Burundi Happenings

As we have passed the halfway mark in France, we are excited to think more about about our future in Burundi.  There have been a few exciting things happening there (that make our lives seem more real), and our team is starting to kick into "Burundi prep" mode.  At least, as much as we can with French exams coming up this week!

First of all, Heather mentioned an EMI team in Burundi.  A group of engineers headed to Kibuye for a week in February to assess the current infrastructure and help come up with a plan for what else we need--other buildings, where to put them, running water, electricity, etc.  This was basically an information gathering trip, and more engineers will return in May to finish the comprehensive plan (Jason plans to accompany them).  We are grateful for all the help they are providing.  We don't have much information from their trip yet, but we will post "official" findings as we receive them, hopefully in the next week or two.  Early information seems very positive about a well recently dug on the property as well as the structural stability of existing buildings.
The EMI team of engineers, above

The next big piece of information that we received is that one of our containers has arrived (perhaps you didn't know there was more than one!).  The McCropder team has a personal container, aka The Big Red Box, waiting on a farm outside of Ann Arbor.  It will be shipped to Burundi this summer, hopefully, and spend two months in transit to meet us in Burundi early fall.  But there was also a goodly amount of donated medical equipment and supplies we had, as well as a few personal items we couldn't squeeze into the BRB, so Jason and John trucked it down to Indiana and loaded it onto a different container bound for Hope Africa University.  THAT container arrived at HAU this week.  Apparently the truck that brought it was the oldest truck still in existence.  But whatever works.  The container has had to be unloaded per the customs official, and many crates have been set up outside the student center.  While we are glad the container has arrived safely, there are still several concerns:  safe storage of both medical and personal possessions until we can arrive, and also the question of taxes/customs.  In the past, HAU has enjoyed a tax free status, but customs officials are cracking down and now requesting 30-40% value of the items for tax.  Pray this inspection process goes smoothly and fairly!
medical equipment sitting on the HAU student center porch

Finally, a small piece of information that gets all of us very excited (in a way you might not understand)...Nakumatt is coming to Burundi!  Nakumatt is a large grocery store chain where we all shopped in Nairobi, and they are planning expansion stores into Burundi and South Sudan.  The "expected opening date" is March 2015, which we are not holding our breath for, but knowing that a Nakumatt is on its way, sometime in the not too distant future, is quite elating.  This means a better availability of a variety of food, produce, and WalMart-type goods, and a much easier/smoother shopping process for us all.

Please pray for the following requests as we accelerate towards Burundi:
1.  LOGISTICS!  There is so much to think about now, and timing is becoming crucial.  When to book our flights, which days to arrive (early August), immunizations, and visas are some of the more time sensitive issues.
2.  Language Study.  We are in the process of finding a place and method to study the local language, Kirundi, for three months (Aug-Oct 2013).  We have found some promising possibilities, but nothing is even close to set in stone yet.  
3.  Vehicles.  We know we need at least one or maybe two to start with, and will probably import at least one new vehicle.  Pray this process goes smoothly, efficiently, and the right vehicles are provided at the right cost for our team.


Marina said...

We totally understand your excitement at the "little" things that bring your Burundi experience much closer on the horizon. We are currently planning to be in Burundi for 3 months beginning mid-April. There are so many logistics to deal with just for a short stay. We are excited for you and only wish that we would be there when you all arrive in Burundi! I can just imagine that truck with your container on it, chugging up a hill at 9 miles/hour with a group of bicyclists hanging on to the bumper and even a few guys just standing on the back bumper catching a ride up the hill. We are trying to learn a little Kirundi here in Phoenix before we leave. Surprisingly, there are a lot of Burundian refugees who were placed in Phoenix! We wish you the best as you press on and move forward towards Burundi!!

Joel Green said...

NAKUMATT!!!! We have such pleasant memories of that store in Kigali, Rwanda. Don't know why, but I laughed out loud when I read about it coming to Burundi :) Just another little blessing.

tscarlet said...

How exciting to see all the progress! I love the ancient truck that hauled up the shipping container--that is hilarious! We so enjoyed seeing photos from the engineering scouting trip also. We pray often for all of you, that somehow you will be able to continue to focus in language school when your long-planned-for goal is finally edging into close-range view. I know for myself there are many days when I waste an hour googling all I can find about Burundi instead of just buckling down with a French lesson. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Nakumatt!! I live in the land of SuperWalMart but having been in Kenya for just one month, I totally understand what a Nakumatt in Burundi means.

Sarah Halter said...

Very exciting! And I also totally get how exciting a Nakumatt would be!