This update is from Kalengule Kaoma, one of GCI’s mission directors in Africa. It reports on the aftermath of the flooding in Burundi, which was addressed in an earlier post here in GCI Weekly Update.
Many people in Bujumbura, capital city of Burundi, vividly remember the February 2014 floods that affected the city. Victims, especially, carry memories that will be part of their history. To check on how GCI Burundi members were coping with the aftermath of the flood, Kimani Ndungu, East Africa Area Pastor and I arrived in Bujumbura on a hot and humid morning in April.
Our host, Pastor Eugene Sibomana, met us at the airport and drove us to a hotel near his house. Before receiving an update on the status of the members, we got in a taxi and went to the hospital where the youngest Sibomana girl was receiving treatment for diarrhea. We prayed for both mother and child. The child was discharged from the hospital a few days later.
Over 60 GCI families were affected by the flooding. Pastor Sibomana told of how he woke up in the night and found that one wall of his bedroom had fallen. When he got off the bed, he stepped into floodwater. His home was extensively damaged.
“When we see clouds forming in the sky, we get out of our houses. We are afraid that strong winds will come again and blow off our roof,” said a woman who attends GCI. Although no life was lost among GCI members, many people suffered losses. Houses fell, clothes and beddings were swept away. Kitchen utensils floated away with swift-flowing floodwater. Children lost their books and school supplies.
Despite physical losses, our members are well. Our GCI home office sent $15,000 from the GCI Disaster Relief Fund, which Kimani and I took to Burundi. With these funds, we assisted over 200 people representing 60 families. Each family received 15 tin sheets for house roofing and 10 kilograms each of rice and beans. Students received notebooks and pens. Pastor Eugene Sibomana extended appreciation for the generosity of the GCI congregations and members in the U.S. who donated to the Disaster Relief Fund—they truly made a difference in the lives of those who were affected by the floods.