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June 10, 2008

Third Mission to Burundi – 2008


For the 3rd consecutive year, I went to Burundi, Africa where children and partners were awaiting. This third mission was once again a total success. More than 720 children will go to school with all the necessary supplies (uniform and school material). To faces on pictures are now names and stories. I am beginning to know more and more children on an individual basis. This year, very emotional speeches were given by the kids themselves. A young orphan girl said "you are like the parents we no longer have because you care about our education". Another high school boy wanted all you e.mail addresses to thank you himself for your kindness and a third asked God to bless you all. Also, as a token of appreciation, a school created for the occasion of our visit, songs and dances. They wanted to thank the donators that live so far but yet care about their future.

Thanks to the eyeglass shop, LA VUE, LA VIE in Fontainebleau, we received a numerous amount of glasses. In Burundi, we have established contact with an ophtalmologist/optician who will provide needy children with adapted glasses following an eye exam. All this, for a sum of 3,000 Burundi Francs (a little less than $3,00). Two mother and a young boy have already benefited from this new service. Glasses which will not benefit children of our project, will serve children from another organization called SOS Children in Burundi. This additional help is really appreciated and necessary. It will be part of the project from now on as we have seen children leave school due to vision problems.

In Ruvumu, south of the country, Dieudonné, Jeff and I have received a notable welcome . On each side of the road, a kilometre prior to entering the village, banana branches were planted. This ritual is usually done during a presidential visit. The door frame of the Principal's office was decorated with flowers. A bouquet of fresh eucalyptus and wild flowers was sitting on a hand made desk and this was repeated for every classroom of the school. The younsters had prepared for months, songs and dances in anticipation of our visit. Following this tour and entertainment, we were given a delicious and traditional meal. I often think of this warm visit.

Can you believe?.... I met a Quebecer in Bujujumbura. I invited Mélanie Trudel from Ste-Thérèse to 2 distributions (Mubone et Kamenge). Because we pass the dump site where people, mainly children look for food, we stopped and distributed bread. According to Melanie, these distributions are events she is not likely to forget.

On all the sites, the children were happy to see us again. They know us now. It is always heart braking to leave them.