Be the Cause

In Burundi

A friend of ours decided to take his medical skills to one of the poorest, sickest and obscure countries: Burundi in Africa.  He’s spent the last five months in the country, working with Village Health Works to provide health services to the community.  The stories he sends back about the harsh conditions that the people have to live through are intense to say the least.

Last week, one of the community health workers he works with was killed through an incident of violence.  Below is what he wrote and then a link to the New York Times article:

On my way home from Burundi.  Last week, the vehicle that takes our village health works truck back and forth from the capital city up to Kigutu was ambushed.

Everyone I worked with Elvis(our translator), Melino(the doctor), Peter’, Claude, Gerard for the last 4 months were robbed and Claude, our awesome, humble
driver was killed. Shot in the right eye and killed instantly.

Have sat next to Claude and taken that road countless times over the last few months.  Tracy Kidder published an op-ed in the NY times that pays a little of the respect Claude deserved.

The response from everyone to dig in, support Claude´s family, defend the clinic and continue to work towards health and hope for Kigutu have made me proud to be part of the org.

We are trying to piece together support for Claude´s family.  He has three young daughters and a wife.  I will write again when I know the details so any of you that want to can lend a hand.

Beyond the Mangled Barbed Wire

Will be back soon….to give voice to their visions and narrative. Together we can make sound for those who are often muted in this world.


Man constructs the barbed wire,
And the barbed wire forms the man
Clinging to hot metal; grazing shoulders; between protruding spikes
Wistful, fatigued from de facto hallucinations
Thirsting for liquid donations
And getting rations of raised suspicions and murmurs instead
Equipped only with munitions of his ethnic claim
And remembrances of his human shield offerings
All must return home – yet home gives itself to no one.

But the defenders force step it in reverse,
Stumbling past the wire wall
Thwarted by the internment of their own minds,
Held in custody by habitual unrest
And banished by tranquilized soldiers and guardsmen
We all retreat to the picket fences of home
And dive head first into that haze of complacency

And as we sit there, suspended in dispassionate maintenance,
The war crimes of the mind suddenly give way,
To the armed insurgents attacking at you.
But you forward march anyway – in the hope of the save
Because you know their sunken eyes have at last arrested you,
Through a mass of twisted separatism
As they exhale a breath of anguish
All over your crooked prosperity

And so you blow the cycle of protests wrestling inside
And take the assault of the opposition,
Keeping your fists in check all the while –
Storing all that fury for the groundwork
And you go; you give way to all that detains you
Knowing that you are entangled in their captivity,
And that they remain caught up in yours.

Sonali Fiske

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