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A thousand students graduate in the light and in the dark

31 May
Malak Shaher
Yemen Times

Published:31-05-2010

In the light, and in the dark (Photos by Malak Shaher)

Nada Al-Sho’aiby, 18, was one of a thousand students celebrating their graduation on Saturday morning in a large sports stadium in Sana’a.

She was very happy to be wearing a graduation gown after only two years of studying English at a language and computer institute and a whole three years before her graduation from university.

Adorned with the traditional garlands of Arabian jasmine, she and her fellow graduates walked around the large sports hall.

The beats of “Bailamos” by Enrique Inglesias vibrated through the hall so that everybody felt excited. Among the large number of graduates, Nada was a small dot seen from above.

The graduates walked with their heads held high to their chairs in front of the stage. The Yemeni national anthem was played and everybody stood up out of respect.

Then all of a sudden, the electricity went off. With light only on stage around the presenter welcoming the guests, the place looked like the Oscars.

In the dark, camera flashes sparkled. Whistles and shouts of joy filled the air with enthusiasm and cheered on the graduates.

Thousands of spectators sat above the graduates on the bleachers around the stadium. Girls with their colorful scarves appeared like colorful dots on a black background of baltos.

In spite of the electricity being off, the ceremony continued smoothly with the help of a generator.

Some of the male graduates danced on stage to traditional melodies, with dancers in white brought in for the occasion. One member of the audience gaped at them with his eyes wide open.

Hundreds of graduates grew restless from sitting. Some stood with their friends and smiled at cameras. As their relatives saw them get up, they hurried down to give them more garlands of jasmine.

The more they wore, the more the air was filled with its wonderful smell.

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