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The Famine Blog

What We’re Listening to: Gungor “Beautiful Things”


Can you recall the last time you had a song stuck in your head? Perhaps it was an annoying radio jingle or commercial that didn’t let up. Well, that’s not the kind of song I’m talking about here. Lately, I find myself playing and re-playing songs in my mind that carry a significant message. It seems the more I listen to it, the more relevant the lyrics are to my life. Lately, for me, it’s been “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. The words have been a gentle reminder that God is bigger than the challenges we face in our lives.  While sometimes it may seem like it’s all gone awry, He is still there and can undoubtedly turn our chaos into something good.

30 Hour Famine and Jedidiah


This year has brought on some radical changes for the 30 Hour Famine. We are excited to announce our new partnership with Jedidiah, a humanitarian-based clothing brand, to bring you the 2012 ‘Overcome Hunger’ gear. Based in sunny San Diego, Jedidiah brings a unique perspective to humanitarian work. Each collection they design supports a different non-profit organization, promoting the cause with each item they sell.

Hunger, home, and life in Dadaab through 8 year old eyes


In yesterdays post, Michele, leader of the study tour, shared with us about Dadaab, one of the world’s largest refugee camps. Today she tells the story of Abdifatah, an 8 year old boy who traveled with his family from Somalia to Dadaab, fleeing drought and famine.

It’s become a reality to me that ‘home’ is a relative term. For me, home has always meant a place where my family is or where I tend to spend most of my time. It’s the place I know the best and is filled with people I love the most. Right now for me, home is an antique-looking apartment in downtown Tacoma, Wash. I can see a park from my living room and it’s always brilliantly sunny. Home for me is an escape from the world.

Dadaab, home to 400,000


Over the past few days Michele, leader of the Study Tour, has  given us  a glimpse to life in Burundi.  After safely seeing the students home,  Michele is now in Kenya at one of the largest refugee camps in the world, Dadaab.  As famine continues to spread throughout the Horn of Africa,  people arrive  daily to Dadaab in hopes of finding food and refuge.  Reporting from ground zero, Michele shares with us life in Dadaab, home to thousands of refugees.

Travel an hour by flight north of Nairobi to Dadaab, one of the world’s oldest refuge camp. As we came down through the cloud cover there was literally nothing to be seen. Just miles upon miles of red land. The oppressively warm air hit my skin as we stepped out of the plane. A film of dust immediately covered my entire body and I could feel it beginning to coat my throat, lungs and nose.

Meet Thomas, a man who shows us what it means to serve.



On Monday, we introduced you to Michele, leader of the Study Tour. Michele is currently traveling throughout Africa, meeting people and listening to their stories. Today she introduces us to Thomas, a man listening to God’s call and serving in Burundi.

 Around the globe, World Vision has nearly 33,000 employees in roughly 100 countries. On another continent, in the heart of Africa, one man stood out among thousands. His name is Thomas Rottoh. Thomas is one of the few people I am eye level with, (meaning he also was not blessed with much height), But with his soft voice and careful words, his personality demands attention and respect. He is quick to laugh and even quicker to admit when he is wrong. 

Domitrien and Innocent.



Today’s blog post comes from Michele Tvedt, leader of the Study Tour. Michele has been involved with the 30 Hour Famine since she was 13. At the age of 16, she traveled to Peru as a Study Tour participant, and now works for 30 Hour Famine. During her time in Burundi, Michele met Domitrien and Innocent, a father and son living in Gaswore. This is their story.

Over the last few days, my eyes have been filled with the beautiful faces of the Burundian people. Their joys, struggles, heartbreak, pain and successes have become my own as I have tentatively listened to their stories and have been welcomed into their homes. It’s difficult to see the poverty we have seen. Even after years working in this field, it’s always difficult to see children who lack opportunity. But the wonderful part of working with World Vision is that there is hope in every home, a promise of better things to come.

You asked. They answered.



We’ve got to admit, your curiosity about Burundi pulled out all the stops.  Team Burundi champed it out and got answers to your questions half a world away! After numerous skype calls, emails, text messages, tweets, blog comments and Facebook posts from around the U.S. and the globe, we have answers!

Pinhole. Polaroid. Panorama


Pinhole cameras allow you to take photos by light entering a camera through a tiny hole. This light then projects onto a piece of photo paper and often creates a blurry image. A polaroid snaps a photo and instantly prints. A panorama gives you  a wide angle view in great detail.

Before stepping into Burundi, the study tour students’ understanding of Burundi was a lot like photographing through a pinhole camera. Limited in view, and producing a vague picture of reality. Now they are in Burundi, and living and experiencing moments, much like you would capture  with a polaroid. After living there,  meeting the people, and experiencing the culture  we hope they walk away with a panorama of understanding. Here are some of their moments from arriving at the airport, training in Seattle,  up until now.

Famine Dollars into Food


This is the story of how dollars, checks and even coins collected for the 30 Hour Famine are now filling bellies in the field. Team Burundi is on the ground, and right now, Emma T,  Carter, Ellie, George, Abby, Emma N, Robert, Nicole and Preston are your eyes and ears into how Famine funds are helping real kids in need.

What we know so far…



In the weeks leading up to the 30 Hour Famine Study Tour, we have been feeding you facts about Burundian culture and customs. And yesterday, in our first blog post ever, we challenged you to brainstorm some of your own  questions for Team Burundi.  Here’s a brief fact re-cap to get your minds churning:.