A couple of weeks ago, our school celebrated Multicultural Day. It’s a day that is a Kenyan holiday celebrating past presidents, but as it’s a single day that falls in the middle of the week, we can’t exactly send out boarding students home for the day. Instead, we hold Multicultural Day, where the kids celebrate the countries they come from.
Each year has a theme—this year was RVA Olympics—and the kids are dived into teams to play games and complete challenges. We have a big cookout, then a flag ceremony where people dress in traditional outfits from their home countries, followed by awards for the games and hot chocolate.
It’s a fun day, and it’s always fun to see the clothes that the kids come up with—especially those who are trying to represent multiple nationalities in one outfit. My favorite part, though, is watching the kids compete in their teams, and then watching the flag ceremony at the end. The teams are created across the whole grade-level spectrum, so each includes girls and boys from high school, junior high and titchie (elementary). It’s truly amazing to me to watch the big, tough, varsity boys cheer on the awkward junior highers fumbling their way through the sports and telling them they’re doing an awesome job. Or to see the too-cool-for-school upperclassmen girls getting their faces painted and acting silly with their little titchies. Sure, we’re a normal school with cliques divided into cool and dorky and sports and drama, but we can still pull together and support and love on each other, and I think that’s awesome.
At the end of the day is the Flag Ceremony. The oldest student from each country carries in their country’s flag as their national anthem plays, wearing a traditional outfit from that country, and giving a traditional greeting. Everyone cheers for their flag-bearers. Sure, countries like the U.S.A, South Korea and Kenya get louder cheers since they have larger populations here, but there’s no disrespect or ‘my country’s better than yours’. Everyone gets appreciated. In fact, some of the loudest cheers were for countries whose only representative at RVA was the person carrying the flag. So often caught up in the midst of high-school drama, it was very touching to see the kids making sure that no one felt left out. It warmed my heart to watch Boaz—the only student from Hong Kong and one of the most awkward junior highers I have ever met—beaming with pride as he stood on stage with his flag and listened to everyone cheer. It brought happy tears to my eyes when the Hansen boys—still in preschool—carried in the Czech flag and the tenth-grade boys (who are in their parents’ dorm) leapt to their feet with a clattering of chairs, thunderous applause and deafening whooping and hollering in support of their little dorm brothers.
In the middle of the drama that comes with the tiredness in the second half of the term, the wearying news that keeps coming from the U.S. elections and Brexit, and the sadness following news of ISIS, wars and crumbling racial and people-group relations, it’s so encouraging to me to see the body of Christ come together from all different ages and nationalities and walks of life—and in the in form of often-immature teenagers—and show such love and support for each other. These guys are our future. And I think they’ll do alright.
Here’s some more pictures from an awesome day.