Andrea Riccardi visits the Communities of Burundi, a reservoir of peace and humanity for the poor, women, young people

The Communities of Sant'Egidio in Burundi have recently received the visit of Andrea Riccardi. The visit started with a four-day meeting in the capital Bujumbura, attended by 70 representatives of the different Communities in the country, on the theme "Prayer, Poor, Peace: disciples of Jesus after the Resurrection". They gathered from 16 Communities across the country. Sant'Egidio is in fact present in the main cities - Bujumbura, Gitega, Kayanza and Ngozi - as well as in several rural villages.
A Community that is a child of peace for which Sant'Egidio has prayed and engaged so much. Today it is a response to the globalisation of indifference with its service to the poor and its ability to build networks of solidarity and to involve women and young people in particular. 
Andrea Riccardi's visit to the elderly showed how the Community can humanise places of pain such as institutions and is a 'therapeutic' presence for many elderly people.  Their wounds - which used to be 'treated' with traditional methods such as clay - are now perfectly healed thanks to the careful care of the young people of the Community.
A food distribution in the Maison de Paix - the centre of the Community in Bujumbura - for the families of the School of Peace children, was the occasion for an assembly meeting with many women.  They testified how the School of Peace supports them who are often alone to look after so many children. In particular, some widows - abandoned by their families - have found a new family in the Community.

On 1 May, the meeting concluded with an assembly.  About 350 people from the Community of Bujumbura participated together with a group from the Community of Uvira in Congo. The town lies in the Kivu region just beyond the border with Burundi, a few kilometres from the capital.