Or Do they?
Nothing has brought me more joy and pain in 25 years of ministry in Burundi.
Maybe that’s a little overstated, but building what is considered the best dedicated conference centre in the country certainly caused many sleepless nights, stressful days, frustrating weeks and more. Phase 1 launched in 2009, Phase 2 in 2021. It’s been a looooong journey, through the upheaval of renewed violence in 2015 when the country imploded, through Covid shutdown… but King’s Conference Centre as a social enterprise has more than survived… it has thrived!
And the key person coordinating and leading several dozen staff was the one and only Goretti Wege. What a wonderful woman she is! Her previous job was split into three roles after she left, such was her work rate. It was a gamble, however, in that she had no experience in hospitality or business. But she has rocked it.
KCC is a social enterprise to generate funds for gospel work in Burundi, whilst modelling excellence in Jesus’ name and creating jobs for many needy people. It has surpassed my expectations, and in a country where it is hard to do business, it has excelled, made a good profit, and been above reproach as it models and is known for its integrity and quality of service. As I write, indeed, we are No1 on TripAdvisor for hotels in the capital, with most comments being because ‘the staff were so welcoming and caring’, etc.
But all good things come to an end… and this week Goretti stepped off the stage, into retirement.
However, she did so with the best-case scenario in place:
Back in 2009, a young, fresh-faced Celestin Kubwimana was thrilled to get through the interview process and be employed as a receptionist at the front desk.
His integrity, work ethic and attention to detail meant he was soon promoted to Head Receptionist. His upward trajectory continued as he became head of department for the hotel section, then overall KCC Operations Manager, and now he’s reached the pinnacle as General Manager.
It’s such a joy to have seen his journey. I can only say that the presence and favour of God are on KCC. Even visitors from other faiths have remarked on that! There have been so many challenges, but the staff have pulled together. When lockdown kicked off, it was necessary to let go of some staff to survive, and the staff all banded together in solidarity and shared their salaries to help those who were released. Beautiful!
This video is so moving – I just cried re-watching it, when they heard that their 40% pay cut was being removed, thanks to generous GLO supporters.
So this is just sharing some good news. We hear so much bad news, and all the more we need to celebrate the victories, and tell the success stories!
Do pray for Celestin with his huge responsibilities, and for KCC to continue to generate loads of money to plough back into local projects to help the last, the lost and the least in beautiful but broken Burundi.