Graduand spotlight: Fr. Achilles Kiwanuka- Graduates Top of His Class
Preaching the gospel is not limited to the pulpit, teaching young people, giving them an education, combined with business ethics and morality; is a perfect tool for transmitting the faith; the mantra by which Machumilane Kiwanuka Achilles lives. Graduating this June from the Faculty of Information Technology, Fr. Achilles has topped his class, where he has been a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications (BTC) student for the last 4 years. The tech-savvy priest is the creator and manager of his website www.wawenauzima.net where he posts his sermons and other spiritual articles. Together with other priests, the website offers daily meditations on daily Mass Readings.
Interesting journey it has been for this priest from Tanzania, whose 2nd sojourn to Kenya has been here at Strathmore University. The first time he was a theology student at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), back then; his class had a composition of students who were studying for priesthood. His BSc. Telecommunications journey however has been as an ordained priest (ordained in 2008), and for the last 4 years he had to mix and interact with 19-21 year olds, in study groups, library, class presentations, lunch breaks etc. it has had its challenges and fun times he smiles, I informed everyone from the beginning that I am a priest, that way, all my classmates knew about my vocation. With time, he found himself being consulted for advice, spiritual guidance and also friendship. I have had to wear many hats, and it has been worthwhile. For the last two years I have been serving at Holy Trinity Catholic Church Buruburu, I am currently doing pastoral work at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Parklands, as I complete my project and wait for graduation
One would wonder, what would interest a priest to study telecommunications? Besides being an area of interest for him personally, Fr. Achilles was sent to Strathmore University by his Vice Chancellor from St. Augustine University, Tanzania (SAUT) and his Ordinary, the Bishop of Bukoba Catholic Diocese. SAUT is an independent higher learning institution governed by a Board of Trustees and the University Council under the Tanzania Episcopal Conference, which was established in 1998 in the region of Mwanza, Tanzania. The college will soon start a degree in telecommunications; hence the need to grow its faculty in this area. Fr. Achilles will soon commence Masters degree studies in the same area.
Fr. Achilles is the eighth born in a family of ten children. He explained that two elder brothers had intentions of priesthood and had joined the seminary; however, they did not complete this journey, as such he is the priest of the family. He chose priesthood after being impressed by a certain priest back home. This priest was very devout; I was moved by the way he celebrated Mass. In my country, one joins seminary in standard six, unlike in Kenya where one joins in Form one.
Convinced that young people have what it takes to join priesthood, Fr. Achilles says that parents and the church community have a fundamental role to play in creating the awareness of different vocations in children. During the course of my degree here at Strathmore, one of my classmates left Bsc.TC to join the seminary when we were in our 2nd year. He left for the Philippines and has already completed philosophical classes soon joining theology. Indeed it is God who calls one for priesthood. What is required is good environment for the youth to discern their vocation, respond to it and slowly be formed and nurtured in this life and in the different qualities required
Experiences in Kenya
Fr. Achilles has had good experiences here in Kenya; he strongly wishes that his Tanzania countrymen would embrace customer care like Kenyans do. In the few offices he has visited while in Kenya, he is impressed by the culture of hard work and is convinced that the exceptionally warm reception is what gives Kenyas businesses an edge. In Tanzania the mentality in many offices is that a customer has a problem to be sorted out.
For Fr. Achilles, Strathmore University is the first fully secular school that he has attended after having been in junior& senior seminary, and in CUEA for his education studies. His Vice Chancellor back in St. Augustine regularly sent his staff to Strathmore to study accounts and other courses, and he proudly admits that so far students sent to Strathmore have not disappointed.
Strathmores structures and systems have produced commendable results. This is very apparent in the students discipline, how people carry themselves; there is a tone of formality when one sets foot here. The younger students may not like the dress code now; the truth is that sets them at an advantage.
After his graduation in June, Fr. Achilles plans to go back to his diocese in Bukoba Tanzania as he plans to continue with University for his further studies. His intentions are to pursue a masters degree and take up pastoral work wherever he will be sent. He is also an author of 2 books: Introduction to Computer Course and Ili Wawe na Uzima which is about religious life.
We wish Fr. Achilles all the best in his endeavors.