Hey everybody, get ready for a long one!
What an amazing month it has been!
Our dear friends came all the way over to Burundi to visit us, see the country, and put their skills to work. We worked hard, explored the country, and spent quality time together. This friendship means the world to us and it was a blessing for us and for the country of Burundi to have them here.
Melissa & I spent a huge chunk of time working in the clinic to prepare it for the inspection. We went through many boxes of donations, sorted through supplies, cleaned the clinic from top to bottom with the help of some lovely Burundian ladies, ordered local medical supplies, purchased baskets to organize supplies and other necessary items in the market (office supplies were purchased in the office supplies/lingerie stand in the market…), set up the furniture that Josh & I had ordered, etc.
We looked in every pharmacy in Gitega and many pharmacies in Bujumbura before we found a few tiny bottles of hand sanitizer…hmmm something we will definitely need brought over on a container. Hygiene is definitely an issue in this country! Melissa & I had to face off with many large and terrifying spiders that scurried out from behind boxes, from inside of boxes, and lingered in dark corners. There was plenty of shrieking on our parts…I mean these were some massive spiders…and we asked several of the Burundian men to kill them for us, as we watched them kill them with their bare hands. Wow…so brave! Good times!
Meanwhile, while we braved the spiders, the guys were building benches for the patient waiting area. They were off doing manly things with tools, and we ended up with some amazing benches for our patients. Such a blessing! We were all working so hard and found out the day before the scheduled inspection that the inspection would be delayed another week.
We were bothered, but the next day were reminded that God has a plan…we were not nearly ready. The furniture that we ordered that was soposed to be done, would take many more days to be ready and many other things needed more time. All the furniture was completed the evening before the inspection! We were also discouraged that because the inspection was delayed, Josh would be away on the Tour du Burundi and not be present for the inspection.
However, the bike team was delayed one day due to the bikes not arriving at the airport and so the day they would be stopping in Gitega was the day of the inspection. The inspector was also several hours late due to his wife having a baby that day, and because of all of this, Josh was able to be present for the inspection, which was a huge relief for me.
The inspection went wonderfully. The doctor was impressed. God is good. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing friends, Melissa & Dean Edwards. Thank you.
Many of the BYFC staff came down from Bujumbura and toured the clinic and were blown away with the transformation. You can actually picture a functional clinic with patients in it! It was a treat to be able to see the Burundian staff’s faces as they walked through each room. God is good.
While the men had their tools, they built us a compost! So much waste here is made up of compostable things and it is always just tossed and burned. We can use the compost soil for our community garden we want to plant. If the composting goes well, we would like to build one for each of the homes here. The guys also started the frame for a chicken coop, which Josh and I would like to have to produce eggs here! We’ll let you know how that goes!
The guys definitely had their struggles with building. They couldn’t build at Homes of Hope because we do not have power here. So they tried building at our friends’ house who lives in town. They built there for about half a day and then blew the power converter. The power tools were just too much for the ol’ electrical system here. So they hauled all the wood and everything over to GIA to use the generator there, which they could only use after school was finished at 4PM. That seemed work! Josh says “Even power tools work a little bit slower here in Burundi!”
Everything is an adventure here!
Melissa & I hoed the land! We prepared a plot next to our house to plant a garden! It was a couple days of work. With the help of our friends, we cleared out all the grass and rocks and now we just need to do a few more things to get it ready to plant. Melissa & I planted some herbs and the flowers that Josh bought me for my birthday! Turns out that dry season has come upon us and keeping them alive is a lot harder that I thought…we’ll see how they all turn out! Hopefully Josh’s birthday presents don’t die on me!
As health consultants, Josh & I did a health inspection of GIA last month and out of that inspection, arranged a health day at the school. We had a staff educational meeting, a meeting with the cleaning staff & kitchen staff, and a big assembly with all the students. It went really well and we are continuing to work on improving the health of the school and providing continual health education. Melissa, Josh, and I did some follow-up health & hygiene teaching at GIA. We went into small groups and separated the boys and the girls. Melissa & I had an amazing time teaching the girls and bonding with them. We have been basing our health curriculum on 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I’m excited to do some more health teaching with them! We had the kids do some homework for us…they all wrote down their health goals for this next year! I think we are on the right track to helping these kids lead healthier lives. Even the most basic of things was new learning for them.
While the guys were biking around the country, Melissa & I taught the little kiddies at Future Hope School about basic hygiene & hand washing! Melissa brought glow germs and the kids loved it! We taught 13 classes and all of the teachers were present and learning as well! I feel as though we planted seeds of health knowledge into those growing little minds!
Melissa & I also had the honor & privilege of helping to hand out Operation Christmas Child boxes to kids in Gitega! It was such a special time and a dream come true for both of us to participate in this. We both grew up shopping with our moms to fill these boxes every Christmas! Seeing the faces of the kids light up as they were given their boxes and as they opened them, was…beautiful!
I had an amazing birthday! My first birthday in Africa! I woke up to a beautiful breakfast made by Melissa & Dean! We all sat on the front porch together and opened lovely gifts and cards! Our families sent us treats, which were super special and meant so much to us! Josh bought me a bunch of tropical plants to plant around the house! Two chickens sacrificed themselves for my birthday. It was definitely an experience and I appreciate that they gave up their lives for me! I made my famous BBQ sauce and we enjoyed BBQ chicken among many other yummy things! All of my friends came over and communally cooked! Melissa & Callum baked cookies and made me a birthday cake topped with the beautiful candles my mom & dad sent! My friends blessed me with gifts and cards and quality time. The best gift of all was a surprise that Josh arranged, when I went out onto the front porch in the dark and they turned on the lights and all the the orphans, the house mamas, the staff, and my friends were out on the porch singing me ‘happy birthday!’ All the kids started walking up to me and giving me cards that they made me & hugs. It was truly beautiful and I will never forget it! Man I love my husband!
Melissa & I went through high school together, nursing school together, were in each others weddings, have travelled together, and now have worked together in providing health education to Burundians and worked together to set up a clinic in the middle of Africa…pretty special stuff!
Melissa, Dean, Josh & I explored the country together and saw many amazing and beautiful things! We hope you enjoy some of the photos we took this month!
Bless you All!