Burundi, Africa. It’s a tiny country (about the size of Maryland) with almost twice as many people. If you Google “top poorest countries in the world,” Burundi is listed as second. The people of Burundi have struggled for decades, not only to survive poverty and disease, but also to overcome the pain and destruction of genocide, civil war, and tyranny. Most, if not all, of the people have experienced multiple, severe traumatic events. Despite the hardships, people persevere, and continue to “do life.” That says a lot about resilience, faith, and hope.
Most Americans have never heard of Burundi, probably because it has gotten very little media coverage. This is in stark contrast to it’s neighbor to the north, Rwanda, even though the people of Burundi have suffered similar plights. This disparity translates to a lot less funding for healing, peace initiatives, education, and basic needs.
Through a series of divinely coordinated events, several of us therapists from PCPC have had the privilege to travel to Burundi, at the invitation of the leader of a Burundi foundation called Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS.org). We work together to provide resources and training in trauma treatment to counselors and lay leaders in their communities. We do this through a Delaware-based non-profit organization called Development & Research Innovations (DRI, DRIdelaware.org).
I have been continually amazed as I get to know Burundians. I have experienced great faith, clear hope, incredible forgiveness, wonderful senses of humor, talent, wisdom, and charity in them. I have learned a lot about faith, priorities, time, and fun. I hope and pray that the cycles of violence can be broken and lasting safety can permeate their country.
For more information, go to DRIdelaware.org, THARS.org, Partnership for Trauma Healing in Africa Facebook page, or talk to me.