Carley and I have been doing a lot of work throughout Burundi, but some of our most prized stories come from Haylee and her work at Homes of Hope Orphanage in Gitega. We had the opportunity to visit her just before Thanksgiving and wanted to share one of her reflections about the kids.
One such story is a two year old girl that Haylee has become very close to. This is an ironic relationship, because the little one has been very afraid of bazungu (white people) until a few weeks ago. Haylee recently had this breakthrough after a consistent week of smiling at the girl and receiving a smile in return, rather than crying or fear. One day, Haylee sat next to her and filled her cheeks with air and let the young one pop the air out, resulting in a loud fart sound. The girl would laugh and fill her own cheeks with air, then motioning for Haylee to pop the air out for her too.
With the confidence of the girl’s laughter, Haylee decided she could pick her up for the first time. Being able to hold the little one was such a breakthrough for so many trust issues that have been part of this child’s life. Being left orphan by both parents and all existing family, it is easy to see all the opportunity for trust in other people to have deteriorated over her short two years of life. Haylee really treasured this moment, kissing the girl on the cheek, telling her she is lovely, and snuggling with her.
This is just one of the breakthrough moments with the children at Homes of Hope. Haylee is doing amazing work with these little ones that have been left completely alone. We are so glad to have her nurturing each of them in a special way, being a part of God’s reconciling work in their life.
Carley and I are heading to the conflict area of Cibitoke province this week. A Burundian rebel group, with hopes of overthrowing the current government, is camped out across the river in Congo. They have attacked the province about a month ago and again just last week. They have been specifically targeting government officials, policemen, and army personnel. Please pray that the attacks do not spill over onto the civilians and do not further invoke others to join them in an attempt to overthrow the current government.