Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mars Hill in Burundi.

In mid March I spent a week with Mars Hill Church on their Vision Trip. It was great! We spent one day Upcounty in Ngozi and then another day along the Lake in Nyanza Lac. We focused on helping the team gain a detailed understanding of Turame, our Microfinance program, and our Rehabilitation program which provides assistance for Returning Refugees: this consisted of visiting many Turame venders in the market and asking a lot of questions about goats to returnees;) There's absolutely no way to walk away from our rehabilitation program without a new found love of goats. I particularly loved the goat I had on a brochette for lunch after our visit with beneficiaries in Nyanza Lac;)
Hmmm...there's nothing like a good goat brochette....

Moving Along...

Below you can see Ngaira, Country Director to World Relief Burundi, as he talks with a returning refugee and mother of eight. She described to Ngaira that before the War her family owned the land from where her house was currently located down to the main road. Upon returning years later after the War, they were only given the small plot of land that the house was currently on. This is one of many stories about land issues due to the War and returning refugees. Many Burundian Refugees who have been in the camps in Tanzania have returned to find their land occupied by others.

After we spent some time with returnees and understanding our Rehabilitation program. We visited a market where many of our Turame clients have small businesses. After we had listened to many stories about the impact loans had had in the lives of a number of Turame Clients, Mars Hill prayed over the 3 loan officers who serve in the Nyanza Lac region.

One of the things that I love most about Burundi is it's World Famous Drummers. Below you can see the Drummers doing what they do best, drumming, singing and flipping. It was ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!

Did I mention showing off their muscles??

The FNL.

The FNL.
I saw the FNL this week. Loads of them. Hundreds of them. I was riding in a Land cruiser with Mars Hill Church when a modorcade of Government Trucks passed us with dozens of Rebels in the back of each vehicle. I'm not just talking about a couple of pick up trucks either, but numerous Military trucks. There were at least 15 vehicles and a lot of AK-47's.
I was shocked. When I asked if it was the military, my friend and co-worker stated that it was the FNL (Burundi's last Rebel group) being brought in from the bush. A peace agreement with the Government has been in process for the last couple of months and the FNL were being brought in to be registered as a formal Political Party. In addition to their party being registered many of the FNL are to be placed in the Military or perhaps the Police force and others will be given a stipend.
I can not describe to you the scene of sitting in the land cruiser, observing the motorcade of Government vehicles with hundreds of FNL cheering and celebrating as they were being taken to the military camp.
For more information on the FNL you can click on the link below: