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Franziskaner Mission
Thursday, 09 June 2011 Written by fra Ivica Perić
Mpushi school and church Friary Kivumu One of the houses School machines School kitchen Kivumu parish church Primary School classrooms School machines School Padr Vjeko Mpushi school and church

Nothing we do in our Kivumu mission would be possible without the help of our donors from around the world to whom we owe endless gratitude. Good people who have been there for us and who have unselfishly helped for years share our joy about the progress of this parish, which has for the last few years experienced substantial development.

Among them the best known and the biggest donor is the Franziskaner Mission from Germany. They have, thanks to the goodness of the German people, done so much for us, for Kivumu, and for these people that their donations can be measured in millions.

Their cooperation began with our dear fra Vjeko Ćurić. At the time of his arrival in Rwanda, Kivumu had nothing and was just an outpost of the neighbouring parish. Thanks to Fra Vjeko and the Franziskaner Mission, the intersecting hills began to acquire real contours of a village. A friary, church, dispensary, and school was built...

The community became a village in the true sense of the word. Having already done so much for us, our friends from Germany continue to help us today. And their enthusiasm hasn’t waned. In fact, I believe that it is getting even stronger. I don’t think that I am able to name all the ways in which they’ve helped us, but one particular item stands out. In the period between 1994 and 1998, after the bloody Rwandan War, they helped to build around 14,000 houses in this country for those who were homeless. So many had lost their homes in the war, and people were trickling back from refuge in neighbouring countries.

It’s really an impressive figure. It took a lot of good will and sacrifice on the part of all those who donated their resources for the project. And, although that in itself seems a lot, it was just a tiny drop in an ocean of the many things they’ve financed here in Kivumu. With their help, we have continued the construction of houses for the poor, and Franziskaner Mission also financed the building and renovation of houses for all our teachers.

After the war, their donations provided food for returning refugees. Considering that the lives of these Rwandese had to begin again from nothing, because they had lost everything, this huge task was accomplished by our friends from Germany distributing hoes for digging the land. That meant such a great deal to the local people because they were provided with a useful tool for farming, and thus were able to grow food for themselves in the fields.

Franziskaner MissionAs I’ve already mentioned, they helped fra Vjeko to build the dispensary, the church and the friary. They also financed the construction of our Padri Vjeko Center; completely supplied it with equipment; bought all kinds of machines - from manual to electric ones; obtained all the necessary tools, books, furniture, even a TV and other teaching devices. As well, they equipped our school kitchen, and this year they are also participating with donations needed to provide our students and teachers with a daily warm meal. And not only that... their contributions help us to provide the salaries for the entire school staff each month.

They haven’t stopped at Padri Vjeko Center. They also helped with the construction of the primary school’s classrooms in the village and the acquisition of desks and chairs, and books for the little ones, as well as so much other equipment. If one considers that the secondary schooling in Rwanda costs around 300 euro per year per student, their donations help us to educate about ninety talented children throughout the country.

Furthermore, in order to provide our Padri Vjeko Center teachers with constant improvement of their teaching skills - because that is the only way our school will be able to develop and progress – we used our friends’ donations to send our teachers for additional training to - not only Rwandan locations, but also to neighbouring Uganda and even to Canada.

Franziskaner Mission regularly pays for medical treatment bills of the poorest in hospitals, as well as health insurance for the poor. And they financed the construction of the church in Mpushi, a small local outpost community.

Their unselfish help meant a great deal to us when we renovated the Kivumu friary, adding bathrooms in some of the quarters, and also building several new rooms and storage spaces. Of course, they also ‘jumped in’ when we needed to fix the water supply system -- they helped us build a reservoir in order to ensure there is enough water for the friary and the school. They even helped us to install gutters that ‘catch’ rainwater from the roofs and take it to the reservoirs.

And still they manage to send us volunteers every year who help us so much in our everyday work. For them there is no such thing as a small or big project. They accept everything, and think of it as important, whether it is the acquisition of hoes for digging or building a house. They understand that even small things mean a lot here.

We truly thank them for that!

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

Father Vjeko Center

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