With ups and downs

October 20th, Kiriri, Burundi

The lasts year has been an year with ups and downs. As many of you know, it was and is a challenge to settle and work in Africa. Many things are different from what we are used to and often you feel as if you are operating outside of your comfort zone.

Driving up and down the mountain

While I (Laura) am writing this blog, I am waiting for Jochem to find a motor together with a Burundian colleague. We are in the middle of a rain storm, so therefore it is not the usual 10 minutes but one hour of waiting. This sounds pretty long, but waiting in Burundi is normal and part of living here. We as Western people often get uncomfortable with waiting, but for Burundians it is normal. At this moment two of my Burundian colleagues are sitting at the table with me just starring into nature. Just thinking, or maybe not thinking at all. One of the many lessons we learned (and are still learning) this last year is to just sometimes be. We often think we must do something, but according to who do we need to do all this? Would it not be okay for us to just be sometimes without having to do and accomplish many things?

Even though there were many times this last year where we looked at each other and asked: shall we just stop and go back?, we also look back with a huge amount of gratitude. We learned so much from the work that we do and the great relationships that we built. We realize that this would not have been possible without the support from all of you. We would like to share our point of gratitude of this last year with you:

  • We are grateful for all the relationships we have built in Burundi and Zambia. According to Western standards it sometimes feels as if we are not accomplishing much, but in a culture that is all about relationships, we can look back at a successful year. We are grateful to have good relationships with our Burundian colleagues, Jochem with his soccer team, our friends from Turkey/India living here and all our other friendships within the expat community.
  • We are also grateful for everything we learned on a personal level: to let go and relax, to know God in a different way, to accept that sometimes everything goes different than planned, to live more in the day, to be thankful for small steps and so much more. We realize we can still learn a lot, but are happy to see the change in our lives.
  • We are thankful to have a place that we can call home in Burudni. We enjoy being home and coming home.


Making Ugali (local bread) 

Jochem and his soccer buddies

Bird watching in Rwanda

  • We are thankful that we are financially and emotionally supported by so many people and don’t take for granted how many people invest in us.
  • We are grateful for the beautiful things we have seen in (East) Africa. This continent is so beautiful! Maybe one day we will start a travel agency 😉
  • We are grateful for what we have learned so far in Kirundi. We are not yet fluent, but we can make ourselves known in a totally different language. And we love the responds of the Burundians (sometimes there are about 20 people gathering around you to listen to the white man speak Kirundi).
  • We are thankful for our health. Besides having had food poisoning and sometimes being more tired, we never had to go to a hospital.
  • We are thankful for the great visit from Ronald and Annemarie and for discovering Rwanda with them.
  • Het eindelijk ontvangen van een 2 jaren visum.

A short update on how the lasts weeks have been:

It still remains a challenge for us to see how we can be as productive as possible in a country where things are moving slowly. Luckily, there is openness with our leaders and we were able to discuss our difficulties with them. Every week we take a small step forward with setting up the essential oil business. We also did our first batch of eucalyptus this week. The manager is an amazing learner and takes responsibility for the work that we give him. This is extremely motivating for us to see.

We also started English lessons with 5 of our colleagues. 2-3 times a week we learn them English with the method we used to learn Kirundi, the GPA approach. This is very different from their normal learning styles, but we receive positive feedback. It is a great way to strengthen our relationships with them. This week we also cooked and shared a meal with all of them after the lesson.

The coffee roaster was supposed to come this week, but unfortunately we are still waiting for it to arrive. We hope it will come soon so we can also start selling the coffee in Bujumbura.

The first batch of Eucalyptus oil

Teaching english

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.

Thanking points

  • For re-integrating in Burundi and for all the relationships we have and are building
  • 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 the visit of Ronald and Annemarie.
  • For finally receiving our 2 year visa.

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