Sunday, May 13, 2012

Community Day

Saturday mornings in Burundi are a time for community work. People are expected to be doing useful things in their own community, so they are not permitted to travel. Thus we had a late start to our day, which was welcome after a full Friday. Setting out at 10:00 we didn't get very far. Our way was blocked because the President was coming along the highway with a crowd carrying a Peace Torch. We were stopped by the police and had to wait. Eventually we made our way to Kayanza Parish where we were met by the pastor and several members who told us about the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) programme in which lay members and enquirers learn more about the faith. Pastor Amos is also the diocesan co-ordinator of the programme.

The TEE group put on a play to show us the sort of topics they discuss in addition to the usual studies of the Bible and theology. The play demonstrated the problems inherent in having too many children, and put in plugs for family planning and for the community microcredit groups such as we had seen on Friday.

From the church we made our way to a primary school where we were met by an adult literacy class. They welcomed us with great joy in song and sang us into the classroom. There we saw the method of participatory learning (gakuba) in action as the teacher created a problem tree and a solution tree which then led to a literacy lesson. This group also presented a play, showing how literacy and participation in a microcredit group could lead to economic self-sufficiency and an improved life. It was amazing to see some 30 or so children cramming into the class to see what was going on. Even more had climbed up to look through the windows. Then as soon as the play was finished, the group broke out into a farewell song and we were off on our way.

After a lunch along the way back to Ngozi we spent some time touring the market. Then home to prepare for Sunday.

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