In early February I traveled to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In my previous journal, I recounted the trip into Fizi, DR Congo. Now I will share about my time in Burundi. I was there to learn more about the STEP: Children of Peace Africa projects and lead a conflict transformation training for Burundian peace activists.
The Monday after I returned from Fizi I traveled to a village called Gishubi in the center of Burundi. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. I traveled with Ildephonse (the manager of STEP Children of Peace, Burundi); we journeyed over mountainous roads with breathtakingly beautiful views. After another long trip we reached the village, which is also an internal displacement camp.
Ildephonse has identified young leaders who are working to help children, the elderly and other vulnerable members of the community. Again, through your support, the villagers are transforming an old building into a school. This project is supporting over two hundred children.
After the trip to this village, we led a two-day Conflict Transformation Training in Bujumbura. It was an intensive program where the main training language was French. Ildephonse speaks French and English fluently, so he was the main interpreter. It was wonderful to work and co-facilitate this training with him. After the workshop there was a plea to expand the training with a bigger group. The participants shared that there is so much conflict in this area that we should implement a 10 day “Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers” (TCTT) in Goma, DR Congo when travel becomes possible again. Ildephonse, Sango (who works with STEP Children of Peace in DR Congo) and I hope to co-facilitate this training and include participants from Rwanda, Burundi, and the DR Congo. We will follow up with the participants with mentorship programs and by opening ‘peace centers’ in the DR Congo schools. This is our dream. Please pray for us as we seek to raise resources for this great initiative.
Thank you so much for your support.
Lance and Christina Muteyo