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Host families and friends gathered at the Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay airport on Tuesday, June 10th, to say their goodbyes to the “Burundi Fabulous Four” as they began their long journey back to their homeland in Africa. The bittersweet farewell was filled with tears of joy and sadness but immense excitement as the Burundian students hugged their American host families goodbye and also looked forward to seeing their families in Burundi. The students: Olivier, Michee, Chadia and Lady all experienced an unforgettable first year in America. Each of them was successful at their studies and well received by their host families. New friendships, new faith experiences and a new culture headed the list of their American experiences.
The students arrived in the capital city of Bujumbara 48 hours after their departure from Green Bay; they were happily greeted by their families and friends whom they hadn’t seen for over 10 months. After a few days of rest and relaxation, the students began working on their summer assignments which required them to visit schools and family members in the remote, rural areas of Burundi. This opportunity will provide the students with an opportunity to prepare them to become ambassadors who can share the plight of the people of Burundi with their American brothers and sisters in Christ.
The “Burundi Fabulous Four” will return to America in mid-August to begin their junior year at either Lourdes Academy or Xavier High School. They will be joined by four other students who have been selected to participate in the Burundi High School Students in USA program. The “Fabulous Four” will now become the “Exceptional Eight!” Savannah and Chantel will attend Lourdes Academy while Dieder and Gentle Jess will be welcomed by Xavier High School.
The presence of the Burundian students is a wonderful opportunity for their schools and their new communities to learn more about Burundi, the third poorest country in the world. It is also a once in a lifetime experience for the students to earn their high school diploma from an American school and learn about the opportunities available to those who live in a developed nation.