NEWSLETTER: Dan Runyon, Reporting on Agriculture Project Visits

This Newsletter features a journal report on field visits to three Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund agriculture development projects at two project locations. The special guests to the first project location were Dr. Barbara Rose and Dr. Dan Runyon.

Adventuresome Special Guests, Dr. Barbara Rose and Dr. Dan Runyon

Supporting Women through Cultivating White Potatoes and Cabbages and Breeding Pigs in Kizunga Colline, Nyabiraba Commune, Bujumbura Province (2019) 

Self-help for Poor Vulnerable Women with Potatoes, Pigs and Microfinancing in Kizunga Colline, Nyabiraba Commune, Bujumbura Province (2022) 

Project Manager, Désiré NSENGIYUMVA
Connected Agriculture Program Graduates, Divine ICOYITUNGIYE and Alice NIHORIMBERE
Translator, Jonathon NSABIMA

The special guests to the second project location were Lauren Chudnovsky, Translator, Epithace NDUWAYO, Dr. Barbara Rose and Dr. Dan Runyon

Special Guests: Lauren Chudnovsky, Translator, Epithace NDUWAYO, Dr. Barbara Rose and Dr. Dan Runyon

Supporting Batwa Women in Breeding Goats and Cultivating Rice at Rubirizi in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Province

Project Manager, Pascasie NIZIGIYIMANA
Connected Agriculture Program Graduate, Jean Luc NKURUNZIZA

Daniel V. Runyon, Ph. D. has been a writer, editor, professor and he has written many books. Dan was invited to join the Board of Friends of Hope Africa University and he wanted to learn more about Burundi, the University and the Church before accepting the invitation. I understand that Dan has now joined the Board.

Dan Runyon was in Burundi during my January and February visit. Dan spent some time with me, met some of our people and visited three of our agriculture development projects at two project locations. He quickly wrote a report on his project visits and he has distributed it to his Vista Bulletin distribution list and he told me I could do whatever I wanted to do with his report. I am pleased to make Dan’s interesting and positive report the focus of this Newsletter.

Another Burundi Adventure (from Dan Runyon’s January 2024 Journal)

Thursday, Jan 11, 2024, 11:45 a.m.: I get back to the Cookie Cottage and who should be there but John McCready, grandson of the original Burundi missionaries of 90 years ago, John Wesley Haley and Esther Jennie Haley. Their objective was to establish an indigenous church that is immediately self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing. The model has proven to be brilliant with the result that Haley’s denomination has grown from nothing to 200,000 members.

While the denomination is self-sustaining, new initiatives such as Hope Africa University (HAU) require start-up funding for quick growth. To foster such growth, John McCready is shifting from a Toronto, Canada-based, career in community development toward extensive volunteer work as director of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund (HMODF). His passion is to link HAU students and graduates with communities ready to adopt sustainable farming practices. In the past 12 years John established 39 of these projects designed to lift people from poverty in a sustainable way.

Saturday, Jan 13: I visited a (HMODF) project in the “up country,” which is anywhere in Burundi up in the Appalachian Mountain-style rural areas that look like they are “remote” yet have no wild animals and are full of docile humans working like ants to grow and harvest food and forest products and transporting them to market on their heads, backs, and bicycles. The market is both local customers and distribution points where the burden is offloaded to trucks destined for more distant customers.

Getting there is half the fun!

The learning curve for me is to comprehend the community mindset of this civilization where of course there is individualism in that “I need to eat,” yet once very basic needs are met, they live for the good of the community. If they ever experience a windfall of blessing, peer pressure results in them sharing with the community until they personally are back at “square one.”

Dan checking-out the corn

John’s aim with agricultural development projects is therefore to lift the base level of “square one” by group ownership and governance of capital so that when a “windfall” is achieved, it is jointly owned and therefore jointly beneficial and reinvested for the good of the whole. This method works, whereas any windfall that goes to individuals, whether in grain, livestock, or real estate of any kind instantly “disappears.”

Project beneficiaries give their annual report
Describing the benefits from the project

Beneficiaries say the impact of this system is that “We used to beg. Now our children eat every day because we have our own food, and we can buy soap and clothes.” This is the immediate reward for success, but the only way to preserve an adequate portion of a windfall for sustained investment is by having it belong to the whole group. Experience shows that 12 women is the right number to administer a self-governing association.

Saying Goodbye

These associations are administered by volunteer community workers selected from Hope Africa University graduates. John particularly strives to connect graduates from the new agriculture program with an established association where they can gain real world practical knowledge and experience. Replicate the model I saw today a million times over and you will have transformed the lives of Burundi’s 12 million people.

Sunday, Jan. 14: After church and lunch today, we piled into John’s boneshaker bus to visit another community development project.

John’s “boneshaker bus” is really a 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser (photo taken before the left back window fell out)

This project is one among the minority ethnic group called the Batwa, very small people with very big hearts. Singing and dancing among their heaping harvest of rice still in the husks, they gave us a warm welcome and a joyful report of a successful year with the rice.

A big-hearted, warm welcome
One of nine piles of rice and another field yet to harvest
One step in getting the rice to market
Some remaining goats
John receives a gift of a goat he names, Mugisha (Blessing) which he will pass on to an upstart project
One of the two female pigs

Oh, there were setbacks due to some stolen goats, and what to do about pigs acquired last year and now ready for breeding, but no money for the stud fee. Before the day ends, a way is navigated whereby the collective will receive 30,000 Bfr per pig ($11.00 each) for the two now adult pigs to produce piglets.

Presenting a gift for stud fees
Saying Goodbye to Curious Children

A gift of $1,500.00 establishes a new self-propagating project of 12 beneficiaries.

Learn more about this grassroots initiative or make a tax deductible gift in any amount at

Option 1. At the “secure link,” scroll down and select “Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund” and enter the requested information.

Option 2: Prepare a paper check payable to FM Financial and designated to the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund and mail the check to:

FM Financial

8050 Spring Arbor Road

PO Box 580

Spring Arbor, Michigan 49283