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Thursday14November2019
The First Day
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 Written by Ksenija & Petar Zečević

The First DayOn Monday, Holy mass in the Kivumu parish doesn’t take place in the local church, but in the chapel at the convent of Sisters of Christ King (which is located opposite the parish church, right across the village main road). We attended that mass on the first day of our stay in Rwanda. The mass was in French, and it was celebrated by fra Kizito. Every nun has an instrument, drums or percussion, and they also sing beautiful African melodies. Those who don’t have an instrument, clap their hands - which was exactly what we did.

After breakfast, fra Ivica took us to the technical school (located between the friary and the parish church), where we witnessed the student general assembly. After lining-up, there was a short prayer and then everyone went to their respective classrooms: carpenters, masons, tailors, welders. Fra Ivica had a short briefing with the teachers, and we used the time to take a few photos and to say hello to the students. We inspected the sewing machines, furniture, masonry equipment, and the students’ work...

After that we drove to the nearby primary school in Kivumu, which is governed partly by the parish Fraciscans. It is just a few minutes away if you use a car. When we arrived, the children were in their classrooms, and we took a tour of the new buildings that are being built by the students from the masonry course (helped by a qualified mason). They had made a new floor, and the required time for it to cure had passed, so they were cleaning it. Students had also made the metal windows and doors. Fra Ivica told us that they also used to make and bake their own bricks, but it turned out to be too expensiv.

However, while we were inspecting the work’s progress, the class was over and the yard was filled with several hundreds of children. They started gathering around us and in a blink of an eye we were completely surrounded. Unfortunately, they still speak neither English nor French, but they were nonetheless incredibly interested in our camera and in everything else on us. We gave one of them ‘a high five’, and immediately we had to give it to a second one, and a third one, and a fourth one, and a fifth, and a sixth... and then once more from the start. The children here are very curious and very spontaneous in communication – be it verbal, or by touching. For example, they are interested in the hair on our hands (because they’re not that hirsute), so they touch it, stroke it, even try to pull it out... :) Every encounter with the Rwandan children was a source of true joy.

On the first day we also visited Kibeho, which is around 120 kilometres away from here, which was the main reason for us to come here, but we’ll write about that later.

We also paid a visit to the Franciscan friary in Butare, and witnessed their small celebration of the feast of St Anthony, the patron of their community. The guardian of their fraternity, Innocent, showed us the friary before the celebration, and in their garden we were able to see how pineapple really grows!

Translated by: Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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