My New Life in the United States
I arrived in Chicago, USA, on Aug. 2, 2011, at 3:15 p.m., on Turkish Airlines, having flown from Kampala, Uganda. The whole journey via Istanbul, Turkey, lasted almost 20 hours! During my flight, I kept asking myself where I was going. As the plane touched down on the runway, some people started singing "God Bless America." It was very clear to me that I was finally in the United States. Half bewildered and half happy, I moved out of the plane to go through the rigorous immigration checking procedures.
My next flight, from Chicago to Cincinnati, was delayed and then canceled, which meant I did not reach Glenmary Headquarters until the following day. Upon arriving, I was warmly welcomed by Glenmary members living at our Headquarters. One of the priests, Father Dan Dorsey, told me that he was very tired and wanted to know if I was tired too. When I asked him why he was tired, he told me it was because he had been worrying so much about me since I was expected to arrive the previous day. His answer gave me the feeling that the Glenmary members were happy to see me.
After one day of rest, Father Vic Subb took me around to get used to the surrounding area. The following day we visited Glenmary missions in Kentucky and then settled in at Hartford, Ky., for the new-student orientation program.
As my school year at St. Meinrad Seminary got closer, we moved to the Glenmary House of Studies in Saint Meinrad, Ind., to prepare for serious academic work. With classes about to begin, I received my textbooks. They were overwhelming! At first I thought to myself that 12 hours a day would not be enough for me to read the assigned material, in order to be ready for the daily quizzes.
Unlike at the school of theology in Nairobi, Kenya, where students first discussed material in class with the lecturer and took the test later, here the reverse is true. We are expected to first do the reading at home, followed by a quiz in class and then a discussion with the lecturer. I am now used to this system. I have found it to be more educational. Having read the material before class, I better understand what the lecturer is trying to explain.
The students, faculty and administration at Saint Meinrad have been very helpful. They all assist new students in adapting to and getting involved in the community. Saint Meinrad is an international seminary, where at least 18 countries from all continents are represented. During some days, we celebrate international liturgies where different languages are used, such as Swahili, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, French and German, which shows the cultural diversity of the seminary.
Since I do not have my driver's license yet, I still have to depend on someone to take me to school in the morning, especially when the weather is bad. I am now taking driving lessons, and by next semester I will have my valid license and won't have to bother anybody for a ride to school, the store, or Church.
I am now settled here in the United States, and classes are going well. So I am looking forward to my Glenmary novitiate year. During that year, I will concentrate on prayer and God's will in my life. This period will also give me an opportunity to learn more about Glenmary and its missions. In addition, I will have time to reflect on my call to serve people in rural America.
Upon completion of my novitiate year, I will make my First Oath and take the very important step of becoming a Glenmary member. After First Oath, I will return to school for the second phase of my theological studies.