a memorial to a group of 75 students who were burned alive in a building during the country's 15 year civil war/genocide; people walking, walking, walking; bicyclists transporting goods from town to town in an effort to sell them and make a living;
and the tree that marks the geographical center of Burundi, planted by Belgian colonialists nearly 100 years ago.
The orphanage, which though quite beautiful, is rather remote and primitive with the only electricity coming from a generator for a couple of hours every evening and the only water available needing to be carried by hand up from a well at the bottom of a hill. Once I had gotten out of the vehicle at the compound, about 2 dozen very lovely children greeted me with hugs, handshakes, shy smiles, and well-rehearsed English phrases, "Hello. My name is_______. What is your name? How are you?" Even though there was no oral communication between the kids and me beyond these phrases, we still laughed and played together for hours. On Friday evening they all ate together in one of the 4 homes currently on the grounds and then spent about an hour singing, dancing, praying, and thanking Jesus for blessings.
Because there will be several trips to Gitega during the next few months since the plan currently is for me to help develop an English curriculum for their school, I'll save more details for another post. As one last note that will make my father very proud, however, I need to announce that for the first time in my life I milked a cow. For those of you who've never done it, it really is much more difficult than it looks, but a couple of the children gave me pointers until I finally succeeded in getting some milk and could retire without shame.
Yesterday, I took my first of what will be many trips to the Youth For Christ orphanage in Gitega. Getting there involved spending two hours riding east up into the mountains on a winding road in a Land Cruiser. The scenery included trees of many varieties - banana, coffee, pine; one little river that actually is a tributary of the Nile; many tiny villages;