Violette has come to our Burundian partner’s emergency feeding centre with her youngest son, Eduard. I ask how far she has come, and she tells me she has walked between two and three hours to get here. I ask the translator to repeat the question, because Violette is eight months pregnant. Her answer remains the same.
I’m shocked, but Violette’s* efforts don’t fully hit home until later, when I’m taken to visit a local family. ‘It’s a ten minute walk,’ I’m told, as I’m handed two walking sticks.
The sticks seem strange for a ten minute walk, but they make complete sense 45 minutes later, when we arrive at our destination sweating and out of breath. The landscape in this rural part of Burundi is muddy and steep, and there are no paths. As a mum myself, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for pregnant Violette to trek like this for three hours, and with a hungry five year old in tow.