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You've brought back smiles to African kids’ faces!
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 Written by fra Ivica Perić

You've brought back smiles to African kids’ facesUpon my return from my native land to Rwanda I told myself that I would sit at my desk straight away and write a thank you note to all those who were our hosts, who initiated activities to help our projects… as well, to all those who recognized our goals, our work and effort. But, it’s one thing to say it...

Only now, almost a month after I’ve returned to Rwanda, have I found some spare time to write something. In our mission, I was greeted by a “mountain” of things that required my immediate attention, ranging from regular pastoral activities and the supervision of the construction of the future secondary school, to organizing instruction classes in the existing vocational training centre.

I had spent a month in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. A lot of people would call it a vacation, but a vacation from Africa and helping those in need is something I definitely don’t require. I’d rather say that from time to time I like to “drop in” on my native land, because my heart is drawn to it, to visit my relatives and dear friends; to visit my mother, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

I was especially glad to see that during my stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia I succeeded in sensitizing the people of my native land – starting from common people and my Franciscan brothers to government officials – for helping Africans.

In fundraising actions for the construction of the secondary school in Kivumu, I wasn’t only helped by my nieces, relatives and friends. Franciscans from the friary in Kreševo and the whole Bosnian Franciscan Province, the Provincial, fra Lovro Gavran, and Croats from all over the world also got involved.

Representatives of municipal government in Kiseljak, headed by the Mayor, Mladen Mišurić Ramljak, also helped us. This year I was awarded the Plaque of the Municipality of Kiseljak for “significant contributions in the domain of humanness and spirituality, for efforts to help people in need, and for love shown to man, through which both the Municipality of Kiseljak and entire Bosnia and Herzegovina are being promoted.“

Although I’m not really a man who seeks rewards for his work, because everything I do I do from my heart, I have to admit that I was glad to receive this plaque – because it was proof that people see value in what missionaries do in Africa.

After staying in my native land, I have a feeling that entire Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia now know and want to help ‘Our Man in Africa’ in creating a better and more humane world on the ‘Black Continent’.

A world in which children will have regular meals, electricity and water, and a right to education; a world in which young people will get the chance to earn their own living.

To all those who recognized this noble intention I thank from my heart on behalf of all those I’ve been trying to help during the past 22 years. To all those who’ve been unselfishly helping I can promise that they are in for a very valuable prize: smiles on the faces of African children!

Let us sometimes remember those smiles and help them. Then the same smiles will appear on our faces, smiles of happiness because we helped someone. And that smile is something priceless...

Translated by: Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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