Village of Hope Burundi submitted an application to EMI for campus design in Burundi including a school, dormitories, orphanages and community centre. The slum area of Buterere looked promising to the ministry, had lots of need, and the land was freely given by the government to promote development in the area.
Once the trip was approved in early July it was going to be a flurry of activity to get a team on the ground in September.
After three intense weeks of emails, recruiting, coordinating a pre-survey, finding flights, analyzing site information, the site was eventually deemed unsuitable and the trip was cancelled. That’s a lot of work just to have the trip cancelled.
What did the ministry get out of involving EMI? Well, a lot actually.
The ministry had received the land for free from the government and was asking EMI’s advice on whether this site was viable. In the end, EMI estimated that the site would take at least $240,000 to raise the site to a safe level to protect against dangerous flooding. Now the ministry has to find other land to build their vision on and they probably will have to pay for the land this time. But at least they did not start along the wrong track with a site that would need be at a very high risk of flooding and erosion and need perpetual maintenance after the annual rains.
Once you start on a project it is very hard to backtrack so to cut your losses before it gets too far is probably the best thing to do, even if some investment has already been made.
The expertise that EMI brought to this project was invaluable to the ministry even though so far, EMI has not produced any design that they can use. We’ve saved the ministry $240,000 that they can now use in the lives of kids, instead of just to move sand.
God still has a vision for this ministry in Burundi, we just need to hone in on it a little more.