The air was cool this morning, washed with a light rain. The morning song was a chorus of voices talking, singing or "oo-loo-laying," accompanied by a raucous band of chugging motos, neighborhood goats bleating, a late-awakening rooster, and the occasional beeping of a horn. Off in the distance a brass band played a familiar hymn. Sounds of households getting underway provided the harmony.
Tomorrow we leave Beni. I hate to resort to a cliche, but the time has flown. It has also been rich with conversation, music, prayer, celebration, work, fellowship, singing, and dancing.
Last evening was a meeting with the management committee of UCBC. Three of us rep internet resenting the USA-CI board, Danny, an assistant in our strategic planning process, and the four members of the CI-UCBC Management Committee met. In the busyness of graduation, followed by two workshops at UCBC last week, we've had to carve out corners of time to meet. Our attention last night was on looking ahead and moving forward.
CI-UCBC has just come to the end of its first 5-year strategic plan and is in a "bridge year,"readying to develop a strategic plan for 2012-2015. The US board will be developing a strategic plan, as well. Given the nature of the boards' relationships, ours (CI-USA) must support the priorities of CI-UCBC, not our own interests.
There is much to do here, as we look at the next 3-5 years. There is a community center to complete. There is a radio station to get online (with thanks to a generous grant from Eastern Congo Initiative). There are faculty to hire and train. There is a new curriculum and credit system to develop and implement. The needs remain great: need for faculty and staff, materials, buildings, books, faster internet, money, and time.
But there is much that has been accomplished in these few short years. There is a 1st graduating class. There are faculty who are becoming increasingly invested in UCBC, its mission, and its students. There are the beginnings of cross-institutional collaborations (Shalom University in Bunia and Uganda Christian University, for example). And there are many, many assets. In fact, during the faculty workshop this past Thursday and Friday, Paul Robinson reminded us that while we are keenly aware of our needs, we must remember that we have many gifts. We must look at those gifts, those assets, and discover how to use them to meet our needs.