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 Below is Chrissie's latest newsletter of June 2014.
Once again I find myself saying ‘where has the time gone’? We are almost at the end of another school year and yet it only seems like a few weeks ago I was writing my Christmas newsletter.
I will begin with family news. Lydia is still with me at home in Burundi, she continues to enjoy life working with one of the local airlines and it is good to have her around. She is involved in an English speaking church and seems to be happy and well settled now living back in Burundi.
Hannah has just completed her second year at SOAS in London studying law. She is trying hard to get some work experience this summer as well as working most weekends in a restaurant to earn some money and will probably come back home to Burundi for about three weeks towards the end of the summer to have a break before starting back at Uni for her third year in the autumn. Benjamin has survived his first year at Westminster Uni. He has enjoyed some of the course but it has been a challenge to him as there is so much diversity within the music industry and he has struggled a little with the course, but end results have been good. Ben will be in Burundi for the whole summer, he is going to be responsible for the sports summer programme for all our kids and also movie evenings so he will have a busy time.
As for me, right now I am in the UK about to return to Burundi in a few days time. I once again had a problem with a basal cell carcinoma on my head. I came back to the UK to get surgery for that and it did in fact turn out to be rather extensive so I ended up with quite a large area having to be surgically excised, and all my hair shaved off. With the big bandage following the surgery my son said I looked like a giant smurf! The most troublesome and painful part of the procedure has been a skin graft taken from my leg to graft onto my head but it is all healing well and most of my hair will grow again in time. I have a number of very brightly coloured scarves which I am getting quite creative with and will go back to Burundi looking like an African Queen!
Life back in Burundi with CRIB is never boring! The kids are growing up fast, most of them taller than me now. They are a wonderful group of youngsters and I am very proud of them as they have mostly settled into the swing of long days at school with lots of hard work to try and get the grades they need to go and take A levels, with a number of them really having a desire to go on to study at university or for those that are not quite up to the mark academically, to go to a training college to learn a trade.
At this time we have Murungwa in Uganda just about to start his fourth and final year at university doing a degree in computer sciences.
We have Moise and Grace both of whom have won scholarships for Oklahoma Christian University, Moise studying engineering and Grace journalism.
Budusy is in Kenya studying computer technology.
Gentil, David and Keve are all now working in various areas in school as classroom assistants and doing a very good job.
This year we have two students who will graduate from IGCSE’s. Belize will be doing a diploma course in hospitality and hotel management in a new college here in Burundi and Niyongabo will go on to take an A level course, he has a dream to be a doctor.
Pacifique graduates from A levels this summer and we are looking for a place for him in Rwanda, he wants to study law. The course starts next January so he will spend the rest of this year in French classes to improve his French as for practicing law in Burundi he will need both French and Kirundi as well as his English.
Next summer I think we have about nine young people who will graduate from IGCSE’s….my babies are all grown up and turning into doctors , lawyers and teachers and all sorts of other exciting careers which is a dream coming true, these young people are tomorrow’s leaders in Burundi.
Burundi has faced a number of challenges this year. At the beginning of the year whilst the UK was experiencing heavy rain and severe flooding so was Burundi but the world never heard about the mountain slides and over 12,000 people made homeless overnight as their houses were completely destroyed. There were many fatalities, mostly children who got caught up in the mud slides or washed away in the rivers as the rain flooded down the mountains sweeping everything in its path. It will probably take years to try and get all the displaced people out of the makeshift camps as the government and other aid agencies try to help with the rebuilding of almost 5,000 homes. Added to that disaster is a very unstable political situation as an attempt is being made in government to change the constitution so that the residing president can serve for a third term. There are rumours that Burundi may be heading into another genocide and there is a lot of fear around. These are challenging days but God is Good and we have experienced His protection many, many times in so many different situations so I feel at Peace that He will protect us and give wisdom to know how we walk through these difficult days.
I am very excited that we have a couple coming to join our team in November from Santa Barbara, California. Tim and Katie Brock are coming with their two young children aged 3 and 1 years. Quite a commitment at this time with the political situation being so tense but we all feel a peace about them coming at the end of the year; however they will come with open ended tickets so if problems arise we can load them on a plane back home! The elections are not until spring next year, just a lot of fear that people embrace which is hard. We are excited that Tim and Kate with family will live on site and they are going to be youth pastors / mentors helping out with everyday life with the CRIB kids. Our boys are so happy to have another guy on site! It is really fantastic to have someone for the boys to talk to and they know Tim a little as he came for two weeks with a team last summer. I am also so happy he is a plumber by trade as to have a handy man on site who is spiritually minded and earthly useful is a real bonus!
One final piece of news… for very many years so many people have asked me time and again ‘Why don’t you write a book?’ Well, it seems like now might be the right time to take on that project so I have made a start trying to write down some of the amazing stories of God’s wonderful grace, love, protection and miracles that I have seen and experienced on this incredible journey of twenty-four years in Burundi.
I thank you for your continued love and support to me and my family and our CRIB family, we all value your prayers and support so much.
I wish you God’s richest blessings. Have a wonderful summer and please continue to pray for us in these challenging days.
The Cow Project, Burundi
We also are supporting a project 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.
Evariste, who runs the Cow Project, has also started feeding milk to some of the approx. 5000 street kids of Bujumbura. He plans to open a street café where the kids can come and have a cup of milk for free.