Africa Day 10: Home Improvements

Dieudonne Kayobera’s potato business, funded through a HF micro-loan, is booming. Although he is very poor by Western standards, he is using some of his profits to build God’s kingdom and help poor believers.

We started our day spending time with legless Kana Claver, whom I met five months ago when he was still a beggar on the streets of Bujumbura. Kana was tortured during Burundi’s tribal wars, and consequently had to have both his legs amputated. Kana came to know the Lord through Bienvenu’s ministry. (You can read Kana’s full story in our January magazine by clicking here.)

Through a $500 grant via our Handicapped Christians Fund, Kana opened a shop in a marketplace where he sells a variety of beans, rice, and a number of other items. He has gone from making about 50 cents a day begging to an average of five dollars a day from his shop profits. Those profits have enabled him to put his young children in school for the first time in their lives, rent another room in their rented house so that they now have two rooms of living space, provide better food for his family, own a cell phone, and take his children to the doctor when they’ve been ill. We’ve also provided Kana with a hand-propelled tricycle. He formerly got around by scooting on his hands, or by using crutches and crude prosthetic legs.

We’re making a short video about Kana in order to promote the Handicapped Christians Fund, and Kana agreed to re-enact his former begging strategies in downtown Bujumbura while I filmed him. During one sequence, I hid in our parked car while he begged along a busy sidewalk, holding out his hand. Hundreds of people with good legs walked right by him during the fifteen minutes that I filmed, and not one person gave legless Kana anything. Later, as Bienvenu and I replayed and watched that video, Bienv said, “This makes me think of what it will be like on the day of judgment, when the Lord will show us all our deeds.”

Kana Claver with his wife and four children in their dirt-floor living room. The sheet covering the doorway at the right leads to a room that used to be rented by another person. Now it is rented by Kana for his family.

We spent much of the rest of the day visiting Christian women who were formerly destitute, but whose lives are improving through small-business and home-building grants, as well as some micro-entrepreneurs who have benefitted from our Micro-Loan Fund. A few of their photos are below. Thanks for helping Heaven’s Family make a difference in all of their lives. — David

Beatrice Ndikumana, age 23, inside her “house.” The squatters’ community where she and her family currently live is indescribable by Western standards, unfit for any human habitation. However, because of a $550 HF grant, she and her husband have purchased land and are in the process of building a better house in a better community. We’ve also helped Beatrice to be cured of a severe skin infection through our Critical Medical Needs Fund (see photo below), and helped her start a charcoal and flour-selling business. As a result of these acts of kindness, her husband, who was formerly a drunkard and physically abusive, has repented and begun serving Jesus whole-heartedly.

Beatrice’s former skin infection (photo taken last November) is now completely healed.

Beatrice with her three children, in front of their house. Beatrice’s husband was out working when we visited.

(Above) Miriam Nduwimana, age 22, used to live in the same squatters’ community as Beatrice, but her “house” was completely destroyed in a flood. Bienvenu found her living under a tarp along a road. Miriam was at that time pregnant, having been raped by three men when she was working out in field. Bienvenu led her to Jesus. She later lost her baby and also discovered that she was HIV positive.

With a $600 HF grant, Miriam recently bought land and built a three-room mud-brick house. Through another $300 HF grant, she has started a small business that sustains her and her two sisters.

Miriam in the main room of her three-room, $600 house. She sells flour and small fish during the rainy season, and mud bricks in the dry season since they cannot be made when it is raining.

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