Newsletter – John McCready in Burundi

As has become my practice, I spent most of January in Burundi.  I have come to believe that every trip to Africa is a rewarding adventure and this one was no exception.

Hope Africa University

It was my privilege and pleasure to teach my course on Community Needs Assessment again.  I had a small class of social work students.  I like to have a lot of discussion and, therefore, I frequently set groups and assign an exercise for them to complete.  Since one of the students was extremely pregnant and expecting in the next few days, all the students agreed to complete the course in two weeks rather than the usual three weeks.  We completed the course before the baby arrived and I had a free week to attend to other matters.

Signing the Partnership Agreement

Last summer, Hope Africa University (HAU) and Spring Arbor University (SAU) signed a Partnership Agreement.  While I was at HAU, I had a chance to meet with the Bishop Elie Buconyori, Rector of Hope Africa University.  With the Partnership in mind, I asked Bishop Buconyori to identify the research and development priority areas for HAU and the Partnership.  Bishop Buconyori identified four priority areas and I will be discussing these priorities with Dr. Betty Overton-Adkins, Provost of Spring Arbor University, Carla Knootz, Executive Director of the SAU Center for Global Studies and Initiatives and other SAU representatives.  As previously agreed, I hope to collaborate with SAU and its staff members in developing proposals designed to secure the resources to support research and development projects that address the agreed upon Partnership priorities.

Dr. Malabi

Related to the course that I teach, the Partnership Agreement and ambitious plans for development, I have established a good working relationship with Dr. Kyubi Malabi.  Dr. Malabi is the Head of the Department of Social Work and Community Development of Hope Africa University.

Student Grants Program – Funded Development Projects

The Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund is primarily addressing its Student Grants Program; providing funding for development projects designed and implemented by students and graduates of Hope Africa University.  There are two funded projects.

  • Pig Farming at Muyebe, Project Managers: Eddyne Irankunda and Evelyne Kanyana
  • Tailoring for Women at Nyanza-lac, Project Manager Christine Kamirameya
Monitor and Reporter

While I was in Burundi, I was able to meet the Project Monitor and Reporter, Felicien Bukuru, and make field visits to both of the funded projects.  It was a pleasure to see the projects and meet with the project managers.

Pig Project


I met with Eddyne of the pig project (Evelyne was not immediately available because she recently had a baby).  I had the opportunity to make a field visit to see the pigs at Muyebe.  I love to go to Muyebe where my grandparents and parents lived.  I have very good memories of living at Muyebe.  I also had the chance to met Claude who is the watchman at Muyebe and he was hired to look after the pigs.


Claude and John

Since the last Bulletin, the pig project realized one of its central objectives; it gave five piglets to five needy families in the Muyebe community.  The project continues and one of the two female pigs is pregnant again.  Currently, the project managers are developing a plan and a model for the project to continue long into the future and continue to provide benefits for some of the members of the Muyebe community.  Since I have returned from Burundi, I have been advised that one of the female pigs is pregnant so we are expecting more piglets.

Sewing Project

I had the opportunity to meet with Christine the project manager for the sewing project.  To make the site visit, I was fortunate to be able to travel to Nyanza-lac.  Wayne Vibbert drove me.  It is a beautiful ride through beautiful country.  The road heads south from Bujumbura and follows Lake Tanganyika; the lake on one side and mountains on the other.  On this trip, you see many palm trees that produce oil for cooking.

 The sewing project has been successful in acquiring valuable equipment, providing some employment and making and selling school uniforms for local primary school students.  The project manager is now located fulltime in Bujumbura.  Accordingly, it has been determined that the project needs to be moved and renewed in or nearby Bujumbura.  Currently, the project manager, Christine is developing a plan to renew and continue project.  The sewing machines provide a valuable resource to provide ongoing service for needy women and needy families.  Christine has found a man who is willing and able to train women to sew.  Christine is developing interest and commitment from ten women to become involved with the renewed project.


Student Grants Program – Proposed Development Projects

Before I left for Burundi, the second Call for Proposals was launched.  The North American Governing Committee met and agreed to provide funding for three new development projects and, a fourth project, if warranted by the quality of the proposals.  The African Governing Committee received 21 proposals (11 more than the first Call for Proposals).  All of the proposals were reviewed carefully and three proposals were selected for further consideration.  The African Governing Committee decided to ask for statements on project management from each of the three proposed projects; a clear description on how the project would be managed in order to ensure it would meet its objectives.  Once all the statements are submitted and reviewed, the African Governing Committee will meet with the project managers and, based on the statements and the discussion, decide whether to recommend the projects for funding.

Haley Book on Indigenous Development

Bishop Gerald Bates, Bishop Elie Buconyori, Rev. Dan Sheffield and I are collaborating on the development of a book, highlighting John Wesley Haley’s unpublished manuscript on building an indigenous church.  All of us are aware of the major principles underpinning the development of an indigenous church; an indigenous church is self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing.  I am hoping that 2012 is a very productive year the development of this important book.

Bishop Bates has asked for some clarification on the expectations for his part of the book, describing the life and work of J.W. Haley.  Bishop Bates has requested and received permission to draw upon material in his intellectual biography on J.W. Haley; Soul Afire.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of the “Hamilton Family” contributors, Bishop Elie Buconyori has used a special grant to hire a Research Assistant to help compile the required information for a status report or “report card” on the indigenous church in Burundi.

The Research Assistant, Rev. Evariste Harerimana, has the background information and an outline/framework and, guided by Bishop Buconyori, he will begin the research and compilation of the required information in March.

Rev. Dan Sheffield has done a considerable amount of research and he is making great progress on his part of the book.  Drawing on his research for the book, Rev. Sheffield has written a 19-page paper, a condensed version of his part of the book, entitled, “The Mission Temporary — The Church Permanent: The Indigenous Missiology of J.W. Haley, Canadian Free Methodist Missionary in Burundi.”  The paper was recently presented in Edmonton at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society, Canadian Region.

Another First

Last year, I played basketball in Burundi for the first time.  This year, I had the opportunity to ride motorcycles in Burundi for the first time.  Thanks to Ken Johnson, who has quite a large number of motorcycles, I had a chance to go for a little ride on the edge of Bujumbura.  Thankfully, Ken took the lead and I could follow along, trying to get acquainted with the Chinese, 125 cc motorcycles which for me had an unusual shifting pattern (you shift down for all five gears).  Burundi has some paved roads with very nice turns.  This was a great start for someone who loves motorcycling and is anxious to travel around and see all of Burundi.  Thanks Ken.

First Call for Donations

Just before Christmas, the first Call for Donations was issued.  The Haley McCready Outreach Development Fund received some donations and we would like to thank each of the contributors.  Thank you for your generosity in supporting the Student Grants Program.