I’ve spent the last half-hour trying not to cry…
…I’m in a meeting with folks I journeyed with for twenty years, who are sharing reminiscences of (mostly) highs and (some) lows that we experienced together. And currently they’re battling through some really tough times.
My two biggest prayers for Burundi this year – once the pandemic struck – was that Burundi would be spared the worst of covid, and that the elections would go peacefully. For your encouragement, those prayers have both been massively answered. It genuinely seems like covid is not having an impact here – a few have got it, and all bar one have recovered, officially. Praise God! Truly, I’m so grateful to God and the many who prayed for both those things (and we had a definite and beautiful role to play in the peaceful elections).
But as with so much of the developing world, the economic impact has done far more damage than the disease itself.
Celestin and I shared an office for 5 years at our income-generating King’s Conference Centre (www.kccburundi.org). He quietly asks me for a chat and says he’s speaking on behalf of the staff, several of whom I observed on arrival were noticeably thinner. Due to covid and loss of business, either some workers had to be let go, or everyone would have to take a salary reduction. They decided to stick together, but everyone has had a 40% cut. Imagine your salary was $100/month, and now it’s $60… and food prices have gone up! “Simon, it’s desperate. We can’t afford the bus so are walking each day in the sun all the way, some of us from Buterere or Kinama and back (upwards of 20km).”
It turns out one of the ladies on the team was pregnant, and she miscarried a few days ago as she struggled to walk to work.
Burundians have suffered so much. So many are beautifully stoic, resilient, and full of faith. They will overcome these difficult days, because they always do. They have so much to teach us in the fracturing West, where increasing prosperity and entitlement have not fostered resilience, rather polarisation and victimhood.
Are you feeling resilient?
How will we in the West get through these difficult days?
One answer to that question came from Leocadie last night as we chatted. She said:
“It’s only by grace. We survive each day by grace. Every month, every day, it’s just God’s grace…”
God grant you all such deep and real grace through these challenging times!
Simon Guillebaud in Burundi
PS If you wanted to help the 30 staff recoup those losses (no pressure at all), you could donate here:
Please let us know that this is ‘For KCC Staff’ in the message section of the donation form. In the happy event that we meet our goal to help the 30 staff, any additional donations will be put to equally invaluable use, where most needed.