The sound of drumming gourds, dancing footsteps, and lively Acholi singing marked the beginning of the celebration of the commissioning of the Pader Girls Secondary School (PGSS) Guesthouse on March 27, 2012, an event which brought together 300 local leaders, international supporters, and community members for joyous recognition of the training center’s opening.
The ceremony marked the culmination of five years of imagination and collaboration between CCF Pader and its partners. Funding for the guesthouse was provided by C3 Church Everywoman Sydney, an Australia-based Christian organization that worked in partnership with the Global Development Group and CCF Pader to construct the buildings.
Representatives from C3 Sydney at the event included Pastor Chris Pringle who first met CCF’s Executive Director Alice Achan in 2006 and played a key role in birthing the idea for the guesthouse. During a speech given at the ceremony, Pastor Chris described the guesthouse as “a dream that began in the heart,” a building “that would be a training center for positions of hospitality and a beautiful place for local and visiting guests.”
The event drew several honored guests, including the Woman MP for Pader District, the Honorable Cath
erine Doreen Lowila, the Resident District Commissioner, Lumwaka Caroline, the Chairman of the Board of CCF, Bishop Ochola of Kitgum, representatives of CCF donors from C3 Sydney and the Uganda Fund, and several church and community leaders.
Alice Achan expressed the deep gratitude of CCF staff and PGSS students for the efforts of the Australian donors that made the construction of the guesthouse possible, and appealed to government representatives in the audience to continue supporting girls’ education and the Pader Girls School.
Chief Guest Honorable MP Lowila agreed to advocate for PGSS at the national level and praised the school’s impressive accomplishments. “[PGSS] is the best school in the District, the most unique school in the country, and we’ll work hard towards making it the best school in the country,” she said to cheers from the school’s staff and students.
After several hours of speeches, singing, dancing, praying, and praising, the event moved outside of the guesthouse’s main conference hall for a tree planting, ribbon cutting, and cake cutting ceremony. Guests enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the catering students of PGSS who showcased the skills they have developed at the school through a beautifully decorated cake and elaborate spread of food made from the best local ingredients.
Philippa Tyndale, a member of the C3 Church and a longtime supporter of CCF Pader summarized the overarching goal of the guesthouse’s donors, telling the students in attendance that “our dream for you is to have great, fulfilling lives, to see possibilities, and to achieve your dreams out of your own talent and God’s hand.”
The guesthouse aims to be a space for students to do just that: to cultivate skills in hospitality in a loving environment so that they may lead successful, meaningful lives.