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My trip to Rwanda (Part 6)
Thursday, 23 September 2010 Written by Antonela Perić

Antonela Perić

As I read these journal entries, the first thing that comes to my mind is how everyone in my family now thinks that I spent my time in Africa just travelling and not working at all. Oh, I wish it was so! But my Uncle Ivica has succeeded in being a real manager and didn’t want to hear about any of his guests just sitting around, lying around, and strolling through villages. By all means, he really did put us all to work, and now I’m going to tell you about all the things I’ve done...

First, fra Branimir, fra Matija, and myself had to clear up the bibliocontainer which we named ‘Tin Man.’ It was not an easy task at all. Heeeey, more than twelve thousand books had to be put on bookshelves!!! And not only that! Each and every book got its own unique label and was put into a computer database. After all this work, I am proud enough to say that the job was done so well that it would not be unrealistic to expect to be able to see the complete book list on our website very soon. ‘The brain’ of the entire operation was fra Branimir. My task was to be at hand and run around after this and that. From time to time I would get carried away in joking with our Franciscan students, so much so, that sometimes I had to look for refuge in the nearby friary. In one occasion fra Branimir ‘chased’ me so hard that I have to admit that in that moment I wished to fly back all the way to Bosnia.

Antonela PerićAntonela Perić

However, not everything was comical. Uncle knows that my father - his brother, is an excellent tin-smith. Due to the fact that Uncle likes to think of me to be a boy and not by any chance a girl, he made me use the knowledge I got from helping my father and do something useful. To be precise, the friary is covered with iron sheets and during the dry season the wood on the roofs contracts, and nails and screws loosen up. My task was to fix the roofs! And I was little bit worried. My father wasn’t around and my uncle gave me a hefty task.  I couldn’t step back; it all needed to be done properly.

And so, for several days I climbed the friary roofs, hammering nails, screwing screws. And that wasn’t all. As I already was on the roof, Uncle decided that I could also wipe the solar panels a bit that we use during the day to charge the batteries we then use during the night.

Antonela PerićAntonela Perić

In addition to craftsmanship on the roof, on one occasion I demonstrated my craftsmanship under the roof too.. in the kitchen. I cooked for everyone. It was on a Sunday, when the friary cook, Oswaldi, is usually not around. On that day friars prepare their own meals. And my task, the one that I took on myself, was to surprise them all when they come back from prayer and greet them with a supper. Spaghetti with gravy and meat was a big surprise for them. And, if they weren’t lying, they were thrilled. Even if they were lying, they ate it all up. I didn’t stay up for long afterwards, because I needed to lie down a bit and rest for tomorrow’s day. I could never know what would await me in the morning... perhaps Uncle take us somewhere for a walk.. or put us to work on all sorts of things...

To be continued...

Translated by: fra Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

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