(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The End of a Tough Year

It’s been a while. I will refrain from talking about how busy I’ve been. But I’ve been busy. 

I’m in the US. Vacation is coming to an end. So much has happened since my last posting I’ll briefly try to recap and then mention my vacation later. 

After my trip to NY, a lot of things began to happen. I started getting some resignations due to the insecurity in Burundi, primarily from expatriate staff. I knew it was coming since most organizations have made their positions unaccompanied. Given that most of my international staff have families, it was a matter of time. 
Father Christmas visiting Kinaya's daycare in December
 Some left rather quickly, some are still phasing out. In the end we’ll end up with fewer expats and those that are there will likely not have families, or certainly not children. Though I don’t think it’s necessarily unsafe, it can be unpleasant at times. The sound of gunfire and grenade blasts are difficult to explain to children and it’s not an ideal situation. The situation for Burundians is generally far worse since it’s affecting them directly, often in their neighborhoods. 

a very cool computer facility we're running in the camps
Also facing me were a few key visits. Such things are a challenge on one’s schedule even if they do not come at the end of the year and in the run up to the holidays. In this case it ended up being a bit crazy. But by sleeping less and taking advantage of little opportunities here and there to sneak in some extra work, I made it to the airport in mid-December relatively unscathed. 

We are currently on a flight heading back to Burundi. The country still remains in disarray. The violence seems to ebb and flow. Much of the expat population has left. It’s hard to know where this is headed. Negotiations aren’t getting off the ground and even if they do, it seems that there will be an impasse. The government doesn’t seem interested in compromise nor does the opposition. In the meantime, the economic and humanitarian situation continues to decline. As usual, the general population is taking the biggest hit. 
the adventure awaits - not long before we left for the US
For now we need to focus on the dire humanitarian situation. What we’re doing is a drop in the ocean of what needs to be done but nonetheless, it is making a difference. The country needs to know that the international community is not turning its back on them during this trying time. One thing I keep telling my staff (and often myself) is that this crisis will end at some point. We need to make sure that the population is supported not only to get through this but to become more self-sufficient once it’s over. Soon, we hope.

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