In 2002 Ray and I left Canada for Burundi to help Chrissie Chapman , a friend who has an organization called CRIB (children rescued in Burundi) The children in her care were rescued during the years of war in the country. She had started the first English school in the country to educate the children in her care. In the years to follow many other children in the country began to attend the school. Our involvement during the early years was helping to see teachers were hired from Burundi, Kenya and later Uganda. Ray was the principal, pastor and teacher. We had the privilege of getting to know many wonderful men and women who came to work in the school. We have had ongoing friendships over the years with them. The school now has around 600 students Primary and Secondary levels.
Over the years working in the school in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi we had opportunity to help find funding for many projects in the country. It was a wonderful opportunity to go up country regularly after being confined to the city during the war.
We have many friends who live and work in Burundi and it is a blessing to see all that is being done to restore what has been destroyed through the years of conflict.
In 2003 we began to work with Ruben our Congolese friend who is a refugee from DRC. He has a deep concern for his country and has given his life to that end. Ray was still working in the school and going on trips with Ruben into the mountains of DRC , seeing the heart Ruben has for his people and the desire to see peace and restoration come to the land really moved our hearts. After Ray stepped down from his work in the school in Burundi we gave ourselves fully to work with Ruben while still supporting our friends who live and work in Burundi.
We are now working alongside Ruben and a team of Congolese, under the name ” Najenga Congo” which means in Swahili, we are building. It is not just physically building but building hope into children and families for the future. We see the main way this happens is through education.
DRC , South Kivu province is just across the border from Burundi so it makes for easy travel back and forth until such time we have a place to live there.
Najenga Congo has land in South Kivu where we are beginning to build a training centre and start an agriculture project as well. I will share more about our projects in DRC in the future posts.