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.