By Marie Goretti Mukakalisa Marsillac, President, Centre Ubuntu, July 2012
Bureriya is a widow, mother of four. Her son, Balthazar (born 1996), is the first of his family who was able to go to school.
This is the second year for Balthazar, who is in the secondary school, and he is determined to get a degree. Balthazar is intelligent, and his mother understands more than ever that helping her son to go to school is the best help she can provide him, for his own future.
Balthazar dreams of being a nurse.
And this dream is the little family’s project.
Balthazar has three sisters, aged between 14 and 19. They work together with their mother, and they have made Balthazar’s schooling their priority.
They wake up early every morning and work in the fields. They own a small piece of land and also help neighbours, by sharing the harvest with the owners of the field. They sell part of their production on the local market. Unfortunately, they are not able to generate many funds in spite of their effort, as there are more sellers than buyers – except speculators.
Meanwhile, they sleep on the floor, as they can’t afford a mattress and only keep for themselves the vegetable and fruit they have grown that is not good enough to be sold on the market.
We met Bureriya and her family when we were in Rwanda last year. They were selling guavas on the side of the road and were hoping that passers-by from further afield may need something to eat, although in June, most people harvest their own guava fruit.
Though the whole family works hard to pay for Balthazar’s school fees, their situation is precarious. We decided to help this family by including Balthazar on our sponsorship programme and were delighted to find a new sponsor last month, Danièle, a lady who lives in the village of Romans in France.
All our members, as well as Bureriya and her family, are very thankful to Danièle.
Our next objective is to find a co-sponsor for Jeanne and Thimoté, two orphans who also need help for their schooling.
We held a meeting of members in Agen, more than 500 miles away from Niort.
We shared food, wine and once again stories of the children of Bwira. Ghislaine, our host, has a beautiful house in an "Eden garden" that is filled with birdsong and cats running around in the house and the garden.
This was a very sociable meeting that acted like a real healing for all the participants and a very important event before our next trip to Bwira in July 2012.
We also visited Danièle's "Eden garden", our new member and sponsor. We spent some time answering her son’s numerous questions: he wanted to know more about life in Bwira, so that he could share this knowledge with his friends.
After this successful day, we believe we have managed to find potential volunteers for a future journey to Bwira, as we are planning on the construction of the Centre Ubuntu. Danièle's family showed some interest in sharing their knowledge of English by offering an after school class.
As we are flying to Bwira in July.