Profile of Burundi
VITAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PEOPLE
Burundi is a small, mountainous, African country bordered by Tanzania on the southeast and Rwanda to the north. Over 400 years of conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes have left the nation highly in debt and heavily dependent on foreign aid, and nearly 200,000 refugees have fled to Tanzania. An estimated 150,000 to 300,000 people were killed in the country’s 1972 and 1994 genocides between the Tutsi and Hutus. Extreme weather in 2006 left 70% of farmland underwater, destroying the livelihood of many. Today, there is relative peace in the nation. Relative peace after a 12-year ethnic-based civil war has been attributed partly to international mediation and support. Refugees are returning to the country in large numbers in recent years.
THE TWA PYGMIES TRIBE
The Batwa have a very hard life, they find inconsistent jobs to do for other people around to get a little money. When this work is not found, they go hungry. They live in congestion in their small houses. For example, you may find a family of 7 people staying in a single room, children and parents together. When you get inside their houses, you find neither a bench nor a bed nor a mattress in the bedroom. When the night comes some of them never receive a visitor to spend a night with them. This is not because they do not wish to receive visitors, but because if a visitor comes, there is no place for them to stay.
What are their needs? Children of the Batwa need regular finances to keep them to school. The youth of the Batwa need to learn some training skills to help them to regularly earn a living, such as sewing, carpentry or metallurgy. The Batwa people have no medical facilities, not even water. In their lives, most of them dream of sleeping on mattresses and some don't have clothes. The Batwa people are unchurched and desire to have their own church. Half the Batwa do not know how to write and to read the local language. Their primary religion is ethnic religion.