From far off, the Burundian countryside is a vast expanse of green carpeted rolling hills. Each hill is a distinct geopolitical unit known as a ‘colline’ (‘hill’ in French). Get closer to a colline and a tapestry of patchwork farming appears: a square of banana trees, a patch of cassava, a large section of coffee trees bordered by some maize.
Each colline holds a community of about 60 to 140 small holding farmer families, which is no surprise given that Burundi is one of the most rurally dense countries in the world. Colline life appears slow to an outsider’s perspective but in reality it is busy and wonderfully communal. Burundi is officially and unofficially one of the poorest nations in the world… but choosing to only view it with that perspective ignores the incredible potential latent in its hills given the fertility of Burundian soil and the unique micro-climates of each colline.