Widespread poverty has prevented the Burundians from celebrating Easter Sunday in style, the most important holiday on the Christian calendar that marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Most people met in shops and marketplaces in the east African country’s capital Bujumbura said their limited budget has ruled out buying meat and refreshments — food items that people buy on special occasions such as Easter.
"Life has become too hard. It is difficult to get money because there is no business. Before, we could buy some kilograms of meat and celebrate. But now we just go to pray, and if we get potatoes, we thank God. That’s all," Clovis Nizigiyimana, a cell-phone airtime seller said.
Sellers of food items also said that fewer clients bought food items like meat because it is expensive.
"A kilogram of boneless meat is 8,500 Burundi francs (5 U.S. dollars). We used to have clients at special days like Easter, Christmas or New Year, but this time very few are coming to buy meat," said Francois Niyibigira, who sells meat at Bujumbura Grocery Store.
Philippe Baragunzwa, a secondary school teacher said that he is unable to celebrate Easter because he has used up his entire monthly salary.
"There is no special meal or drinks planned for Easter. We are going to eat what we usually take. We will eat rice and beans. There’s no money. The political and economic situation Burundi is facing these days is bad," he said.
Leonie Niyonzima, an accountant working for a private company said that he will not celebrate as he has to pay hospital fees for his family members.
Over 80 percent of Burundians are Christians while some 20 percent are Muslims.
Burundi has been facing a political and economic crisis following the controversial third term bid of President Pierre Nkurunziza in April 2015.