Monday, July 14, 2008

New place, same hardship

Sunday we ventured to visit our Batwa friends again.  They have moved, just a few days ago, to the next pot of land the government has designated for them.  This is not a gift, it is temporal.
For a month they have been clearing a land and preparing to build new shelters.  They finally made the move. The land is dry.  They are far from water, far from the elementary school and far from the road to work.  It is quite a miserable situation.
We traveled there with Liberate and Sibitwa.  You might recall that Liberate is a minister in the government and Sibitwa is the oldest (therefore the most respected) Twa in Burundi.  Both are members of our committee for the community development project.  They barely made their way up the hillside before they got the news...  The Batwa have already been told to move again.  They just are moving in, still building some places to sleep.  Yet they have already been told to dismantle their structure and move over the hill, to the backside where others won't be able to see them.  There is another poor piece of land for them to clear... and no promise of any longevity.  The Batwa have no recourse.  They lament.  But when we all arrive, they move from the deep sighs of hardship and break into the dance of hospitality.  Even amid their pain, they stop to welcome us, to clap, sing, and dance.  
Here our friend, Terry, gets close with one of the youngest Twa friends.  The mamas seem so tickled by his interest and tenderness.  After feeling so much disregard and disrespect by their government and countrymen - this simple kindness must feel revolutionary.  Someone came to visit us, to see us... and he sat with us and laughed with our children and connected with us as people, as friends.  Sometimes the very simple things restore dignity.

Pray for our Batwa friends as they remain in a very hard place.  Pray that soon there will be land, longevity, home.  We are working with the committee, with local leadership....  but we will need God's presence with us to see a better future come to these friends.

1 comment:

Rusty said...

I will be in Kenya in two weeks. Traveling with Edward to the Rift Valley and to Pokot. We miss you guys in Az, but glad you are in Africa. Give Terry a hug for me