Friday, October 15, 2010
Dan Dodrill interviews Freddy Tuyizere, National Director for YFC Burundi, about the proposed secondary school at Gitega, Burundi. Interviews was taken at the new school site on land owned by YFC.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We arrived in Kigali, Rwanda to meet with the leadership of Rwanda Youth For Christ about the master plan for Kigali Christian School. The school started at the end of 2005 after the construction of the first two school buildings by Builders Without Borders. Builders Without Borders was formed with the specific purpose of partnering with Christian ministries already established and functioning in the developing world. As with most partnerships, communication is essential to proper planning. Builders Without Borders believes that both organizations become more effective as a result of the give-and-take of the planning and construction process. No one knows the situation of a project better than the ministry already functioning in the country. Their knowledge helps Builders Without Borders to construct buildings that meet actual needs, not just what outsiders think is needed. Likewise, the ministry can gain from the insights of experienced builders. A true partnership means that each ministry’s leadership can ask tough questions of each other, resulting in a stronger project (“iron sharpens iron”).
We (Dan Dodrill, David Dodrill and Kevin Mirner) met over the course of two days to discuss needs of Kigali Christian School, a ministry of Youth For Christ Rwanda with 650 students. Discussions centered on facilities that are needed to retain students as they enter secondary school (7-12th grade). Questions centered on the need for: residence dorms, a science lab, a larger computer lab, classroom needs, retaining walls, and a site survey that includes all current buildings.
Friday, October 1, 2010
On Friday and Saturday, we traveled to Gitega to inspect the site of the secondary school to administered by Youth For Christ. Gitega, the orginal capital of Burundi before the Belgian colonial era, is a regional center and lies about two hours east of Bujubura, the current capital. Youth For Christ currently operates an orphanage and elementary school just outside the city.
Over the last several decades, Burundi has suffered from similar internal unrest and genocide as Rwanda. However, while Rwanda has received international attention because of the genocide, Burundi has just recently emerged from a lengthy civil war and remains unnoticed by the world press. As the second poorest nation in the world, the nation has a long list of basic needs. In order to face these challenges, the church needs to have a plan for developing a new generation of leaders who are commited to Jesus Christ and possess the skills to help their people. The leadership of Youth For Christ plans to raise up that generation of leaders through their orphanage, outreach programs, vocational training and Christian schools. The secondary school project in Gitega is an integral part of that plan and Builders Without Borders is proposing to organize the construction of the buildings for it.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Despite having to reroute our flights through London and Nairobi instead of Brussels, we (Dan Dodrill, David Dodrill and Kevin Mirner) arrived in Bujumbura, Burundi at 1:30 am. I (David) had been in route for 33 hours at that point. We were picked up by Freddy Tuyizere, National Director for Youth For Christ Burundi(YFC) and taken to our hotel to try and unwind from the travel and the caffeine we drank along the way. After a few hours sleep, Dan presented a Powerpoint presentation to a select group of YFC leaders of the proposed secondary school to be built in Gitega, a regional city of several hundred thousand people about two hours drive from Bujumbura. We came on this trip in order to fine-tune the school site plan and discuss the project with government officials who will ultimately need to give approval.
The vision of the YFC leaders is to develop a secondary school that will equip young people in Burundi to become the next generation of leaders for their country. While academics will be a chief focus, the school will teach from a Christian worldview and will nurture Christian character formation. When finished, the school will have residential dormatories and teach 400+ students.
Tonight Freddy brought in a special troop of Burundian drummers to perform for us and a large group of YFC leaders from Rwanda who are here for a training conference. If my internet connection is fast enough, I will try to upload some photos from the drummers. While there are several drum troops who perform similar demonstrations, this particular group was formed by Burundi Youth For Christ. These groups dance and perform for dignitaries and visiting heads-of-state. If you ever get a chance to see them do their stuff, don’t miss it. I am sure that they will share their talents with the work teams that will be coming from the US to work on the school.
Tomorrow we will travel with Freddy to Gitega to talk with more government officials about the details of the project and get further input from YFC leaders. In Gitega, YFC continues to operate an orphanage and elementary school for children who lost their families during the long civil war that ended just recently. These projects are funded by individuals, most of who live in the developed world, who believe that they can make a difference in the lives of these young people.