Frustrations, fellowship and fun

Alison_28_march_2011_001 Posted by Alison Gill on Wed, 16 Feb 2011 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Greetings once again from Bujumbura. For nearly 24 hours we just had no running water in the whole town. My worker Isaac told me that all last night there was heavy shooting where he lives and some bullets went through the roof of his house and have destroyed some of the sheeting. It is unclear who is behind the shooting but probably it is part of the rebel resurgence. Click here to read a newspaper article on the story: link text.

Daily life here is massively harder than it is in the West and recently I have had many frustrations e.g. it took Isaac 7 visits to 3 offices in Bujumbura just to get my 2011 car tax! Often I find that I am just constantly finding things broken and trying to get them repaired but it never seems to end! The straw that breaks the camel’s back comes to mind – so please pray for grace and that the Lord would protect things from breaking so easily (usually because there is such shoddy workmanship and low grade materials – China sends much lower grade materials to Africa than the West.)

Last month Sue, a friend from Sussex, was with me for 2 weeks, shadowing my work and doing some training. She was great company, really encouraging and went home with a clearer understanding of the highs, lows and fragility of life here.
This month I’m working on producing mini notes on all our training materials to be translated into Kirundi and French. I am still trying to plod on with my own language study and thinking about how to get fresh enthusiasm and focus. It’s a long haul! Tomorrow we have a follow-up for the Christian Prayer Ministries’ training last Oct.

I’m really looking forward to going to Kenya at the weekend to be with my parents for a few days’ break. We booked it in Feb to coincide with their half term and because in early March my 2 year work permit expires and I cannot travel until I have a new one. That is a mammoth task so pray as we submit the application for no requests for bribes, favour, ease and speed.

Burundi cultural tip: taxi minibuses here have interesting slogans on them from the plain random to weird. Once I saw, ‘you die when God takes you’ which made me think, ‘not, then at the mercy of the bus driver?’ Pray for training to be enforced for drivers here.

Busiga training and work with Batwa

Sue and I went to Busiga in Ngozi Province to train pastors in trauma healing where my colleagues, Passie and Hermès work and live. Somehow I thought the pastors would be Batwa but we found there are no Batwa pastors in that area (and hardly any even in Burundi). The training went well though the participants had low educational levels so we had to simplify things. The dramas they did made a strong impression! Burundians are very good actors!

Batwa are 1% of the population in Burundi, the lowest of the low (similar to untouchables/Dalits in India), with an average age of death of 27 years. Some projects are helping Batwa but as far as we know, Harvest for Christ is the first organisation to send missionaries to live amongst them. Passie and Hermès have been there over 1 year and clearly have strong relationships. There is a porridge project that they have for 150 children who otherwise would only have a poor quality evening meal. In 2 months they are already looking healthier.

Prayer points:

- Praise for steady stream of ‘paying guests’ – pray it continues.

- For the Lord to thwart plans the enemy has to cause destruction in Burundi – through rebellions, terror attacks.

- Onesphore, my boss, looking for volunteers whom I can train to train others in trauma healing.

- For speed in gaining a new 2 year work permit.

- Restful and good time with my parents.

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