Damien Barindogo

Village Director Bujumbura SOS Children’s Villages in Burundi

More fear than evil

Watch the story trailer

In December last year, there have been protestations against the term of the actual president. Consecutively, there have been military camp attacks in December. Unfortunately, it was early in the morning one day and some of the children being cared for in our SOS Children’s Village have already gone to school. We then observed that three of them were missing. I called the staff members and mothers in order to tell them that bad news. Everyone was afraid, but we didn’t lose hope. We all kept searching but because of fear, we couldn’t get out of the SOS Children’s Village. There were gun shots from everywhere! From 8:00 a.m. we still were waiting for them in vain.

Where are the three boys?
At 12:00 a.m. I got an anonymous call while I was still in my office. The voice asked me if all my children were there. With fear I did not answer directly and asked him who he is. I recognised the voice: It was one of the teachers of SOS primary school. He told me that he just saw five boys at school but he did not know where they came from. I gave him the names of my three boys and fortunately they were among them.

Still, the problem was to find a way to get the boys back into the village despite that it was not far from the school we struggled because of the insecurity on the road. I told the teacher that the children had to keep quiet and to stay at school till we would find a solution. I also told the watch man to ensure that they did not get out of the school without my authorization. So they had to stay there till 6:00 p.m. When I heard no shots anymore, I called the teacher and asked if he could accompany the boy back to their home at the SOS Children’s Village. He accepted and told me that he has to make him sure that the danger had passed.

A dangerous ways home
At 6:43 p.m. he called me to tell me that he was getting out from the school. I immediately called all the mothers to come in the habitual place in which we meet to pray every evening in order to wait and welcome the boy at the Village. I continued to communicate with the teacher till he got into the Village.
When we saw our three boys, many of us cried of joy. It was really a huge relief in the entire SOS Children’s Village Bujumbura. We welcomed the boys in the different houses and stayed up together till 10:00 p.m. There was more fear than evil because thanks God our three children were found without damage.

Damien Barindogo

joined SOS Children's Villages in 2006 as Programme Director. He now Village Director in Bujumbura SOS Children’s Villages in Burundi.

The treasure he discovers in his work is passion – for growth in respect and security. He watches children grow in the Village, ask questions about life as they develop in learning and create their own families. “It always seems impossible until it’s done” – this is the magic of what he experiences as family. 
Leisure opens to him the road to happiness as he goes jogging, cycling and sometimes swimming. 
Home is the place where he passes on stories of childhood. Educating the young in the wisdoms of the old as bastions for joy of the present.