The Beginning of a Blog – and the End of War in Burundi
The fighting is over here in Burundi. 15 years of ethnic and civil strife appear to be receding into the background – most of us hope so, anyway… I have lived here for nearly 11 of those years, traveling regionally while working in the NGO, donor, applied research and private sectors, primarily as a consultant for a variety on national and international organizations but also as a participant observer of events and people. My blog will draw upon these experiences, as well as upon work and observations in Africa and the Middle East over the last 30-plus years.
I am eclectic – and my interests are broad, ranging from ancient history through agricultural development and natural resource management and including cuisine and food and many other topics that will come up in my blog.
Today’s topic –I meet SAR Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg – during a UNICEF goodwill visit to Burundi
As a sign of peace returning to the country, the Duchess has just finished a 3-day visit to Burundi in her capacity as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.
So what ‘good’ are goodwill ambassadors? First-hand observation over the past several days suggests that above all, her presence has sent an important message to folks – that security has indeed returned to Burundi. And then, helping to build links with the outside; important because this country has been so isolated during the last years of fighting and insecurity.
Burundian traditional drummers during a cocktail to honor the duchess:
So who are the next to arrive in country as part of the drive for peace? The Brazilian football (soccer) team! In July! They will be working with several youth groups – training – and also a demonstration match with the national football team. I am organizing a training session for the youth team in Kajaga village, which is next door – the village is ecstatic at the prospect of the Brazilian football players actually coming to work with kids in a village that was for many years targeted as a ‘rebel stronghold’ – here are some of the homes in Kajaga village: