Arrival in Burundi

Trip Start Sep 06, 2012
Trip End Oct 09, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Burundi  , Bujumbura Mairie,
Thursday, September 13, 2012

This morning after a good night's sleep I was up in time for a Chez Lando’s breakfast buffet, which has really improved over the years. It used to be a rather haphazard affair, now it’s of the kind one finds in nicer hotels catering to safari tourists in Kenya. Of course there are improved safari destinations now in Rwanda: the Akagera National Park, similar to a Kenyan or Tanzanian reserve, the Volcanoes National Park where the gorillas can be visited, and Nyungwe National Park where one can track and encounter chimpanzees. For such a small country, Rwanda is fortunate to have a great deal to offer, and more and more people are coming.

I caught the hotel shuttle to the airport, arriving at 8:00 for my 9:50 flight. Formalities went smoothly, and the Kenya Airways flight left on time. The plane was one of their new Embraers, smaller than the 737s they used to rely on almost solely.

It’s a very short flight to Bujumbura, so we arrived about half an hour after we took off. The only interesting thing that happened on arrival was that the immigration agent turned to the wrong page in my passport and looked at my Congolese visa instead of the Burundian, he was about to stamp the passport, when he paused and stared carefully at the visa. I figured he realized his mistake. But after looking at the visa closely, he stamped my passport anyway and waved me through. Had I known, I could have saved myself $90….

Moise was waiting to meet me and drove me to the hotel in the center of Bujumbura. Nothing appeared to have changed. Nathan was not with him because his older brother is quite ill, apparently with the effects of diabetes, and may have to have a foot amputated. Nathan was with him at the hospital.

I talked with Moise for a while at the hotel and then he went to see Nathan, and we agreed that we would all meet later in the afternoon.

It was lunchtime by then. The Botanika has an excellent French-style restaurant at lower African prices. It’s a favorite in Bujumbura among the expatriate crowd; eating here is a pleasure.

I caught up on more office work in the afternoon, around 4:00 Moise and Nathan came by and we caught up on all the news and finalized plans for the next few days. Mr. Mundeli would arrive later in the evening. We plan a 07:30 departure tomorrow morning for a day of leadership seminars in Cibitoke province, in our hall in Massango. It’s the rainy season; a light rain fell during the day, and we’ll have a bit of a hike to get to the Massango hall, so I’ll have to dress accordingly.
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Tess Washington on

Mr. Meekr, good that you got some more sleep and happy, satisfying meals! It seems that your trip is coming along smoothly! May it continue to be this way. We'll keep you, Moise, nathan and his brother in our prayers!

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