As I sit at my work desk, wondering what to put in my very first entry, it just dawned on me that perhaps, simply stating what is on one’s mind might just be the way to go.
It is a particularly hot Friday afternoon out here in Bujumbura and I am now in my 4th week with HROC-BURUNDI. Sometimes, I still cannot quite believe I am now part of it.
HROC, which stands for Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities, is a small local grassroot organisation, which focuses on bringing all of Burundi’s ethnic groups together, for a collective group recovery and healing process. During the war and in its wake, countless lives and families were shattered. HROC operates on the principle that efforts to heal and rebuild the country, must happen at both the individual and community level. On that basis, it scope of work covers issues such as trauma recovery, displacement, reintegration, and poverty.
As a human and fellow Burundian, I am most in awe its work. As a result of its efforts, many have been able to have a new start in life in spite of the heavy burden of their past. Many have also found ways of getting to a stage where, they can see a light at the end of the tunnel, even with all the trauma and pain they have suffered.
I feel that HROC does far more than touch the lives of so many. It also helps rebuild a whole country’s faith in its own society and people, which had been left broken by ethnic divides and the aftermath of atrocities. Though having not lived in the country for over a decade, I remain a part of this society and I too, having witnessed the positive impacts that HROC has had, feel much closer to my countrymen no matter how far removed my circumstances maybe from theirs.
Thus far, I have participated in activities in the regions of Burterere, Rukaramu, Maramvya and Cibitoke . I took part in the bio-sand water filter project, where participants were asked to elaborate on challenges and problems they encountered, with the construction, use, maintenance and selling of the filters. In addition to this, I interviewed service users who had attended healing workshops, to later assess how and if, the latter helped them in anyway deal with the trauma they have suffered. I have felt truly moved by the evident strength and joie de vivre of the people I have come across.
I thus simply cannot wait to get more involved in the various HROC projects, learning and contributing to its marvellous work.
Have a fun filled weekend!
Amahoro (peace in Kirundi)