I just had the opportunity to visit Burundi. Located in Eastern Africa, Burundi is a small country bordering Rwanda and Tanzania. Burundi has a totally different feel from what I’m used to in Zambia. French is one of the main languages spoken, there are palm trees everywhere, its humid, and the traffic consists of Bajaj (small taxi’s) and motorbikes for the most part. It’s mountainous and beautiful. And the coffee? Oh the coffee! I would move to Burundi for the coffee alone.
I have now visited all 8 of our Village of Hope locations. It took a little while for us to get to Burundi because there has been a lot of unrest in the country recently, but just days short of being in Africa for a year, I was able to finally visit this beautiful place.
Cyriaque, the head teacher at VOH, took me on a tour one morning through Bujambura, Burundi’s capital city. He told me that outside of the city, people aren’t used to seeing foreigners, which explains the excessive “muzungu” calls. As we drove, Bajaj, motorbikes, cows and goats swerved around us. Cyriaque told me a little about the conflicts between tribes, and the recent unrest in the country. He assured me that Burundians are peaceful people, and explained that it’s very difficult for Burundians when war breaks out. I don’t even know a small percentage of what Burundians have had to go through while all of this unrest was unfolding. I don’t know many details and won’t pretend like I know. All I have heard have been stories about grenades going off, people getting caught in cross fires, and streets being filled with dead bodies. A couple of times during the year, we would get messages from the director at this particular VOH location asking us to pray for the country, or telling us that he was spending the night at the VOH office because it wasn’t safe to walk home that day. When I asked some of the staff about their experiences, they told me that they could hear gun shots and people screaming just outside of the centers’ walls. Cyriaque took me down a street with some really big potholes – or so I thought. He explained to me that the big holes were actually due to grenades. I couldn’t even imagine how awful it would have been to be in Burundi while all of this was happening.
Thankfully, no child or staff at VOH Burundi was harmed during those awful days. We praise God for His protection over the Village.
I LOVED being in Burundi. I’ve been so blessed to travel quite a bit throughout Africa during this year, and Burundi has definitely been my favourite trip. Here are some pictures!