Eat, Act, Pray - September
...A life expectancy of just 57, the 5th highest maternal mortality rate in the world and a hunger situation that is ‘extremely alarming’ (UNICEF) are just some of the challenges that a regular Burundian is forced to navigate. Oh, and a changing climate which, for an agricultural nation, is already spelling catastrophe.
But against this backdrop there is some sunshine - we promise. Sunflower shaped sunshine…
‘I’m able to invest because of the sunflowers. I’ve bought hens - they’ve even had chicks, which I managed to sell - and I hope to buy a pig or a goat if the money keeps growing.’
That’s the business acumen of 17 year old Joseline by the way, and it’s all because of an initiative by Warubizi, an organisation supported by Christian Aid.
Warubizi help farmers to grow sunflowers before selling the seeds to be processed and packaged into oil. They are teaching communities in Burundi the whole process - from training farmers to increase their productivity, to the packaging and branding of the product. They teach good agricultural practices too - how to make communities stronger in the face of climate change as well as health and nutrition. They’re supporting 18 cooperatives in this way at the moment and they are smashing it when it comes to transforming the challenges facing communities in Burundi (Warubizi don’t do half measures!).
‘Before learning about the sunflower crop and the benefits of it I was idle in my family - I went to school but dropped out at the end of primary school. Now I wake up every day at 6:30am and go into the fields till 11am. I have a little rest and some lunch, then go back to the fields for a bit before collecting water and firewood for my family and cooking dinner. I run the house!
As for the future - I want the co-op to grow. I want to be a food trader. I want to have enough capital to start my own business, despite not having gone to school.’
Sounds like a girl that's going places ey?
Talk it over:
- Read Genesis 1:27-31 and reflect on what it might mean for those of you sat around the table
- Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world and people like Joseline are made even more vulnerable with a changing climate. The majority of scientists reckon climate change is mainly caused by humans. Discuss what that means for you?
- Mandela famously said that ‘poverty is man-made which means it can be overcome by the actions of human beings.’ What are your thoughts on this considering Joseline’s story and climate change.
This month we’re ‘Speaking Up’!
From 8-16th October people up and down the UK are inviting their MPs to a gathering - a tea party, a nature walk, perhaps even an Eat Act Pray (?) and starting conversations about climate change. If we let the people who represent us in government know this is important to us they’re obliged to make things happen. So use your voice, you never know where it will take you.
While we are hoping these gatherings will be quite chilled, we do have a ‘how-to guide’ for lobbying your MP which you can check out here:
Thank you that you are good; that you made the earth and everything in it and proclaimed it as good too.
Help us to look after what you’ve made, including one another. Would you strengthen communities like Joseline’s and countries like Burundi who face so many challenges, and remind us that we are part of their community too.
Thank you for clever organisations like Warubuzi and bless the work they are doing. Help us to see how we can be a part of this brilliant work, using what we have, where we are.