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My first Month in Rwanda
Saturday, 02 May 2015 Written by Antun Tešić

My first Month in Rwanda

It’s been a month since my arrival. Time goes fast for me here, maybe because I am liking it so much. Then again, sometimes I think that I’ve been here for long time, because I’ve learned so many new things..

I’ve learned to go to sleep at 9pm. I'm awakened by birds singing and get out of the bed at 5am well rested and fresh. I’ve adapted to the 8 to 9 square metered room in which I have everything. There is a bed, a wardrobe, a table and a chair. I have one pillow, one bed sheet and pillow case, one towel for face and one for showering. If you wash it on time, it’s enough.

My first Month in Rwanda

I’ve learned that here you can work slowly and sing along. One can transport almost anything on bicycle or a motorbike. They can carry wooden logs 4-5 m long, or 20-30 packs of fresh eggs on an unpaved road, goats or 20 live chickens tied around a neck or body of the driver...

Children are excited to receive a simple candy, or a ball. And if they manage to get a pen, and sheet of paper they are far happier than children in Europe who get the newest mobile phones, which we, without even thinking about it, buy for them.

My first Month in Rwanda

From birth, we beg our children to eat, stuff them with food when they are not hungry but they have to eat at a given time, because mums and dads say that is the time to eat. It doesn't matter that they cannot eat when they are not hungry. But here, children are asking to eat anything... and if they do get something they eat it right away because they are hungry. But even though they are hungry, these children, unlike ours, are happy, joyful and cheerful. And what is so wonderful is that you see this in their eyes.

Here in Rwanda, the villages are numerous with so many houses, and every piece of land is cultivated. There is not a single meter of uncultivated land. I was fascinated by this, but it is to be understood. Rwanda is half the size of Croatia, and officially has 12 million inhabitants, unofficially even more. There isn’t enough food so every single parcel of land has to be cultivated. It’s really nice to see, driving through Rwanda. In contrast, images of abandoned, derelict and uncultivated Slavonia, Lika... entire Croatia come to mind.

My first Month in Rwanda

Padre Vjeko centre in Kivumu offers schooling, food and accommodation for the children of Rwanda. And children who are fortunate enough to be registered and studying here are filled with happiness. This Centre turns out well trained masons, tailors, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and welders.

The word about the quality of the school has spread beyond the borders of Rwanda, with the Vocational Training Centre's masonry students going to work on a project in Uganda. The Centre is very well organized and is a good example for other schools in Rwanda to emulate. And all credit goes to the principle, director, creator and soul of the school, fr Ivica Perić.

My first Month in Rwanda

I’m so glad that I came to Africa. I’m learning how to help, to give, to feel and to sympathize with others. From the children I’m learning how to be joyful, to truly look, see, laugh and to take someone’s hand. These children know all these things so well. I hope that they will continue to teach me. Then I will go back home happier, more satisfied and far richer than I ever was before.

Translated by Angelka Fitz
Edited by Valerie Kae Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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