What about Congo?

Inspite of us being isolated in Burundi during this crisis progress continues over the border in Congo.

The foundation for one building on the new land is finished.  Cement is purchased for transport to the high plateau so the school for Emmanuel Centre children’s home can be finished.  Ray and Emmando hope to be able to get across to Congo to check on further work to be done.  This of course is contingent on the border security between Congo and Burundi.

Some people are asking “what are you doing while waiting around in Bujumbura”?  We thought perhaps we should give a report of our plans and progress.

While waiting, we are accessing funds here that so many have sent for support for the children from New Hope centre moved to Rwanda for a safer place to  live during these months.  A bank account is being set up in Rwanda so funds eventually can be transferred there for daily running of the homes. We hope we can travel soon to Rwanda to visit the children and give a first hand report of how they are.  Ruben and his wife are there right now overseeing the care of the mamas and children. Ray is in contact daily with Ruben and how the children are doing.

We are supporting our friend Chrissie Chapman as she is caring for her children’s home here in Bujumbura and the many daily needs during this time.  There was a funeral recently of one of the children in her care and Ray was able to be a help with that.  In these days everyone who is left in the city is looking out for one another and it is a time of “pamoje…”  unity and togetherness.(in swahili)

It is sad to see so many church leaders who have left the country in these days and the people in their churches are left on their own.  When the shepherds are gone the sheep scatter.  It is a sad outcome.

Our cook, Audace and his wife and child came today to say thank you for his job with us and care for him and his family. His wife and child are on their way to stay with family in Rwanda.  It is sad time realising how many people are suffering in separation from family in these days.  Audace will stay here in our compound now as it is unsafe for him travelling back and forth from his home.

Thank you all who have so generously supported the children we help care for with Ruben and his wife.  There are many who have no help and are on their own.

I found this quote the other day and share it with you.

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.’

_ Gandhi

Showing the children the book of pictures of themselves!
Showing the children the book of pictures of themselves!

 

 

 

 

Times like these!

Bombs, Birds and Bougainvillea

As we are finding ourselves in the middle of a crisis here in this beautiful country of Burundi, the reality of what is happening around us messes with my head and emotions.

Last week amidst military tanks on the street, bombs and heavy gunfire around the city there are still birds singing.  In the front of our house we now have barbwire strung across the wall and gates for security and bougainvillea growing.   Our tree is producing amazing avocados all the while people are being killed and thousands of people fleeing in fear of what is happening here. This week we had news of a baby born to a young couple here.  It is clear that life goes on no matter what.

While some are fleeing from this country there are others who continue to work hard harvesting food and bringing them down to a market that may or may not be open to sell them.  People open their shops sometimes daily for a few hours, others have left the country and locked the shop doors with heavy chains.  Many have struggled with leaving the country and others struggling to know if they should still stay.

Tensions are high and there is a tangible fear in the atmosphere here.  What one hears on news is only the tip of the deep issues in this country.  Many things cannot be said publicly for fear of reprisals.  Journalists are watched carefully and are in fear of what could happen.  Only the government radio station is now open.   The people who work for us are concerned, expressing fear of the Imbonerakere (the youth wing of the ruling party) who are reported to have threatened the population if they are not supporting the government party.  Many reports have been shared but because of fear, names of the perpetrators are not put forward.  Fear keeps people quiet when perhaps there needs to be much said.

Every day there is a struggle to maintain right perspective when everything feels upside down.  Sadness, anger and tiredness seek to overwhelm people.  The stress felt due to all the unrest and lack of news causes different reactions in people then they would have imagined themselves to fall into. I have such admiration for those leaders of churches who have stayed in the country to care for the people.

The population of this country and those countries around are suffering greatly and there is a feeling of helplessness that hovers over our minds these days.

We thank God for those of you who continue to lift up the people in this region in prayer.  Thank you for your friendship and support.  Because of you, we have a wonderful beginning of support financially  for the children from New Hope Centre as they are settling into a peaceful place for this time.

Thank you on behalf of the children and for their future.

IMG_5497
on their way to a safer place.

These Days!

  “These are the days my friends, I wonder how they will end.”

Today I give thanks for life, for family and friends.  I even give thanks for electricity, water, food and a place to call home here in Africa.

I don’t understand why God has given us such blessings when I see so many struggling to even survive.  There is so much I don’t understand.  These days here in Burundi people are loosing their lives fighting for change in the way their country is governed.  People don’t have enough food or jobs and are running away to  countries nearby  fearing for their lives.  Some leave their homes wondering if they will be there if and when they can return.

Each day the men who work for us seem more concerned and sad.  They want to believe there will be better days ahead and a future for their children.  They have hopes and dreams like we do in Canada but the dreams  are continually dashed.

The questions I have these days are many.  What are we able to do being here,? How can we make a difference in the limited way we are able to even move around with the insecurity?  Even though I do know only God can bring change in lives and nations, however here we are trying to deal with this craziness.

There is much happening daily here and it is not clear to us exactly how things are going to play out in the days ahead.  For now we try to keep family and friends informed as best we can.  Every day is different.  Some days it seems as though it is business as usual here.  Other days we hear about grenade attacks and people killed, we see blockades in streets, no gas, shops closed and on and on. Tensions are high as people wait to see what will happen.  As people make decisions to leave the country or stay, we try to support them in whatever they decide.

We still have not been able to get to the children’s home we work with due to the barricades in the streets near the home but are in constant phone contact.  The mamas are with them and a young man who administrates things at the home. They are safe and doing okay despite fear triggered from past traumatic events. There are plans in place if things should escalate and we need to move the children.

Thank you to all who are praying and giving encouragement in these days.  We realise again how important it is to be part of  a community.