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My Trip to Rwanda (Part 2)
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 Written by Antonela Perić

Antonela in Rwanda

Oooooooow! I barely laid my foot in Rwanda, and my uncle Ivica had already started calling me different names. He says that I’m as lively as a mouse - that I don’t walk, but run all the time. He keeps watching me from the side, with his moustache covered grin, and he keeps asking fra Branimir and fra Matija if I’m annoying them. I love --- even more --- I adore my uncle, but he just doesn’t seem to realize that I’m an 11-year-old; that this is my first time in Rwanda, and that it was my first time to fly with a plane to anywhere. Now, you tell me, how can I not bother someone and not constantly ask questions about all I see and hear!? And the questions are outrunning each other...

Fra Branimir and fra Matija were so mad because of my questioning that we didn’t talk for entire half an hour.

When we started our flight from Istanbul to Nairobi, I was so surprised by the food we were offered. No, I had no idea that the food was included in the price. And when I discovered that I’m allowed to drink as much as I can, fra Branimir and fra Matija had to order orange juice for me all the time. In my wildest dreams I didn’t imagine that I could eat so many sandwiches! Maybe that’s why they were mad at me?!


I suppose that fra Branimir and fra Matija were happiest during our flight from Nairobi to Kigali. Our boarding passes showed separate seat numbers, and we were forced to fly separated. I secretly observed them. They were too tired to talk. As if they were resting from me, eh, eh, eh!!!  Indeed…….they had spent the previous hours running after me at the Nairobi airport. It was lucky that I caught Mrs. Apolonie’s attention. Her children are my age. We introduced and she told me that she worked in a Kigali as a manager. She invited me to pay her a visit in Kigali, and to stay at her place for few days. I need to explain this to my uncle somehow, but I doubt he’ll allow me to stay overnight somewhere without him nearby.

Fra Branimir, fra Matija and I were the only passengers onboard the flight to Kigali whose “tan” wasn’t black. I admit I was surprised by that fact. Never before have I seen a black person. Now I know why Africa is called – "the Dark Continent".

children in RwandaAntonela

Nakon što smo na granici u aerodromskoj zgradi sredili vize te krenuli u selo moga strike, iznenadila sam se ljepotom kuća pored kojih sam prolazila. Bilo ih je puno ljepših nego kod mene u Kiseljaku u Bosni. Ali bilo je i puno kuća od blata. Velike su razlike među ljudima.

After we got our visas at the airport border crossing and started our trip to my uncle’s village, I was surprised by the beauty of the houses I passed by. Some of them were prettier than those at my place, in Kiseljak, in Bosnia. But there were also a lot of houses made of mud. The class difference between people is huge!

in front of the Kivumu Parish Church

During my trip to Rwanda, I daydreamed about helping the poor. I was planning to leave behind everything I’d brought with me. Then my uncle surprised me. He told me that I’m not allowed to give anything to other children! I was very sorry to see all those children in ‘tattered’ clothes. I won’t tell anything to my uncle, but I am going to find a way to cheer up some of my friends with a T-shirt or two. I’ll tell my uncle that it’s a gift for my new friends. And let him dare say that I’m not allowed!

Or I will ask him where does he get his šljivovica (plum-brandy), when in Rwanda there are no plums?! Well, I must admit, I was surprised by that. Just like I was surprised when I found out that there are no apples and pears. But I quickly forgot the fruits of my childhood and instead switched to mangoes, one of my wonderful discoveries...

to be continued

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

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