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Shopping centre 'Bend down'
Monday, 13 July 2015 Written by Antun Tešić

That is how I call place where there is market on Thursdays. Everyone goes there once for the day and I go twice. First time I go is around 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. when there are about five or six sellers with their helpers. The market is on a dusty road, in a meadow by the forest and everything is on the steep part of the hill. They choose a place where to put their bag or piece of tarpaulin on which they plan to place their merchandise.

As one sets up, the others move a meter in front or back, another a meter or two to the left or right and everyone clams that the place they chose is the best. They can even have an argument about it but in the end they come to some agreement and one seller stays there to guard the place while others go off to get the remainder of their stuff.

Shopping centre 'Bend down'

The second time I go is around 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. during the time of biggest crowd. I always buy something but I find it more interesting to step to the highest part, where I have the best view, considering the fact that the market is on the hillside. I like to watch as several hundred people move in rhythm - some bending down to take the goods and some straightening themselves up, and so it goes.

I recommend anyone having the opportunity to observe it. That is how I got the idea to call it Shopping centre “Bend down“. I am going to miss this market and all the activity, because, aside from the fruit and vegetables, there are second-hand clothes, new clothes and shoes, pots and pans, detergent and soaps.... it’s almost impossible to describe the beauty of it all.

Shopping centre 'Bend down'

There are also players with the game of three match boxes, something similar to the game in Croatia but they don’t hide it as good. I was watching them for some time and they are real amateurs. They do it badly but they still find a victim. One young lady with a baby on her back was fooled by them and lost 1000 Rwandan francs. She and all people around her were sure which box was the real one. I was impressed by one girl who dared to confront the con man.

She was persistent and tough so the unfortunate lady got her money back and the girl got applause for her bravery and persistence. I know that girl because she sings in the church choir. Unfortunately, I don’t know her name. Never the less, thumbs up for her bravery!

Shopping centre 'Bend down'

Now the rainy season is over, but I’m not bothered by the dusty road. I am staying somewhere in the middle of the village and I have three ways to go to the village. I walk every day on one of those pathways. Once or twice a week I go to nearby Gitarama. And so it goes. I walk quite a lot. At least once in a week I go through the entire sprawling village, which isn’t small. After two months here, sometimes I miss Zagreb, my family, my friends and Croatian culture.

I start to think about it but as soon as I do, the thought comes to my mind of how much I’m going to miss this village, these people, especially the children; how much I’m going to miss the school and children in it...and this dusty road...because I’ve never walked on the road more than few hundred meters without almost every passer-by greeting me, never walked more than few hundred meters without children running after me. At least five or six come up to hug me, which makes me happy. I gladly kiss their lovely heads. I’m going to miss this so much.

Shopping centre 'Bend down'Shopping centre 'Bend down'Shopping centre 'Bend down'

I’ve been here a bit more than two months. I’m going home soon. And I’m counting the days, but I don’t know if it because I miss things at home or because I’ll miss things I’m leaving here. It’s normal that I miss my city and everything in it a little but I’m certainly going to really miss Kivumu and everything I have experienced here. And I hope that I’ll have an opportunity to come to this village once again in the future.

Father Vjeko Center

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