Sun 31 Jan 2010
So as I trudge back and forth through the snow, it’s easy to feel a long way from the summery paradise of East Africa. But it hasn’t escaped my mind, by any means. I’m developing plans to return this summer to Burundi to continue to help out as I can with HROC projects and observe the elections.
And of course, much has been going on in Burundi without me, including the beginning of registering of people for the elections, and the recent arrest of 13 members who were alleged to be plotting a coup against the current government.
On the brighter side, Alex has been doing great work with the Friends Women’s Association, and keeps a great blog about her work and life in Burundi. And a few weeks ago I heard news that one of the grants I helped write for our work in North Kivu was funded, which will provide support to survivors of rape in the internally displaced persons camps in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite occasional mentions of the problem in the western press, I was amazed to find when I visted last year how little support is offered to these women, as well as the steep challenges of stigmatization they face in their communities. Hopefully this program can start to create a space for healing and building community with them.
So though I have been short of time for posting, I hope to keep writing as the summer approaches. In the meantime, I will be speaking at the Human Development Conference at the University of Notre Dame on February 26, including some reflections on my work in Burundi.