SASSE MADE ME INTO WHO I AM. (Part 2)
~ A personal recollection by ASONGLEFAC NKEMLEKE (SOBAN #1651)
From First Installment (September 25, 2010): They look back today at the discipline they were subjected to in Sasse as absolutely necessary, given the times, and considering that it made them into responsible men and women that they became. Yes, something happened to a group of young men and women nearly half a century ago. And those of them still alive today are prouder as they look back â 45 years back!
Graduating with a MA (TESOL) from Trinity University,Washington, D.C. (05/22/05)
Arriving in Sasse College on that cold, foggy, September Saturday afternoon was the culmination of a dream spurred in many of us by our parents and relatives. For me personally, it was the beginning of a journey into a new world. No doubt, primary school was already the first step in what would turn out to be a journey of thousands of miles. My parents urged me to seek the âWhitemanâs knowledgeâ and be like my uncle, Nkembeng (ref. Dr. Aloysius Forbin, RIP), who had graduated from Sasse College and was then studying out of the country. As I left the village on Sunday September 5, 1965 for the journey to Victoria, deep down I realized that nothing would ever be the same again in my unfolding adventure. The understanding was that education would open all kinds of doors for me. Since then, nothing has indeed, ever been the same again. Each step I have taken has been a blessing in many ways. Sasse College, in the long run, molded me not just into a âdocileâ being (as one of the teachers in Sasse College labeled me when I was in Form 4) but also into a free thinking, mature citizen of the world that I would eventually become. But, that is another story line.
So letâs go back to that first contact with Sasse College. On that evening of Saturday September 25, 1965 as it would turn out, I marked down the first mile of a whole new era. The evening was characterized by a roll call, evening prayers in the College Chapel, and dinner. It all ended with students dispersing to their respective, pre-assigned dormitories; the turning off of lights; and the beginning of an adjustment to a new way of life, and a turning point in many young peopleâs lives. I, for one, had been assigned to the Saint Christopherâs Dormitory on the Main Campus. As it turned out, that would be just a 48 hour sojourn. On Monday afternoon, I was re-assigned to Saint Thomas Aquinas, in what students called âdowntownâ.
Aquinas was to be both a challenge and a pleasure: I had to make myself comfortable in the new Dormitory D where I made the acquaintance of two other form one students: Lyonga and Athanasius Mesumbe. These two would become my first non-Bangwa friends in this new world. But the friendship was very short-lived: Lyonga soon took ill and left; only to pass on while away from school with his parents. Athanasius on his part was soon swept away from campus by one of those phenomena characteristic of academic life in a boarding, denominational institution. In fact, he left, we were told, because of cost. Sasse has always been a challenging place. Students get sent away for a multiple of reasons: failure to afford the fees, academics, indiscipline, or withdrawal by parents and/or guardians. Athanasius fell in the first category. But losing two friends in quick succession did not water down my ambition to meet my parentâs expectations: I was in Sasse to study â and not just pass through Sasse but to let Sasse pass through me.