“My name is Claudine. I am 29 years old, married, and the mother of 4 children.
I have been living in Tanzania since I was a child. I grew up there and I met my first husband who was a Tanzanian national. We were a strong couple and lived together for 6 very happy years. We had a house, with manioc and groundnut fields, and a few cows.
When they decided to expel all the Burundians who had not regularized their stay in Tanzania, my husband tried to convince the authorities to let me stay in Tanzania, without success.
One day I was in the fields I was chased away while my husband and older daughter were in the market.
They just let me take my 3 younger children and no personal belongings. I came back to Burundi and settled in my parents’ property that our neighbors had kept for us. My parents had died previously in Tanzania.
I have now been back in Burundi for two years and I miss my oldest daughter who remained in Tanzania with her father. I’ve since heard that my husband got remarried, and I was originally hoping to reconnect with him, but I am still afraid to look for him because of what happened to me.
To move forward and avoid remembering what I went through in Tanzania, I joined a saving and credit association where I met other women who experienced the similar, or worse, situations. We comfort each other, help each other, and so my life is starting to become normal again. I also got remarried.
“Our association was given a mill and a groundnut field. That helped reinforce social cohesion among us. Currently, with members of our association, we are like brothers and sisters. When one of us gets sick, we arrange visits.
“I requested a credit of 20.000 Burundian Francs, so our association can start a banana wine business. With the support of my new husband, I just bought a bike which I use to transport the bananas. My relationship with my husband has also improved since I started contributing financially to the household.
“Whenever I start feeling nostalgic and sad about my past in Tanzania, I can consult a member of the community trained in psychosocial assistance to find relief. I would say that my life is now balanced.”