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Who are you arguing with?
Friday, 20 May 2011 Written by Sandra Čuturić Nuić
Small fish?! Locusts!!! Today's Menu Starter Polenta a la Rwanda Simple lunch Birthday Party

One evening, while we were sitting together by candle light after supper, someone brought, as I was told by my cousin fra Ivica and fra Floren, “little fishes from lake Victoria” to the table. Even Mireille, Andre and Peter nodded their heads in confirmation, and offered me to join in the feast. They told me the fish were very tasty.

“Come on, take some, don’t be afraid. It’s all sterile and boiled,” Andre kept persuading me. But, luckily (?) before I went to Rwanda, I’d read that it wasn’t a good idea to eat fish from Lake Victoria, because, supposedly, the lake water abounded with all sorts of metals.

And so I thanked my dear companions, who were enjoying the little fishes, and I told them I wasn’t really hungry.

Seeing that I wasn’t joining the feast after all, my cousin Ivica smiled and asked me if I was able to see what they were eating. I took a better look at the plate and told him that I only saw some strange looking little fish. And he replied: “Well, don’t worry about the metals, it’s not fish, these are locusts!” Eee, that’s when I started to feel really sick! The mere thought of someone eating locusts made my stomach twist... There were other “delicacies” too. On a plate one can find snails, frogs, raw meat, and even snakes. And it’s all consumed with great pleasure!

Although I’m not an admirer of beans, I enjoyed it every day. In order not to “run into” some little fish, I preferred eating beans even for breakfast and supper. The beans at least have enough necessary proteins for my needs. And, thank be to God, the friar’s garden also has bananas, avocados, papayas, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. So I was always able to “play it safe.”

During my stay in Rwanda I celebrated my birthday. Given that I was so far away from my family, fra Ivica decided to throw a birthday party for me. We were joined by the school teachers, and we partied under the moonlit starry sky, with drums, by the camp fire. The sound of the drums was joined by the crickets with their chirp, frogs with their croaking, and birds with their song. It was a beautiful natural orchestra. The experience was indescribably good.

The sound of the drums has touched my soul. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can still hear it. All that joy, happiness and the smiles on the dancers’ faces inviting me to join them - all of that comes to life inside me and my happiness knows no end. Even in this moment I feel love, peace, and happiness.

I loved all those cheerful, playful, and dear faces that radiated goodness and gratitude. It was the best birthday party I ever had! Love, laughter, joy, gratitude, and the power of faith chased away all my tensions. Every time I would start to wander away in my thoughts, Ivica would ask me: “Who are you arguing with?”.

And he was right! He observed well, he sensed well, because he’s filled with endless love of God. It’s true, I was arguing with myself, with what I’d known, and with what I’d come to know, with new insights, experiences, treasures, views of life, and values in life.

My visit to Africa has changed me forever. I realized that love is a feeling you cannot grasp with your hand. You can only feel it in your heart. And, yes, I’ve felt that love many times during my stay with fra Ivica.

Translated by: fra Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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