By Pimpa Simasiku
Everyone was excited and curious to meet the significant guests that Northrise was receiving on the 14th of August. The president of California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly), Dr. Warren Baker, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Carol Baker made their first visit to Zambia and Northrise. Others were Dr. Mary Pederson (CalPoly’s academic dean of the school of Agriculture), Steve Bowie (the current NUI US board chairman) and Alan Smith (2010’s NUI US board chairman). Their mission was common and it was to meet with officials from the Zambian government in order to understand what Zambia’s educational development plan is and how CalPoly can assist. And also how the vision of Northrise University fits into the picture.
On this significant morning, Northrise staff assembled in the boardroom to meet with the guests. The air was jolly as jokes flew around and immediately met with bursts of laughter. The main agenda for the meeting was simply for introduction. Mr. Bowie began by introducing everyone and stated their purpose for coming to Northrise and Zambia. He said that they have always been interested in Zambia’s educational system. He also commended the Northrise staff for the work that they are doing, and that they too wanted to help Northrise achieve its vision and mission in a specific way.
Dr. Baker mentioned how glad he was to know that Zambia’s government recognizes that agriculture is the backbone of the economy. “Advancing in Agriculture”, he said, “enhances an economy greatly because at the moment world hunger is still a huge factor of today’s economy. On a higher level, if world hunger is eliminated, then basic needs are met and then world peace and harmony can easily be achieved.”
Before the meeting with the staff, they’d also met with a few Northrise students and were impressed with what the students had to say about the institute. The students had agreed to the principal of learning by doing and had also welcomed the idea of introducing an agriculture program. “We’re looking forward to developing Northrise to benefit students both at CalPoly and Northrise. We also wish to learn from Northrise as well, not only faculty exchanges but students exchanges as well,” Dr Mary Pederson had stated.
Alan Smith also made mention at how delighted he was to see former students working at Northrise. He has been with Northrise since the beginning of the vision and felt emotional at being a part of something big that God has ordained. He was awed at how much Northrise has achieved in just 5 years of existence which hasn’t been accomplished in other universities in Zambia for 50 years.
And on behalf of the staff at Northrise, Mrs Alice Simutowe, (registrar), Ps Victor Chibangula (instructor) Dr. Chilao Mutesa (academic dean) and Mr. Laston Hamoonga (business manager) made mention at how Northrise made an impact in the lives of all who were a part of it. Alice and Ps. Victor gave testimonies about how they had first heard of Northrise but were sceptical about joining the university. After joining, Alice stated that she was impressed with the integrity to work that all Northrise staff she came in contact with exercised. Now she supports the dream, the vision, and is giving of herself in order to be a part of what Northrise is doing. Ps. Victor ended his testimony by saying that “we have not reached the end yet but we are enjoying the ride towards the end.” He also said that Northrise will be one of the success stories in Zambia let alone Africa. People around the world are going to benefit from the humble people who are contributors to the Northrise dream.
Mr. Hamoonga, who has been a part of Northrise for a long time now, said, “it is a privilege beyond imagination that the president of Calpoly is here visiting us. This is another milestone that has been achieved by Northrise and from here on we are going to move to a higher dimension.”
The brief meeting ended on that note. And the staff went on to continue with their daily work of adding to the excellence that Northrise strives for. Of course, the visitors could not complete their day without paying a visit to the land.