In the mountains of Burera, Emmanuel leads a church of almost 1200 people. However, it has not always been that way. Even before he arrived in Burera, he knew of the community and their struggles. He describes how the people in the area were having problems with their faith in the aftermath of 1994 and how problems including having to wash with and drink dirty water, leading to sickness, were further exasperating their difficulties and meaning that the church was small and weak. He moved to the area in 2009 with his wife who quickly joined the STG which focusses on building latrine complexes. He says that he has noticed a shift in the community since he arrived as more and more people have began creating and joining STG’s to deal with the many problems that the community faces. He describes the people of the area as hard workers, motivated to improve life for everyone. “The individuals that built my house and my latrine complex, they work together now and share their strength. The number of people attending church regularly and giving to the work of God has increased and we now have three baptismal services per year instead of just one!” Emmanuel is excited to see what else God has in store for his church and prays that the hard work and community spirit continues to increase to improve Burera even further beyond recognition.
In 2002, Rachel heard about a solidarity transformation group set up by MOUCECORE in her area. The group was headed up by Blandine who approached Rachel and asked her if she wanted to join and be a part of the work that the group was planning. At that time, her family of 7 children were having to be escorted to the large open hole used as a community toilet as it was too dangerous for them to go alone. They had no place to shower and were bathing using unclean water in the house. When Blandine approached her, Rachel realised she had nothing to lose, the group was easy to join and she was being offered a lifeline to solve her own problems. The group aims to build latrine complexes including a place to wash, for all of the members. Rachel was one of the first households to receive her latrine; she shares it with one other family of 4 and is proud to show it off to visitors as a sign of the transformation that has occurred in her life. Rachel explains: “Before, all of my children were sickly and never went to school but now they attend every day and since the latrine complex was built, none of them have been to hospital. My two year old has not had to go to hospital since he was born!”