News from Rwanda

The day we celebrate life in Kivumu

This Friday was a special day in Rwanda. We commemorated the sixteenth anniversary of death of fra Vjeko Ćurić, the good spirit of Kivumu!

When one would have expected a gloomy atmosphere and downcast eyes swelling up with tears, Kivumu was instead resonating with laughter and joy.  You see, unlike Europeans, who are sad and downcast in such situations, Africans, on occasions like this, celebrate life.  So why would it be any different in Kivumu, the small village in central Rwanda where fra Vjeko had begun to celebrate and build a life worthy of man?

 

The day started with the morning Mass in the church which holds fra Vjeko’s tomb and afterwards everyone moved to the compound of the vocational school that bears fra Vjeko’s name.  There were no long, poignant speeches......just a few touching and appropriate words by local people who reminisced about moments they had spent with fra Vjeko.

And then the students who had prepared a rich and interesting programme in fra Vjeko’s honour came to the fore.  Dances typical for this part of Africa were performed one after the other – including the traditional warrior dance of Intore, performed in beautiful costumes.  And there were humorous sketches (some of which even the spirit of fra Vjeko appeared in) and recitals, prompting gales of laughter from the audience.

The inhabitants of Kivumu watched the programme from front rows.  Among them were the youngest ones, held in arms of their proud mothers, as well as the oldest ones who could remember fra Vjeko’s arrival in their village and their experiences with him very well.

The artistic programme then gave way to sports activities.  First - to match their strength and skills - were the school’s volleyball teams who had been preparing for the game for weeks.  It all resembled a real championship game, with a real net, a serious referee and a board for keeping score.  Of course, the winning team got ovations and their “five minutes of glory,” but who won was least important.  On this day when you celebrate fra Vjeko, everyone is a winner!

After volleyball came the lunch break, and the final event of the day took place at the nearby field, where teams, once again chosen by the students, matched their football skills.  Several nice moves, big misses, and a lot of effort and running was enjoyed by all.  Once more, who won didn’t matter, because in Kivumu it was the spirit of life that won!

Fra Vjeko, you can be proud of your Kivumu, just as Kivumu is proud of you.

Translated by Branimir Mlakić
Edited by Valerie Kae Ken