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A Life of Contrast for Burundian Refugees in Tanzania

Red dirt is everywhere in this region of Tanzania. It makes for a beautiful contrast with the shades of green from all the lush vegetation. We drove on a red road for 45 minutes from the small town of Kibondo to refugee camp Mtendeli where we began preschool teacher training for Burundian refugees.

The group of men and women that are being trained in the Little Ripples model escaped political violence in their homeland between two and three years ago. Some of them came from towns close to the Burundi-Tanzania border, and others drove for days to make it out.

They want peace, and they want freedom. They are caught in a dilemma in the form of a refugee camp. They cannot go back home because there is no peace, and they do not have freedom because they are confined to camps. They stay active and find hope in preparing the children to be the future of their people.

The rain falls hard, and in minutes there are rivers of red running through the camp. The green hills look alive and generous. It would be easy to believe in a romantic interpretation of life in the middle of such beautiful nature, but the refugees’ stories of hardship make for yet another contrast in this painting of sharp reds and greens.

Peace, Gabriel


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