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Memories of father Vjeko - 2/2
Sunday, 09 September 2007 Written by fra Ivica Perić

fra Vjeko CuricIn the morning fra Vjeko and I were alone for the prayer. After morning prayer we went to celebrate Holy Mass with the people in the Church. After Mass, as is the custom, we went to greet the people. As usual when fra Vjeko was present there was much joking and laughter. Vjeko was especially talented in languages and was able to be intimate with the parishioners using their own native tongue. He knew the Rwandan language, customs and culture of the people. He knew their proverbs, he knew their way of thinking and coming to conclusions. This is by no means an easy feat in a culture where things are expressed so differently to the way Vjeko and I were trained to communicate.

Perhaps part of our political history gave Vjeko an entry point into Rwandan culture as this is also a culture where more is left unsaid than spoken openly. One needs to “feel” the message rather than wait for it to be spoken. Of Vjeko it was said that he knew the language and the proverbs better than many of the natives of the land. This, more than anything else, brought him close to the people and made him beloved by them. This also, of course, made him even more busy with a constant stream of persons needing his attention. Between the construction work and the personal needs of the people he had little time for himself. Yet he still found means to accompany me to Kigali and help me find a way to Uganda. He organized things so well in this as in other parts of life.

Traveling from Kivumu to Kigali was quite interesting. There were road blocks every few miles which meant a frequent checking of documents. Such practices would enrage some travelers who would experience a kind of invasion of their privacy. Not Vjeko!!!! With laughter, joking in the local language and a passing of a few hundred francs we continued on our way with no problem beyond the time it took. For a trip that can be done in 30 minutes this trip lasted more than two hours. 

Finally we reached Kigali. Then still more to do. The mention of Uganda brought immediate suspicion, which was to be expected, as during this period there were rebel groups attacking Rwanda from the Ugandan side of the border. These rebels were Rwandans - mainly exiles from previous wars -.

Still after visiting many offices we managed to get a ticket for Uganda. Afterwards we visited don Sebastijan with whom I spent the night, while Vjeko returned to Kivumu. On the following day I flew to Entebbe in Uganda where fra Tomo Andic awaited me.

 
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