"Breathtaking" is the only way to describe the beauty of this nation and its people. In reality, it simply cannot be described, it has to be experienced. From the lush green mountain landscapes to bustling Bujumbura on the shores of Lake Tanganyaki, it's hard to take it all in. Add to the mix the unique, sophisticated, resilient, progressive Hutu and Tutsi peoples... and the precious Twa (known as 'pygmies' in colonial times) and you have an African nation like no other. Known as the heart of Africa for its location in the center of the continent and cardiac shaped boundary, Burundi will one day be the apple of the world's eye... it just has to happen.
Feed The Hungry's first container of 270,864 fortified rice meals provided by Feed My Starving Children arrived in 'Buj' about two weeks ago. On Monday the pilot school-lunch program for vulnerable kids started up in one school in Gitega and one in Rutana. ARM, an outreach of Pastor Edomond Kivuye and Eglise Vivante, oversees the project on the ground. Teams of parents and community volunteers take turns prepping and cooking the rice meals each day during the school week, which is no small task considering there are 1,900 children at both of these schools. Education has become a priority for this formerly war torn nation-- it is one of the very few countries in Africa where parents and caregivers do not have to pay tuition for public education. Peace has returned in measure since 2005, yet there is one rebel group that still lurks in the shadows, having rejected the negotiating table. The last violent outbreak was in April 2008 when rebels launched mortar attacks on the capital city.
Photos from this week's visit to Burundi can be found at http://picasaweb.google.com/sradelich/BackInBurundiNov2008