Country Proverb: Burundi

Written by Plant With Purpose on March 10, 2015 in General

By Sierra Robbins

“Nta witamga Imama kwihebura”

Translation: “You don’t give in to despair before God”

The Burundian proverb “Nta witamga Imama kwihebura”—you don’t give in to despair before God—is especially relevant for a country with over half of its population living in poverty. The average child attends less than three years of school and 39 percent of children under the age of five are considered malnourished. The country is still recovering from a long and bloody civil war caused by ethnic tensions. Against such odds, it’s easy to imagine how one might lose hope. Partnering farmers in Burundi, however, remain joyful and resilient. In keeping with this proverb they display an indefatigable faith in God in the midst of heartache.

One aspect of Plant With Purpose’s holistic approach to development in Burundi is the Theology of Work curriculum. This Biblical curriculum equips farmers and churches to discover purpose in farming, the work of their hands. Through Theology of Work, former Burundian refugees are empowered to build churches, plant crops, and start businesses. After attending a Theology of Work seminar, former refugee Pastor Zacharia learned new ways to care for his church and community. He shares that his congregation decided to use their 20 acres of land in ways that will benefit the entire community, and have planted banana trees on the land. Rather than giving in to despair, Pastor Zacharia’s church is restoring their land and caring for their neighbors.

Plant With Purpose is honored to play a role in the restoration of Burundians’ land, livelihoods, and capacity to hope.  Though life has not been easy for partnering families, their faith and determination remain firm. They teach us that through an unflagging trust in God and through the labor of our own two hands, anything is possible. Burundians truly live in accordance with the proverb “Nta witamga Imama kwihebura,” and their refusal to give up hope is an inspiration to us all.


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