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Kivumu – the Center of Rwanda!
Thursday, 18 June 2009 Written by fra Ivica Perić

Prime minister, bishop and othersI wish that I could report to you only about the technical details when writing about the construction of the Secondary School. Somehow it is much more familiar to me than numerous duties of protocol that I must perform conscientiously. However, I certainly cannot be disinterested when honoured with a visit by the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Bernard Makuza, the Minister of Education, Daphrose Gahakwa, the Mayor of nearby Gitarama, Ivonne Mutakwasuku, the Governor of the Southern Province, Fidele Ndayisaba, and the Bishop of our Kabgayi district, Smaragde Mbonyintege ... And all at one time!

Irish Ambassador and ArchbishopRecently these most welcome guests visited CFJ Padri Vjeko Centre, our present technical school, and walked with me to where we cleared the land for the new Secondary Technical School. Nothing was too difficult for them; they wanted to see everything. We walked so much that for a moment there I thought we had reached all the way to Cameroon. I am joking, of course, but I am also proud because of their interest in our project, as well as the promises they made to us. Somehow, I think - even believe - that they did not give empty promises, and that it will not just turn out to be only verbal encouragement for the stubborn Bosnian Friar who has begun the work of setting up a huge school centre on this Rwandan hilltop.

presentationTo tell you the truth, a few years ago I laughed at the stories of turning Kigali into the African version of Chicago. However, these Rwandans really do mean it! Kigali is being transformed on monthly basis, and the outlines of those models of the “African Chicago” are really starting to show, even in the area where former shanties stood. And I truly believe they also want to fulfill the promises they made to me. I already have a date for an interview with the Mayor of Gitarama, and after that I will be seeing the Minister of Education, and the Prime Minister of Rwanda is also insisting on another encounter. What an incredible experience!

prime ministerUntil we finish work on the construction of the school, we also have to prepare the future teachers for their new obligations. So we have arranged for six individuals to go to Bangkok, Thailand for further training. Two of them are being educated as electricians, two as welders, and two as plumbers. They will spend two months in Bangkok and a teaching job will await them at our trade school upon their return.  This new knowledge will be added to our present program which will greatly help our children to learn yet another trade. We would sincerely like to thank our Franciscan Mission from Dortmund for the support they have given us for this project.

Our builders in UgandaAnd we have received further confirmation that we are doing a good job of educating our students – this coming from neighbouring Uganda! A few weeks ago, thirteen builders from our school went there, all students of the second year. They are working on the construction of a building that will become a Counseling Training School. I attended the blessing and the placing of the corner stone and I received many compliments from all those who were present, praising our students who are considered to be very well qualified and very hardworking.

It is nice to hear others praise you, but they tell me what I already know myself. If only you could see how these students have restored the old Novitiate building – they made six new rooms, two bathrooms, a dining room and a kitchen. Thanks to them, dozens of volunteers, who come to help further educate our teachers and to enjoy the experience of being here among us, will be able to stay in our small community.

Until then, though, I will have to perform even more duties of protocol. In a few days, Kivumu will become the centre of Rwanda as the entire political elite will attend the placement of the corner stone for our new Secondary Technical School.

Peace and well being to all!

Translated by:
Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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