After a week in Rwanda, we are in Burundi. With the FXB employees, we’re visiting families who are in extreme precariousness at the very beginning of the FXB project, named Buterere IV, which started only a month ago, in the spring of 2017. The people enrolled in this project FXBVillage live in conditions well below the poverty line of the Burundian population.
Even though the welcome is very warm, we feel a barrier between us that we did not know in Rwanda because the Rwandan beneficiaries were already at the end of the 2nd year of the FXB project and had already experienced a huge change in their lives. This barrier, which is called trust, prevents them from fully believing in their future. A relationship of trust takes months to build. Certainly, they are pleased to have been selected in the FXB program. Nevertheless, their vision of the future remains imprecise for the moment. Each of the 100 families received nutritional support with one month of flour, beans, oil, as well as a jerrycan and a basin at their 1st meeting. When we went to visit these families, we found that most of them only used the nutrition kit they had received a few days before, but they did not try to complete it in order to have enough food for one month until the next nutritional support. Some even eat three times a day whereas previously they only ate once a day or sometimes went to bed with hungry bellies. We can imagine then they suffered from starvation and this experience prevents them from projecting themselves. As the region is in a period of drought, it is very difficult for them to find work, gain money or cultivate gardens. Moreover, the beneficiaries have not yet been sensitized to the importance of hygiene, which implies that in almost all the houses, we were confronted with the disease.
We were very touched by the family of Janvier who is widowed with 6 dependent children. In 2011, his wife died in childbirth, giving birth to twins. They were placed in an orphanage until the age of three, when their father came to get them back. In the past, this man has experienced some alcohol-related problems, so he was unfortunately forced to sell a plot of land he owned. Then the family lived in a house built on the parcel of the eldest son. When the latter got married, he was obliged to kick out his father and his siblings to start his own family.
We met them in a small house of one room of 4m2, loaned by the neighborhood. His daughter who was present told us about their story with eyes filled with tears. Two of his children sleep with him while the other four sleep with his sister-in-law. Meals are taken together in this little house. This family tries to survive with a source of farming income, which allows Janvier to pay the children’s school fees. By asking what the man’s vision is with his enrollment in the FXB community project, he replies that he would like to get his own home for his children.
As part of this integrated Community Development Program FXBVillage in Buturere IV, it is expected that the 100 participating families will be helped to develop their own income generating activities (IGAs) within a few months. Over the next 3 years, they will become progressively financially independent and thus be able to meet their daily needs. At the end of the program, they should be able to provide their children with what is needed in nutrition, education, health and decent housing.