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A trip to Africa
Sunday, 22 April 2007 Written by Mateja

Mateja with childrenPeople have dreams! Once upon a time I also had a dream, and perhaps it was the Lord who granted me this special dream!  A wish and a thought were born inside me that I could become a missionary, although I’m a simple girl from Zagreb. I prayed for this dream to come true and I suppose others were praying too… because my dream did come true!

God knows the ways of humans. Was it He who came to me already in elementary school with this desire to be a missionary “girl”. Year after year, thought after thought, prayer after prayer the same dream persisted until finally my moment finally arrived.  I was thrilled with joy but others thought that this “child” become woman had gone crazy!  However, I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew Who was calling me.

And then… ……….the moment of departure ! I was so happy but those who remained behind were both proud and confused.  The plane took off and in the air I was in the pleasant company of a Bosnian friar Ivica. He did not know who Duje Draganja was (Croatian Olympic swimmer).  I was so cool!

Then in my head I had all these questions about that far off Africa.  Where is it?  Who is expecting me down there?  No answers although Ivica was here just next to Duje Draganja.

People of all colours were there but I couldn’t quite say if everybody had white teeth!!!  Some were talking.  I was looking at them and they were looking at me.  One could not really say we were strangers to one another any more but rather all one big family, whose members didn’t know one another very well.

We had a guardian angel looking after our “iron bird”—the airplane, so we landed safely in Kigali, Rwanda.

Then I had to finish this homework…

Fra Miro Ancic (tennis player’s uncle) tried to save me from writing this article. He was always in good mood, optimistic, cheerful… As young people would say he was cool and ready to help. First I tried to talk Nikola into helping me. Nikola is already 3 and a half months in the Salesian center in Kigali working with our missionary priest, Danko Litric. He came with fra Miro to visit us in Kivumu.

I am not very accustomed to describing my experiences, but I risk ….two of them. When Ivica first asked me to write, I tried to bribe Nikola to write in my place.  However nothing worked, neither beer nor candies. Fra Miro was more merciful and little by little he helped me to compose a story based on what I told him during our times together.

MatejaThere are also some words from me about the trip and about the couple of days that I have spent here. It is true that already in Nairobi I felt some tension… All these people, everybody so different… And Ivica who had never heard of Duje Draganja! When we arrived in Rwanda fra Mathias was waiting for us at the airport. Now, we are all living under the same roof Mathias, fra Tony, fra Innocent, fra Ivica and myself. I can’t describe the nice time we are having… We eat well because cook Oswaldi prepares delicious food out of healthy African non genetically modified vegetables, always so fresh… The best prepared meat ever… He can really prepare anything you desire! This stay is like a vacation for me!

MatejaI have not yet grown tired from working, the way we know it in Croatia. Here there is a completely different perception of time. Running after events, trying to catch up, being late—these concepts don’t exist!!!! Everything appears to be so easy going to me.  There is no apparent stress and certainly not from the same things as we are used to.  When I begin to worry about something, for example not being able to speak the local language ivica just smiles and says: “What are you worrying about?”

I enjoy playing with the children.  They are wonderful—sometimes dusty, sweaty , charming and always so cheerful and playful! I realize I need a little more patience since I got here.  I will accept anything God offers me.

Father Vjeko Center

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