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
1st June 2015 – Update from a CRIB worker
"Some people may have heard about the unrest in Burundi due to the president’s controversial decision in April, to stand for a third term. This has brought thousands of people onto the streets of Bujumbura in protest.
Since then there have been protest marches, which have been broken up by police, firing tear gas, water cannons and live bullets at protesters. Protesters have built barricades across the roads in many of the residential districts in an attempt to disrupt everyday life, by preventing people from going to work. In Kinindo, where the CRIB home is, we have experienced much unrest. Protesters regularly run around the streets in large groups, waving branches and singing anti-government songs. Whilst generally not violent to passers-by, it is very intimidating to meet more than a hundred men running towards you, brandishing sticks and crude weapons, and as a result of this, the children and young people at CRIB have been pretty much confined to home for over a month. Occasionally the protests are called off for the weekend, so the children are able to go to church, but all schools in Burundi are currently closed. For our children this has meant we have asked them to study each morning at home, which is quite a challenge when you can hear gunfire and explosions in the distance.
At present food items are still available but the longer this situation continues, the more of a challenge this will become. The children understand the gravity of the situation the country is facing and pray together that God will bring peace and a lasting solution to this crisis".
Below is Chrissie's most recent newsletter, of December 2014.
Greetings from Burundi!
My last newsletter was written in the summer when I was in the UK after having some surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from my head just before I was about to return to Burundi. Now six months on, I have fully recovered, my hair has all grown back and all is well. I am just about to fly back to the UK for three weeks for some final medical checks and will be back to Burundi in mid December with Benjamin and Hannah who are coming back home for Christmas.
It will be a real treat to be in the UK when all the Christmas things are in the shops. Christmas shopping in December will be amazing - it is not fun and a big challenge having to do that in the summer months, so shops and mince pies, what a treat this year.
On Family news, Lydia has now moved to live in Rwanda and got a new job working in a graphic design office which she seems to enjoy. She has been back to Burundi to visit and I also managed a long weekend to visit her in Rwanda. Lydia will also come home for Christmas. I am really looking forward to having all three of my kids home for the Christmas holidays. Ben and Hannah continue their studies, both attending universities in London.
Last year Hannah celebrated her 21st birthday while she was here for the Christmas break. This year Ben will return to the UK just a day before he turns 21 so will celebrate here with us and then again when he arrives back in the UK.
Once again, as we come to the end of another year, it is always a time to sit and look back over the year and see where we have come and this year is no different. It has been a great year, of course filled with all sorts of challenges but also many blessings for which we give God thanks. All the CRIB kids who have graduated from school so far are either now studying in university or working. It is a wonderful feeling to see them moving forward and making their own decisions regarding their future and what they want for their lives and pausing to think about what life is going to look like beyond CRIB!
This next summer is going to present us with one of our biggest challenges as we have about eight students who will be sitting IGCSE exams and we are at this time looking at what options are going to be available for those who are not quite academic enough to go on to take A levels.
This week, we have been blessed with a new family who have come from a partner Church in California. Tim and Katie and their 2 children, Eleanor 3 and Noah 1, are living in a house next to the CRIB house and will be taking some responsibilities for mentoring our young people as they are making decisions. Now as young adults they need people around to advise and give guidance to them, it is an exciting time in the lives of all these youngsters but also can be daunting as they look at the future, so it is great to have some new people to come alongside and “do life” with us as we move forward to release all these youngsters into the fullness of everything God has planned for their lives.
Now with Rosa & Deo and Katie & Tim all on the same site with the CRIB family we have a great team to be able to oversee the daily comings and goings and be close to direct and supervise all the movements of our large family.
The situation in the country has been quite unstable for a number of months now, all kinds of gangs running riot, lots of scare tactics and we have to be very wise and extra cautious about when to be out and which areas to avoid. Most people at this time would choose not to go out late at night; it goes dark around 6pm so I am happy to stay home after dark.
Our challenges with the lack of electricity continue and we tend to get just 4 to 5 hours each evening from around 6pm. I am so thankful that I have a generator and a few solar panels which helps a lot to have lights and a fan in this heat!
Life goes on and we are thankful that the Lord continues to provide for all of our needs, and gives us the grace and the wisdom to keep moving forward with great excitement and confidence as we approach another New Year.
I will be meeting with a book publisher in a couple of weeks time and maybe by the summer I will have completed the story of this incredible journey.
I take this opportunity to wish you all God’s Richest Blessings and a very Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year. Thank you all so very much for your continued love and support to me and the work here with all the CRIB family.
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.