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There’s a bit of good in every evil
Monday, 06 June 2011 Written by fra Ivica Perić
Carpentry section Carpentry section Carpentry section Carpentry section Carpentry section

We are faced with different sorts of theft here quite often. If they’re not caught doing it, people in Rwanda don’t consider it to be stealing when they take what is not theirs. So we have to take all sorts of precautions in order to minimize the damage made by theft.

We recently noticed that we were running out of wooden planks we bought for our carpenters’ section way too fast. The carpenters use them for practice. They learn woodworking and make their first pieces of furniture out of those planks. After they’ve mastered the basics, they then manufacture pieces of furniture which are sold in order to obtain money for new planks.

Although our students spend a lot of time practicing, it was somewhat unusual that so many planks were being used... soon we realized what it was all about...

Originally we had built a wall which was not roofed, around the school’s back yard to create a storage section. The walled fence we had built obviously hadn’t been tall enough... although we had thought it was. Thieves went over it and got into the storage with ease. By night they removed planks, a few at a time. After we realized what was going on, we quickly identified and apprehended the thieves. It was former students, who knew very well where the planks were stored.

We caught them in action, with the help of the local authorities. But so far they haven’t received any kind of punishment. On the one hand, the local authorities have been blaming us for not reporting the thefts so that they can solve the cases themselves, but on the other hand, when we do report a theft, they rarely do anything about it.

We decided to put an end to the stealing. We immediately started renovating the storage space. The walls were increased, the outer door was walled up, so the storage space can now only be entered by using the door that leads to one of the workshops. We also constructed a roof above that part of the storage. So now the area is far more protected than it was before, be it from rain or thieves. And, because the walls are now a lot higher, we are able to fit more planks into the storage.

We also got an unexpected opportunity to buy more planks. In Rwanda, it is usually very difficult to obtain lumber. An opportunity suddenly appeared to buy a lot of planks from one man, so our storage is now not only renovated, but also full to the top.

There you have it. It is true that we’ve been robbed and that some damage was done to us, but those thieves also gave us the idea to enlarge and better protect our storage space. They ‘helped’ themselves to our planks, but they also helped us by forcing us to act swiftly. By protecting ourselves from their theft we gained an even bigger, better and more protected storage room. They don’t say in vain that there’s a bit of good in every evil.

Translated by: Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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