Village Gates: Post-War Symbols of Safety

It has now been over one year with no fighting or rebel attacks in the village.  During the war years, when women and children fled the village during an attack, while menfolk remained to protect their property, we oftentimes took those fleeing into our own compound, which was guarded by a ‘hidden’ military position..

Two fleeing mothers and their infants from the village, spending the night in our compound.
Busaga health clinic , in which some inhabitants hid while rebels bombarded the clinic

During this time, in our own compound, livestock (mainly goats c. 150 head, a donkey,etc) were secured in the ‘longhouse‘ which had no openings save one door.  And although the six-sided house had glass windows, there was also an excellent safe room with a door that locked and operated like the kind of door found in some ships.

The longhouse during a storm

Goat longhouse interior - 6 large rooms.

Over several years there were a couple of shots by rebel groups that entered the house, shot through the windows,  but no serious damage.

Living Area in the Compound’s African house.

Dining area.

Now, as we enter more peaceful times, the first thought of many villagers is to protect their homes with high walls and gates – the latter, more often than not, being quite fancy.  They are, perhaps, representations of a hope for safe times but with the knowledge that peace is a very fragile ingredient in Burundi.  Below are pictures of some of these gates.

Mud brick houses in the village – for the poorest, who make the bricks themselves.


Now, however, folks with more money are either building or buying plots and building a house.  But in all cases, a fancy gate and walls are a priority:

New house, surrounded by wall and fancy gate. Owner hopes to rent it.

For security, these people have built the house into a wrap-around wall, and including, of course, a fancy gate.

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Burundi, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika2, Humanitarian Assistance, Livestock, Living here, Longhouse, Military position, War Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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