Rumors of a Sickness

You’re reading this because you have internet access, right? It’s likely any information you need is a quick Google search away. As the coronavirus has spread around the world, you’ve likely kept up with the best ways to keep yourself safe.

For many families in rural Burundi, this isn’t the case. Information isn’t readily available in their own local language. In the small community of Jene, news was often spread through word of mouth. So what happens when a pandemic hits and false information spreads? Who do you turn to?


Beatrice told her husband to stay in the city of Bujumbura. She’s heard the rumors. People in the city were sick, infected with a contagious disease that no one had treatment to. He was a taxi motorcyclist there. The day she heard about the virus, she told him he needed to stay there and work, and keep the disease away from their home. “I was very stressed hearing about COVID-19” Beatrice explains.

Rumors had piled up. Without internet to fact check the information she heard, all Beatrice had to go off of was the gossip across the community. And what she heard wasn’t good. There was no treatment, and it was extremely contagious. It had put the entire world into a lockdown. It must be terrible, she thought.

Much of her rural community of Jene was in the dark about the global pandemic, how it is spread, and how to prevent it. 

That’s why FH became involved with spreading hygiene messages to community leaders. The bible teacher at their local church, Fabien, had been equipped and trained in coronavirus knowledge, and he knew how to answer their questions.

Beatrice talked to Fabien after the church service. She explained that her husband was stuck in Bujumbera where he worked because she didn’t want him bringing COVID home. 

Fabien explained that the virus could be best prevented by handwashing and social distancing measures. There would always be a risk with her husband working. But by increasing their hygiene practices in the home and by Juvenal protecting himself while at work, they could minimize the risk. 

Fabien's role as a church leader gives him a unique position
of influence in his community. FH partners with leaders like 
Fabien to reach community members. 

“My discussion with my husband has changed ever since I talked to Fabien about COVID-19. We encourage each other to practice preventative measures. I am so thankful to Fabien for helping me overcome the fear and stress of COVID-19, and helping me learn how to prevent it.”

Beatrice is becoming more and more aware of how a strict cleaning regimen
can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Beatrice was able to send a message to her husband Juvenal in Bujumbura. She told him he should come home. Equipped with PPE and having installed a handwashing station outside her home, Beatrice is doing what she can to minimize risks. Thanks to reputable information and trustworthy community leaders who were empowered with knowledge about the coronavirus, communities are better able to stay safe.

To equip families to power through the pandemic, go to fhcanada.org/emergencies



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Food for the Hungry: Rumors of a Sickness
Rumors of a Sickness
Food for the Hungry
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