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Monday17December2018
A gift for Cedrique
Friday, 11 May 2018 Written by Valerie Ken

Cedrique Musigisha is a young boy, who lives in the tiny village of Musengo, close to Padri Vjeko School. Cedrique has been blind since three years of age when he somehow lost his sight. He was taken to a hospital where an operation was unsuccessfully performed. Now sponsored by the Franciscans of Kivumu, he attends a school in Kibeho (pronounced “Chi-bay-ho”), a small African village in the mountainous terrain in the district of Butare in Southwest Uganda. As a matter of interest, Kibeho is the site where three girls reported visions of Mary, beginning in 1981 until 1989. The site of Our Lady of Kibeho was officially recognized by the Catholic Church on July 11, 2001.

Cedrique studies and boards at the Educational Institute for the Blind in this location for most of the year, only coming back to Musengo village for school breaks. The school is run by Franciscan Sisters, Servants of the Cross. Here is a link to an article, which tells of the school and describes the plight of children in Rwanda (as well as other countries) who are born blind: alldayforeafrica.com/copy-of-nyrashishi-primary-school. You see, often they are shunned by their families and by society and given little chance to learn.

On my last visit to Rwanda, I was with Fra Ivica, director of Padri Vjeko School, when one day he noticed Cedrique chatting with the school watchman. Fra Ivica invited Cedrique and his father to come to see us so we could learn more about him. When they arrived, Cedrique read to us from a schoolbook in braille and we were very impressed to see that he reads so well and that he appears to be a very bright, engaging young man. But, can you imagine? ... he had never, ever read a storybook – only school study books!

Cedrique

So Fra Ivica gave me the task to find some good reading books in braille for this young man. When I returned to Canada, I tried to find some sources for the books by going on the internet, only to find that they were very expensive and the postage costs were very high. I had almost given up hope when I learned that CNIB – the Canadian National Institute for the Blind – had books that they loan out. When I called the office in Calgary and told them the story of Cedrique, I was warmly welcomed by two women, Anita and Justine, who work at the institute. They immediately offered to give me books to bring back to Rwanda.

What a wonderful gift that was! When I went to the CNIB location in Calgary I was given nine storybooks specially chosen for a young boy of eleven years! Not only that, they offered me a white cane that had been donated to their office. I was so happy to come back to Rwanda with the books and the cane!

Cedrique

Cedrique

Upon our invitation Cedrique came to Padri Vjeko Centre with his father and was very surprised and pleased to receive the white cane and these great adventure stories written specially for young boys!

Cedrique

Because some words in the books were unfamiliar to him, we offered that he could come to the project over the next days, while he was out of school to enjoy reading the stories. As it turned out, Cedrique had not done so many things. We happened to have some lego blocks which I gave him to play with – he immediately set about making a bicycle (of sorts)... can you imagine!

And I gave him a variety of wooden block shapes to sort – he managed this very quickly. He even played on a Xylophone that we had --- he absolutely loved this!! But most of all, he tried to read the storybooks. He even asked to bring one back with him to the braille school so his teacher could explain words to him that he was unable to read….. it turns out that an eleven year old in Canada has far more advantages than here and his reading skills are at a much lower level just now. But he is a determined, resourceful young man. I can only hope that a brighter future awaits him with all the obstacles he has yet to overcome

Cedrique

It has been such a wonderful experience – to know that people in Canada care enough to reach out to help a young man from Rwanda who will soon be able to use his imagination as he reads these marvelous stories just for fun!!!

 
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