Visits to halls and congregations
Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
30Trip End Mar 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hotel Dolce Vita Resort
Mo´se and Nathan arrived just before 8:30 and we got in the car and started north. The roads out of Bujumbura had not improved since my last visit, and I the road north to Cibitoke has gotten even worse than it was.
We slalomed around potholes, accelerated briskly and felt the brakes applied suddenly – sometimes for no obvious reason and I tried to adjust to East-African driving, which does not take into account either the comfort or the preferences of passengers.
I gave advice to Mo´se as he drove, and sometimes he took it and sometimes he didn’t. No lack of respect was intended on either side.
We passed the usual unusual sites (that’s not an oxymoron here) on the road: amazing piles of paraphernalia on the heads of women walking on the road, bicycles holding precarious towers of jerry cans or greenery or wood or sacks of vegetables or other undecipherable masses, sometimes even other bicycles.
We arrived in Buseruko, in the township of Mugina, at 10:00 to meet the church members and have a modified church service, even though it was Monday.
The melodies were recognizable, but there were variations too. It’s probably the best we can do for the time being.
Then I was invited to speak. I gave greetings which they very much appreciated. When I told them that my wife and sent her greetings, wished she could be with me and hoped to come in the future, they broke out into spontaneous applause. I passed along greeting from other African countries and the US and others too. The response was very happy and excited.
Afterwards we took photos and then lunch was served to those of us who had travelled: rice, beans, cabbage, potatoes, half a chicken (for the 3 of us), a hot-spicy sauce, and a Fanta. I skipped the chicken, and mostly ate rice and beans and then sparingly. They need it much more than I do, and I’ve found it’s best for me not to eat too heartily off the beaten track. After lunch we waved our goodbyes to everyone and drove farther out into the bush to Rusiba, which is way up on a rural mountain top. Mo´se and Nathan wanted to show me the church hall under construction. The road up was truly horrible, but at least it was dry. I’m been stuck here before!
We parked and then walked up a steep hillside for 15 minutes to reach the hall. I was happy to see how far along they were. It’s done in sun-dried mud brick, thick with clay. This can last a long time with proper maintenance and that’s always the challenge in Africa. It still needs more finishing work (shutters and doors for example) and some more funds supplied to do it, but it will hold as is until we can get things moving for them down the road a ways.
There was a group of local ladies and children waiting. The men were working in the fields (it’s planting time). We made a few formal comments of greeting, sang some hymns together and I gave my news and announcements. Their small chorale sang about the story of Samson and the joy of the coming wedding supper of the Lamb. We again took photos before leaving. It was a short visit, but it allowed me to see the progress on the hall, and to show, simply by my coming, that the larger group was still supporting them and interested in them. It means a very great deal to have a visitor, even one who is spread very thinly and can’t stay long.
We drove on toward our third meeting, this time in Masango. It took about 30 minutes to drive and then another 20 minutes to walk to this site. We walked uphill through bush and bamboo forest and crossed a narrow plank footbridge over a stream fairly far below (imagine walking the plank in rural Africa…).
We drove the same bad road back to Bujumbura, passing some gorgeous contryside along the way: mountains and fields of grain and rice.
We heard from Mr. Mundeli that he was well on his way from Kigali, so we expect him to be ready to go with us tomorrow back north for a day of leadership seminars north of Cibitoke.