When we first lived in Burundi years ago we had the pleasure of living with an Irish girl, Nicola, who was also new to the country. We became close friends and it was not too long before she met and married her amazing Burundian husband, Ezechiel. They have worked hard to care for ‘the least of these’ by founding Yada. Yada takes care of some of the poorest families in Bujumbura, by providing tutoring, hygiene skills, medical care, and above all, the Gospel. They feed the children a meal every day, provide follow up visits with their school teachers weekly, focus on family discipleship and visit the families in their homes regularly. I had the pleasure of spending the morning at Yada this past week and seeing this outstanding work for myself. What struck me most was when the children began to play. When the barefoot kiddos grabbed a jump rope and began to play and giggle, all the heaviness of poverty broke away for a few minutes.
This past week there was an 8 year old girl named Greta who came to tuition and collapsed unconscious because of malaria – an easily curable disease currently raging senselessly throughout Burundi. Her mother, who begs in the city, had said goodbye to her that day knowing she was leaving her to die. Praise be to God, the male teacher in the photos below grabbed her, rushed her to the hospital – a courageous act in itself, as he was afraid of the girl dying in his arms and the community blaming him. The doctor struggled to get enough medication into her for her to be revived, but in the end, she lived! All of her medical expenses and food for her and her family during this time are covered by Yada and those giving towards their ministry. This is a testimony of hope told all over the community this week. Bless organizations like Yada who are doing it right, in a world where many NGO’s struggle to actually help those they claim to love. If you have any desire to bless them and their work, please let me know. I would love to pass on any gift. You can see some pictures of the children they have sponsored below. They are doing so much, but there is much left to be done. Please be praying for them as they continue to care for the oppressed and the broken as Jesus does.
This darling child belongs to a good friend here in Burundi. We have a funny friendship story – she and I are from the same area in the US, and we connected through a random mutual friend in Burundi where she lives with her husband. Our circles overlapped quite a bit through Facebook and Instagram but we never met each other until we moved back to Burundi this year! She and her hubby had Mazie a year ago, and she is just delicious! This was my first family shoot in Burundi, so finding a great spot was a little difficult, but with the lake and mountains, I must say it went pretty well!
I have had the pleasure this past month of traveling to a few NGO’s here in Burundi and taking pictures and videos of their ministries and efforts. One of these opportunities was at Future Hope School, a school founded by Youth For Christ Burundi. I was tasked with capturing their food program, where they feed the students lunch, as for some, this is the only meal they receive each day. Having spent an abundance of time in Gitega, it was a joy to take a day to laugh, play and capture many carefree smiles and full bellies in a country where both are hard to come by. Enjoy a few snapshots of these sweet kiddos and their mountains of ubugali and beans! One of my favorite moments was catching a few shots of the sprint under the school landing away from the monsoon storm that hit while we were there! The other sweet moment was spending an hour at one student’s home interviewing his guardian grandparents and living a day in his life. For him and his brother, this food program is keeping them alive. Praise the Lord for this provision!