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Beaming Smiles in Burundi

Posted in OLD The Archive

TWR has contributed in a special way as peace has begun to emerge after decades of violent conflict in Burundi. We are well known for our programmes on reconciliation, and each Saturday, people living in the capital, Bujumbura, hurry off to listen when we go on air. These programmes are produced by TWR-Burundi and they are aired on the Burundian national radio station.

Moreover, there is a tremendous need in Burundi for Christian music recordings in the local language. To our knowledge, there are only two studios producing such music, one of which is TWR-Burundi. Music is an important part of African culture, and is thus a significant tool for ministering to the spiritual needs of Burundians.

As TWR-Burundi participates in growing the Kingdom of God through these gospel radio programmes and music, it has become increasingly difficult to do an effective job. 12 years ago they received state-of-the-art equipment for radio production and music production. This studio equipment has served them well, however 12 years in the life of technology is like 12 generations in the life of men! It was definitely time for an upgrade.

Praise be to God! Because of the generous bequests of people in Canada, in June 2010, TWR-Canada was able to provide the funds TWR-Burundi needed to upgrade their equipment. The bulk of this project has now been completed and there are big beaming smiles all around in Burundi. Not only amongst the TWR staff, but also on the faces of those working at community radio stations whose own ministries will be enhanced by the supply of programmes and music from TWR-Burundi.

What would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to do 15 years ago we were able to do for a few tens of thousands of dollars today due to the massive advances in technology. Old mixers, old computers, old air-conditioning units and old speakers were replaced with state-of-the-art upgrades. Good air-conditioning is essential because heat, humidity and dust (of which there is no short supply in Burundi) are one's biggest enemies in a studio!

Furthermore, new microphones, multi-track recording software and music equipment were purchased. Now, TWR-Burundi is able to produce high quality, digital music and radio programmes for the glory of God and to the blessing of the people of Burundi for many years to come. Their beautiful studio can now be used to its full advantage for the first time in a long time. Gone are their days of having to combine digital and analogue recordings due to out-dated equipment. The outcome is like the difference between watching regular television and high definition satellite television!

Furthermore, TWR-Burundi's studio technician, Michel Ntamubano was able to spend two weeks at TWR-ARO's office in Kempton Park, South Africa. This highly-skilled man was trained on the new equipment, encouraged in his work, and taught essential trouble-shooting skills which will stand him in good stead in accomplishing the task of operating and maintaining the equipment.

TWR-Burundi staff also had the opportunity to receive training from Nate McGurk (TWR-ARO) and Kirk Baskin, a TWR Intern who came out from Canada for a short term trip to TWR-Africa. The TWR-Burundi trainees were joined by eight others from local Christian radio stations. They were all taught the basic ins and outs of using a multi-track digital mixer and recording voice and music. Many God-fearing people were given new skills, and one attendee from Voice of Hope FM has changed his whole approach as a result of the training.

In a few more weeks this project will be completed and the bequests of Canadians will have left a lasting legacy of hope in the country of Burundi.

Published: 22 January 2011