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.