Special encounters

December 5th, Mutambu, Burundi

When we talk to people in the Netherlands we often hear about the cold and rainy weather, because Dutch people love to talk about the weather. We on the other hand are still in a warm and rainy Burundi. In Burundi they don’t have 4 seasons, but they are only familiar with rainy and dry season. For us this is still sometimes a bit weird, because we lose sense of the months. However, our calendar tells us it’s already December. This means that in 2 weeks we will be going to the Netherlands to see everybody and celebrate Christmas. Hopefully we survive the cold. Nevertheless, we are really looking forward to seeing everybody and Jochem is really excited about eating his favorite snack again, the kroket.

Preparing the land

During the first week of November, we went to an introduction of Farming God’s Way. When we did our training in the US Jochem already learned about this and has got some experience. We went together with our Burundian boss and 2 of our colleagues. After the introduction our boss was convinced, and we started using this method right away. A new colleague was hired at Migoti for the agricultural section. The funny part was that this was Zebron, the Agronomist Jochem already worked with within Yada to build the leveled garden. So, they clicked right away! Together they worked hard the past month to implement the ‘Mpfumbuza’ on the coffee farm. This is a piece of land planted according to the principles of Farming God’s way. The planted amaranth, onion and maize. Apart from that lemon grass has been planted in between the rows on the steep hill against erosion. Hopefully this also results in more oil.

A few weeks ago, we also distributed small coffee trees to the farmers. There were 17.000 seedlings. Migoti grew them to give to new and old farmers who were interested. Of course, this was done officially with some speeches from the local leaders and Pontien. The desire is that the coffee farmers can produce more, which will result in more income.

Last week we visit Ikirezi in Rwanda, a different essential oil company. Even though it was a lot of driving, it was really helpful to see how a different company is functioning. Also, we went to a fish farm, because Pontien wants to start producing fish at Migoti. It was very good and interesting to see what this looks like. The travel was intense, but it was good to be together with our Burundian boss and a colleague in the car. This resulted in having a lot of time for different conversations. We talked about the development of Africa, the difference between The Netherlands and Burundi, questions about how we view God, why we left our comfortable life in Holland to help voluntarily and their view on white people in Burundi. It was really special to share our hearts in these conversations.

With the boat to the fish cages

Essential oil distiller

Tour on the essential oil farm

Unfortunately living in Burundi is still not always easy and we keep having challenges. We have both been sick (food poisoning) and our car needs to be repaired every month. Our mechanic said: “in Europe there is little work because the roads are good. Here the roads are bad which results in a lot of work for me.” That’s another way of looking at it. A lot of things we take for granted in the Netherlands are not a given in Burundi

We are really happy with the support we are getting from family, friends and from Shelter, our lovely home church. Last month we had a zoom call with other church members who are serving in different roles all around the world. It is very special to support each other and share our experiences.

 

Last weekend we visited some Burundian friends from a poorer neighborhood. They invited us to share some local food they had prepared, and they even gave us a present. At the end of the lunch, they told us that they were so happy we visited, because white people do not often do this. We sometimes struggle with sharing about God’s love because of our limited Kirundi, but this is an example of how often our attitude and the way we treat others is a witness on its own.

 

Making Ugali (cassave bread)

We need your prayer to make God’s glory known through the work we are doing. Do you want to pray for the following points?

Prayer points

  • For further development at Migoti and the oppertunity for us to be a blessing to the local staff and the farmers.
  • A blessing over the coffee roaster and the essential oil production.
  • That we live through Gods power and listen to his voice during the relations that we have and the work we are doing.
  • A Blessing for Burundi, the people and the goverment. 
  • For the staff to be able to learn english quickly. 
  • For opportunities to share the gospel with people around us.
  • A blessing over the land we are cultivating.

Thanking points

  • For building and maintaining relationships.
  • For the progress we have in our Kirundi learning
  • For the personal development that we went through the past year. 
  • For a place that feels like 'home' in Burundi.
  • For everybodies financial and emotional support.
  • For our health.
  • For a safe and interesting journey to Rwanda.

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