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 December 2013.
Once again here we are, with the year rapidly coming to an end, Christmas now in sight and the New Year on the horizon. It is always good to take a few minutes to pause and look back at the way the Lord has kept us and His Faithfulness never ceases to amaze me as I reflect on all we have managed to accomplish again this year.
I will begin with family news:
Lydia is still enjoying working here in Burundi with Air Uganda. Most of her time these days is spent at the airport as the main part of her job is being responsible for arrivals and departures of the flights so quite a lot of shift work as most of the flights are either very early morning or very late at night, but she is enjoying life.
Hannah started her 2nd year studying law at SOAS in London this year. She continues to enjoy University and is doing well. This December Hannah will celebrate her 21st birthday and it will be great to have her home for the Christmas Holidays and to be able to celebrate Christmas and birthday together.
Benjamin did decide in the end to accept the place offered to him at Westminster University, so in September he started a 3 year BA course in Commercial Music. He is now settling into student life in London and although it has been quite a massive change he is doing well. Ben is also looking forward to coming home for the Christmas holidays.
Both Ben and Hannah are job hunting at the moment looking for some part time work to help support themselves.
I am, of course, very excited that all my kids will be home for Christmas. I think Christmas is our most favourite time of the year with the rising level of excitement from all the kids here looking forward to treats and gifts. It is such a wonderful time to be together.
I have survived another year, Praise God! I have now just about recovered from having surgery for varicose veins done here in Burundi earlier in the year. It was not straightforward and in the end I am left still with problematic varicose veins and a lot of small scars to add insult to injury! Never mind, life goes on as they say. I did manage to take a 6 week break in September/ October. I spent a couple of weeks in the UK helping Ben find accommodation before starting university, then had a wonderful 2 weeks visiting friends in California and my last 2 weeks back in the UK which was a good time to get a break and catch up with a few friends.
Here in Burundi life continues to throw many challenges. The country as a whole is not doing well economically and we are trying to work through the ramifications of major tax increases which have brought many people and businesses to a standstill. In the summer a 40% tax increase was put on everything … food, fuel, charcoal that we use for cooking… everything. Also, because of the market burning down earlier in the year there was already quite a price increase in many items as there has been a shortage of so many things. It was just a complete nightmare to try and get all our kids new shoes for school this year, and material for uniforms. We got there in the end but what a challenge to find enough for everyone.
At the end of the last school year we had a number of our youngsters graduate after taking IGCSE’s. We now have 4 of our kids doing A levels, and 3 of our boys have left school. 1 is doing an apprenticeship in a printing shop in town; the other 2 are working at the school as assistants helping with sports and other classroom activities. One of our boys, Moise, was offered a scholarship to go to Oklahoma Christian University and he left in August to start a 4 year degree course in Mechanical Engineering. He is now settled and enjoying University life in America. One of our girls, Grace, has also been offered a scholarship for the same university for 2014. It will be good if she can go as well but even with a scholarship we still have to find a substantial amount of money to cover living costs and air fares etc. so we continue to pray and see what happens nearer the time.
All our kids are really growing up, we only have a few children left in Y6 primary, all the rest are now in secondary school… next year every single one will officially be a teenager! They all seem to enjoy school which these days takes up most of their day because they start school at 7.15am (A level students 6.30am) then they are in school until 1.pm, home for lunch and then every afternoon from 3pm – 5.30pm there is either class work or sports. It does keep them busy which is good as it is not easy to keep such a large group occupied. In the summer we had a team of 18 people come from Santa Barbara for 2 weeks to do a kind of summer camp with the kids; it was a wonderful time and a real highlight not just of the summer but the year. What a blessing it was for all of us to have such a group to come and give the kids some individual attention and lots of fun and games as well as time to talk through some of their struggles and pray together. A wonderful time was had by all and we look forward to next time, hopefully summer 2015!
Over the next few years, every year we will have youngsters who graduate from school. A small number (about 20%) of the CRIB kids will go on to take the A level course and we then need to look for suitable Universities for them. There is one University here in Burundi which is Kenyan so English speaking which is quite new and offers a few courses which might be suitable for some of our youngsters. They did introduce law this year and 2 of our boys doing A levels at the moment want to study law so that would be wonderful if could get them a place here in Burundi. For others, the courses they want may not available so we have to look further afield. America probably will not be an option for any other than the 2 kids I mentioned earlier, so Kenya or Uganda are the other places we will need to investigate.
Then of course we have the large number of others whose academic abilities will not allow them to go further than IGCSE’s, so once again we have to get some wisdom to know what next. It may be that it is time to start thinking again about whether to start some new projects to teach some of our young people a trade. When Moise graduates and comes back maybe we will start our own garage! Right now is a season to think, pray, talk to the kids and get ideas and also see what is available at diploma level in some of the colleges in Kenya which would be suitable for those who have managed to attain 3 IGCSE’s at grade C. There are many options; we just need to find the right ones for each young person individually. One organization here has approached me and asked me to submit a project that would be self sustaining with a suggestion that maybe chickens would be good. We do have 150 chickens and get eggs to sell and for the kids to eat but the suggestion of maybe 4,000 chickens is quite a large project which would mean probably buying a piece of land and starting by building the chicken houses. Just need to get it right because none of our kids are that excited about working with chickens! That doesn’t rule the project out but it needs some research to see how cost effective it would be. I do still have my bakery project on hold but again it’s the when and where and finding out if any of my young people would be interested to get involved. We will see.
Well, I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year. Once again I thank you so much for your love and support for me and the work here in Burundi.
Wishing you God’s Richest Blessings.
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.