The first round of elections took place in Burundi this past Monday. There was some violence and a few deaths, but they came and went relatively peacefully. I find it just so completely bizarre that I just wrote that sentence. “Relatively peaceful” in Burundi is now equal to an overnight grenade attack and a handful of deaths. Most experts in and outside of the region are predicting continuing violence and the possibility of war continues to linger… the elections have been deemed a complete and total fraud by both the opposition and the international community, and there doesn’t look like things will be turning around any time soon.
So the political violence continues and the number of Burundian refugees has exceeded 144,000. The death toll from the unrest is over 70, and many businesses are closed and the capital, Bujumbura, continues to be quiet and ghostly during the day, while gunshots and explosions are routinely heard at night.
The unrest has taken a toll on many of LifeNet’s health center partners who have been unable to access necessary medications and supplies. This past month, our LifeNet team in Burundi resumed limited operations in order to connect our partners with the equipment and medicine they need to continue offering health services. This included our family at Shammah Health Center! So far, the team has safely delivered medicine and health supplies to 19 partner health centers. In many instances, LifeNet found empty stockrooms, with our partners having no money or ability to get the essential medicines they need to treat malaria, pneumonia, intestinal infections and so much more.
This is from LifeNet’s Executive Director, Stefanie Weiland:
“The feedback we received from them [our health center partners] has been tremendous and has strengthened our resolve and commitment to do everything we can during this time of insecurity.
One Senior Pastor from the Kigozi Mission who oversees Rutare Clinic responded saying, “A true friend is manifested in hard times. You are different than the others. We have a big challenge getting medication to our patients, especially since the government has halted funding, but this rescue comes at the right time as we were experiencing a real lack of medicines here. Thank you so much LifeNet for the medicine you brought and for allowing us to pay in instalments. We will pay it back ahead of schedule so we can purchase even more. We hope you can soon begin the highly needed training for the new personnel as well. On my behalf, I also say thank you for this positive decision you made, because it has motivated the clinics and it will generate much encouragement to the clinics especially in responding to training as they are seeing the benefit of partnering with LN. May God bless you as you continue to have more discoveries and revelation from our Almighty on what can be done to affirm good relationships and sustainability of our clinics.”
LN continues to discern safe ways to support our franchise network and continue empowering and equipping health centers in Burundi. We eagerly await improvements to security in order to resume regular training and full operations with our partner health centers around the country.”
I’m really proud of the LifeNet team in Burundi as they worked so hard to deliver medicines and fill empty stock rooms so our health centers throughout the country can continue to care for those who are sick. Nadine and I think about our friends and family working in Gitega with Youth for Christ, and we are comforted by the fact that they have support from an organization like LifeNet.
If you’d like to support LifeNet financially as we continue to do critical work in Burundi, you can click the appropriate links below:
For Canadian Supporters, click HERE
For American Supporters, click HERE
Thank you so much for reading and please share with your friends and family!
We’ll be back soon with a more personal update, thank you so much for praying for Nadine and I here in Uganda, and for continuing to keep Burundi close to your hearts during this crucial time.
Lots of love,