Celestin Kubwimana was born in the bush in Muramvya in a poor family. He reflects on a sad childhood, wondering why he had to suffer so much. At school, he used to ask his teachers what the purpose of life was. He didn’t see any. It caused him great anxiety, and he ended up thinking there was no god.
In 1997 he succeeded in the national exam, but there were several deaths in the family, which crippled them financially. So he couldn’t go to the boarding school he wanted. He had to drop out of school. He was so depressed by this turn of events that he attempted to commit suicide. He mixed acid in his food and waited… the next morning came, and the next, and he concluded it wasn’t his time.
Then a new school opened nearby. His Dad sold his portable radio so he was able to continue again. Celestin worked hard but couldn’t sleep – that lasted three years. At one stage, he saw the Christians laughing and singing, and he couldn’t understand why they were so happy. So he was intrigued and joined them at the weekly meeting. It slowly dawned on him that God loved him, and that he had value. He began praying in secret whilst the others were sleeping.
At one point, thieves stole most of his clothes, leaving him with just two shirts and a pair of trousers. He wrote to his father, who thought he was lying and just wanted to get money out of him. Celestin was desperate. He prayed, “Lord, if you are real, I need to see your hand now!”
Just at that period, there was a national public-speaking competition. Celestin won the right to represent his school, and he came fourth in the national rankings. He received a gift of $30, which enabled him to buy some more clothes. That was God’s sign to him, and from that point on, he grew steadily in faith. He was a stalwart of the Christian Union at school. He started sleeping well again.
In 2009, fresh-faced Celestin Kubwimana was thrilled to get through the interview process and be employed as a receptionist at the front desk of the new King’s Conference Centre. His integrity, work ethic and attention to detail meant he was soon promoted to Head Receptionist.
Celestin shared an office with Simon Guillebaud for two years, whilst attending evening classes to get his Masters. Meanwhile, his upward trajectory continued at work as he became head of department for the hotel section, then overall KCC Operations Manager, and now he’s reached the pinnacle as General Manager.
King’s Conference Centre is a visionary social enterprise in the heart of Bujumbura, providing first-class facilities to travellers and the wider community. Currently the top-rated hotel in the city on Tripadvisor, they seek excellence in every aspect of their many services, whether serving hotel guests, conference delegates, restaurant customers or leisure seekers.