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School to the Roof
Monday, 17 September 2012 Written by Branimir Mlakić

School to the Roof

The last time I was in Kivumu, which was two years ago, the talk about the construction of a technical secondary school on the Franciscan land in Kivumu near the main road was still just that – talk. At that time, fra Matija Kurevija and I, with the help of Ivica’s little and lively niece, Antonela, worked on organizing a library from a whole lot of books that arrived in a container from Canada. Pretty exhausted, in the evening we would relax, sitting outside the friary with fra Ivica and the rest of the friary’s residents, enjoying the beautiful, warm African nights and the starry sky, exchanging experiences and stories from Africa, Canada, Bosnia, Croatia...

On those occasions, Ivica would often mention that he’d been planning to start with the construction of a secondary school for ages; that the children of Kivumu deserved it, but also that it would be a tremendous undertaking, one that demanded a lot of effort, money and – in Africa this is the greatest virtue – a lot of patience. In those days, two years ago, although Ivica was still just dreaming, he had no intention of abandoning his dream to build a school one day which would be the greatest gift to the youth of Kivumu.

Today, two years later - a miracle! In Kivumu I was greeted by a school building that had already taken shape! I can tell you that it’s going to be a real beauty: red brick façade, tall windows, a spacious yard... In my head I already imagine the compound swarming with playful and noisy girls and boys, notebooks and textbooks in hand.

We’ve just come back from the construction site, so I’m still under the impression of it all. It was nice to see all those workers running around carrying earth, bricks, tools, smoothing the façade, levelling ground or installing windows; the craftsmen with their serious faces taking measurements and seeing that everything is done properly. It was even nicer to see the students from our vocational school learning their trade by doing practical work on such a big project. The experience they gain here will most certainly be of great use in the future. Here and there, around the construction site, we see curious children, completely unaware of the possibility that, one day, they too will get a chance to sit in the classrooms that are growing before their eyes.

Although not at the desired speed - in terms of African progress, the construction is nonetheless proceeding at a relatively quick pace. These days we have actually reached the roof! As you can see in the photos, the installation of the roof framework is almost done, and soon the buildings of the first phase of construction (eleven classrooms and toilets) will be covered and protected from the elements. After that, interior and exterior works will follow, and soon, we hope, our new beauty will be ready to take in its first attendants.

Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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