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Mathieu
Nyanza-Lac, Burundi

The plants you see around the house are to stop anyone entering the compound quickly, to give me time to cry out for help. We are six in this house, including two young children – my first wife died and they are my children with my second wife. We don’t feel safe here.

About two years ago I was attacked. I was coming back from the toilets outside at night when they started hitting me with a machete, right here in the compound. It's because of the land issue that they attacked me. I spent a year in hospital.

I tried to present my case to the National Commission for Land but I have been waiting for someone to come and solve the problem for two years now and I haven't seen anyone so far.

I was born right here 80 years ago, but I spent 37 years in Tanzania. When I returned I found that my country had changed and my neighbours had moved in on my land. We are still living together now. My land was 1,000 metres by 1,000 metres, and now I have only this small compound.

Photographs by Chris de Bode.

Nyanza-Lac, Burundi
Mathieu
Mathieu
Nyanza-Lac, Burundi
Nyanza-Lac, Burundi
Mathieu
Mathieu
Nyanza-Lac, Burundi
Nyanza-Lac, Burundi
Mathieu