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Burundi Goat Rehabilitation Project

Alliance Burundaise pour la Coopération et le Développement &
Austrian Help Program

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Human Interest from Burundi, Africa & the Middle East



Christmas is a season for families and friends in Burundi to gather and celebrate the holidays – as well as a time for engagements, marriages, and just plain enjoyment of a good time together. 

Here are some photos of preparing and celebrating the Holiday season in Burundi


Tree-decorating at the project compound is a communal event – staff and kids help to put up the tree, the lights, and the decorations.

Throughout the holidays, herders and family come in to admire the tree in the evenings – 'tree watching' – and sing Burundian Christmas Carols….  And Christmas day everyone dresses in best clothes and goes to Mass.

… And pose by the tree, for photos to take home to their families.

…But Christmas holidays are also an extended period of communal and family celebrations in which everyone jointly participates – food production and preparation is the backbone


Back in the country, women are busy harvesting sweet potatoes to be eaten during the celebrations and to sell at the market to gain some cash.

Farmers then carry their sweet potatoes,  bananas and other produce to the large market in Bujumbura or to rural markets.  Carrying goods by 'head transport' is the most common way, because Burundi is a very hilly country and lacks roads and transport.

    The Central Market in Bujumbura has one section devoted to pulses and rice, and this is where everyone in the capital buys these products for the festivities, while women living upcountry don their colorful wraps and go to the local market to by and sell their goods for the holidays.

    Starting at least two weeks before the holidays, men begin making banana beer and wine in large, hollowed out logs, which is then placed in large, clay pots for transport and storage.

    Back at the  project compound – as all around Burundi – a goat or other animal is butchered and hung in a tree for a day…  Whack! Whack! -  The goat is then cut up into pieces with a long machete knife … And cooked over an open fire in palm oil and using a tomato-based sauce to which peppers, onions, and other items are added. 

    Groups get together and for a couple of days jointly participate in lengthy food preparation – no  'convenience' foods here!  Above, plantains are being peeled to go into a stew, while another group prepares salad greens…

    … And yet others peel vegetables to be used in the different stews – while In another location, some of the boys prepare large quantities of rice, tomato sauce, and fried fish over charcoal burners.

    Now, it's time for everyone to put on their best clothes; and – in rural areas - for girls and women  to carry prepared foods in traditional baskets to the feasting location.

    … And from the village nearby the project compound, women and children from refugee families are invited to join in celebrations.

    Finally, the food is ready, guests have arrived, and  meals are put together – whether here, on the Project compound…  Or in the village.

    After eating, families, friends and kids spend the afternoon in conversation and just enjoying the day and the company…

    Project friends and partners are also invited to the compound to enjoy a bite, – here, friends from the government, the Burundi army, the South African Army, World Vision, the private sector and the project to enjoy 'bitings' and lively conversation.

    Drummers from Kajaga village school come over to the compound to perform for Project guests…

    … As well as Intoré dancers… And 'grown up' drummers from Bujumbura.

    As a long day goes into the evening, staff and friends prepare our own drums to continue celebrating into the night…

    A tradition of joint drinking of village-brewed millet beer with reed straws is followed by more festivities…

    … Gifts are exchanged between families and between elders and their children.

Déo surprises everyone by arriving later in the evening wearing a turtle mask from the Congo…

    …While, just before sunset, Spock jousts with his favorite young Central African Goat, Radagonne.

    Refugee children from the village are delighted!

And Ana, the Project donkey, finds her way onto the front deck where she 'curls' up outside of the merry-making, in view of the Christmas tree!

After preparing a BBQ snack,  herders and friends share popcorn and sodas –
chasing Ana-Donkey off of the deck!

And later, everyone gathers for a group photo by the tree.

    A Christmas scene sketched by Tharcisse,

    Project Carpenter and Handyman








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