the waitresses and the waiters and all the chefs who have fed us through the years. You have won the hearts of the women who gave birth to us.
4. A COMMEMORATION FOR OUR CITIZENS WHO LOSE THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE OF DUTY
For those who lose their lives during the time of our studies, it was never our wish to go home without you our brothers. We shall always remember you and how we struggled together fighting for our country and the wellbeing of various communities. For those of us who have known you, we shall remember your families and your children, should we meet them on our ways. We have fought on your behave and we salute you forever. Rest In Peace my brothers. 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢
5. THE PROBLEMS WE FACED
Apart from the death of our brothers of which we have less medical knowledge about, we have a hard time studying in this great nation. The first one is lack of lawyers that could represent our cases as students if we have problems with our teachers. Where I studied, we don’t have a voice as students and anyone who asks a lot of questions is seen by Chinese as a threat and a deportation or expulsion from the school are never so far. Secondly, we lack embassy care. Since I came to China, I have never seen any official of our embassy visiting our school and ensuring that we are well-treated. The time I came here for example, we bought comfortable beds to sleep on. The University later took our beds and mattresses without any compensation and gave us those high school beds which look like hospital beds. None of us could understand anything. Also, two African students could not recently graduate with us because of submitting the copy of Chinese Language Proficiency Test Certificate (HSK) late. We came here to study in English but no consideration was given to those two students and they never graduated. Their respective embassies later responded so late and weakly that nothing was done at all. The Chinese Language enforcement is another thing we are indirectly facing. Even if you are studying in English, four of your courses or so will be in Chinese Language. The total credits of Chinese courses is greater than that of the career courses. Learning a new language above thirty is a real challenge especially when you come to China to study in English. There is another issue of weak bilateral relationships between our government and the government of China. I am not making this up, my teachers told me that the other day. I went to the office to enquire about my return ticket as a CSC student but the response I got was shocking. “Young man, your government did not inform us that you should be returned home so your name is not on the list of those having return tickets. It depends on the relationship between your country and China,” the lady concluded that bitter message. I was left speechless and I went out with my hands behind my back like a featherless chicken. Since our country was sanctioned, none of us could receive or send money to any country in the world. Why then do Chinese give visas to self-paid students? Where do they think they will feed from? What is our government doing about that? I urge our government to sign some treaties with Chinese government; treaties that will give privileges like even working visas for our students in China. As a master student, I was supposed to be teaching undergraduates during my three years study but nothing like that happened. I was also supposed to be given firsthand knowledge like Chinese students which I never got. I was never allowed to use primary data. If a student is not an extensive reader in China, I am sorry to say this to my nation, then be ready to receive quack doctors! On top of that, do not cry in future as a country if one of us become a corrupt and dictatorial president. What do you expect a man (that his own nation never cared for) to do if he gets such a chance? It is so sad for a father to produce his own rebels of children!
6. PROBLEMS AWAITING US
For us who are now going home, apart from the enormous congratulatory messages we have received from our relatives and friends, our future for securing jobs is still uncertain, knowing our condition back home. I urge all of you to go and humble yourselves. Start with the little you get until one day when things will be back to greatness inshallah. For those of you who love politics, please go back and do not cause problems in your communities. Do not be like one guy I heard of with a PhD in international peace and reconciliation talking of how to delete a certain community in the face of South Sudan. That is studies gone wrong.
Dear all Field Marshalls who are still single like me, there is no competition in marriage. I also have bad news for you. Facebook has taken your names to the far corners of our villages and whoever you are going to get involved with now may not be in love with you but rather with your pen. Please take care and I wish you all the best. Congratulations once more.
Jokmagai e Dengadiit.