Chrissie Chapman, Burundi, Central Africa
CRIB (Children Rescued in Burundi)
During the genocide in Burundi in the 90’s Chrissie Chapman began a work to rescue children who had suffered unimaginable hardship and lost their parents in the crisis that took place then. Her commitment to these children has gone way beyond the call of duty, as she has adopted three of them Hannah (left), Ben, and Lydia (right).
Today there are more than fifty children in the CRIB work, who also go to The King’s School, a Christian school where they are educated in English, along with other children from the city. More than thirty of them are in secondary school, and others have gone on to futher education or work.
visit CRIB's website at www.burundichildren.com
Below is Chrissie's latest newsletter of June 2013
Here we are again with summer holidays and end of school year just weeks away. This has been an interesting year so far but let me start with family news first. Lydia continues to enjoy life being back here in Burundi. She is working hard and loving working with Air Uganda doing quite long hours, especially when there are flight delays and she spends hours at the airport, but on the whole life is good. She is still managing to keep up with her hairdressing skills when she has spare time and I am really enjoying having her back home even though we are a bit like ships passing in the night most of the time. Hannah is just about to come back home for the summer. She has completed her first year studying Law in London, has really enjoyed it, made lots of new friends and seems to have kept up very well with all the intense study and exams. It will be great having her back for a couple of months to help out with the busy summer activities here. Benjamin is just about to finish college in the UK and at this moment is not sure what to do next: Gap year before Uni? Get a job? Come to Burundi; go back to UK after the summer? . . . watch this space - when we know we can share! He is still very involved with the worship team at Hillsong Surrey and whatever the future holds he wants to continue with that. I am looking forward to having all my brood home for the summer months to help out with the busy schedule here. This summer we have a large team from Santa Barbara coming for two weeks to help out with a summer programme for our kids which we are all excited about and looking forward to with great anticipation of lots of fun filled days of activities.
Here at the CRIB home everyone seems to be doing ok. We have four boys right now doing IGCSE’s and getting ready to graduate and leave school in a month’s time. It is looking like Samuel will go back to school in September to begin a 2-year A level course. Enoch, depending on results, will probably be looking at maybe going to college in Nairobi to study graphic design. He would really like to be an architect but it is not likely that he will cope with the A level course required to go down that route - we will see. David and Keve have no desire to go any further with school and both are exploring possibilities for getting work here in Burundi which is quite a challenge but we are working on some possibilities at this time.
Then we have three students namely Grace, Moise and Pacifique who are all doing A levels and will complete next year with a determination to go to University and get a degree, Grace in journalism, Moise in civil engineering and Pacifique in Law. This year a Christian University in Oklahoma has offered partnership with our school here in Burundi to offer two students each year (from our school) 50% scholarships to go to Oklahoma to study. As you may imagine, our kids have their eyes firmly fixed on such a possibility! The kids are all now young men and women and starting at last to understand the importance of giving their all to the opportunity they have to study and get good grades. It is gratifying to see them working so hard but at the same time challenging as we have a number of kids who really struggle at an academic level and it’s a challenge to know how best to help them at times when there are so few resources in Burundi.
In April one of our teenagers, Leah aged 18, went to be with the Lord. Leah had been in my care since she was a baby; she came to us very sick with liver problems and a blood disorder. I was told when she was a year old that she would die as a child but she lived a good and happy life for eighteen years. It was only in the last two years that she struggled with health issues which slowed her down considerably, but Leah loved life and she really loved Jesus and one day she just announced she was going to be with him… and simply left! We had a wonderful thanksgiving service for her life, with over 200 school friends and friends from church coming to be with us. However, as you can imagine it has been a challenge to walk this road with team and the kids who were so close to her. We know we have this Hope... we will see her again one day… but we miss her.
The rest of the CRIB family are doing well, growing up, maturing, working hard and many of the kids in the last few weeks have started attending a New Church in Bujumbura, English speaking, which they are enjoying and several have re-committed their lives to the Lord and seem to be doing well, making new friends and finding their own way and identity. It is good.
The Lord has continued to provide for all of our needs. We were given a gift earlier in the year that enabled us to buy a new truck which has been such an amazing blessing as the old truck died and we use a truck all the time for carrying our supplies of food items and charcoal etc. Also, earlier in the year, the central market was set alight and burned to the ground. This has had quite a devastating effect on the local community and also the economy as a whole. It has become very hard to get certain items and prices have simply gone sky high. Things like charcoal and dried food items such as rice and beans, which we use all the time, doubled in price overnight. It has been such a challenging time but the Lord has been faithful and even though our running costs have increased by almost 40% my testimony continues to be that God is providing for all of our needs. He is Faithful.
I myself have been through a few health challenges but I am going on OK. I had another small melanoma removed from my back here in Burundi a couple of months ago, very straightforward and I was very glad I didn’t have to leave the country for that. I have been able to take a couple of weeks holiday in Capetown, South Africa which was simply wonderful, visiting some friends, walking by the ocean and just having time to think and pray and come back feeling refreshed and ready for the busy summer ahead of us. Then last week after longstanding problems with pretty severe varicose veins in both my legs, which have got increasingly worse, I decided to get them operated on here and went into a new hospital with full confidence that all would be well. It has all been a bit of a disaster as I sit here writing this letter with multiple small wounds on both legs, bruised from head to toe…literally…. Just don’t ask!! I will heal in time, I am alive and I have learned my lesson. Get healed by Jesus or go back to the UK. Hospitals in Burundi may be a bad idea! Oh well, Jesus is still Lord and life goes on so we continue to rejoice even though we go through trials of many kinds.
I have not forgotten or forsaken my idea to try and start some small family type businesses and would still like to start a bakery but I just can’t seem to get clarity about the how and where at this moment with everything else that has been taking my time and energy.
God bless you and thank you for your continued love and support to me, my family and the work here with the CRIB family.
In the summer of 2009 a team of young people from Living Waters Church went out to Burundi to lead a 5-day holiday club called Time Twisters for the CRIB kids and also children of staff who care for them. The focus of the club was to understand God’s plan for each person, and they spent time praying for the children that God would use them to impact the future of their country. The team were amazed to see how content and happy the children were with their lives, how they never stopped laughing, and the huge dreams they have for their futures.
The Cow Project, Burundi
We also are supporting a project managed by Evariste (left) to help hill farmers acquire cows and grow food so that they are well nourished and give good milk yields. Our support helps to buy cows, which are given to hill farmers who are also supplied with seed to enable them to grow suitable food for fodder. Once the cow has calved and the milk begins to flow the farmer is able to use some of the milk for his own personal needs, sell the remainder back to the project, and in time pay for the cow that was donated.
These cows are a real life line for villages and farmers. Their families not only get better nutrition and are consequently healthier, but they have a sustainable income too. The milk is also taken by the project and sold in the towns.
We are also contributing towards a machine which pasteurises the milk so that it keeps longer and is in better condition than it would be in its raw state.
As the farmers are able to buy their own cows and repay the loans this is then reinvested in the scheme to help other farmers obtain cows.