Arrival in Burundi
Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
32Trip End Apr 29, 2012
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My flight took off at 06:00. I had a window seat so I had a good view of the misty mountains of Rwanda and Burundi during the 25 minutes flight. Entry formalities went quickly so I was able to quickly rejoin Jim Franks along with Moise and Nathan, our two local leaders in Burundi, who were all waiting in the arrival area. We greeted each other and headed out to the car for the drive into town. We arrived at the hotel Botanika, and were happy to be able to check in right away and get our rooms even though it was early in the morning.
We decided then to show Jim what there is to see around Bujumbura, which to be honest isn’t very much. This was the one day we would have any free time and it also gave us time to spend with Moise and Nathan to allow everyone to get to know each other. Jim was interested to see the bustling streets of Bujumbura with all the single story shops, which is a little like going back in time in some ways. Kigali used to be like this, but has progressed so much in the last 15 years that there is no comparison any longer.
We drove to the Bujumbura zoo and cultural center. Two French-speaking college students were on duty to show visitors around. The zoo is a forlorn affair: a lonely monkey and chimp in separate cages, several crocodiles of different ages and sizes in their tanks, a snake house with a collection of cobras, vipers, a boomslang (the venom makes you bleed to death on the inside), all in glass tanks where the glass is alarmingly cracked.
Also on display is a cage of gerbils waiting to be fed to the snakes, and rabbits which will be a meal for the crocs I suppose. Of course they have to eat, and they’re carnivorous, but prominently displaying the cute furry future dinners did not enhance the visit.
We then visited a wood carving shop where Moise presented Jim and me with small tableaux done in various colored woods, depicting scenes of African life.
Hippos spend their days in rivers or lakes, where they feel safe, coming out at dusk to graze on huge quantities of grasses during the night. They are actually the most deadly of African
By the time we finished we were a little muddy and very sweaty. We thanked Bosco and drove back into Bujumbura, along the lake shore and back to the hotel for lunch. Over lunch we discussed the history of the church group here in Burundi, what has been accomplished so far, present needs and hopes and plans for the future.
Then Moise and Nathan left to complete preparations for the next few days. Jim and I rested a little in the afternoon and worked on office work both for the work we have here and other general responsibilities we have.
We need to get caught up on as many things as possible today because the next few days will be extremely full. Tomorrow we will head up north to Cibitoke province for a day of leadership training seminars with local church leaders.