Friday, April 30, 2010

Teacher, I don’t understand the word safety.

Last night I dreamt that Stephanie and I were leaving the Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp. We drove for a while and had to use flashlights to shine down on the bumpy road looking for muddy potholes (this is probably because last night we were walking and using flashlights to avoid the muddy potholes). We made it to our destination and Haydn (a friend who isn’t on the trip) was there with us. We were sitting on couches under two skylights. We were just talking when we heard fireworks. Looking through the skylights we couldn’t see any fireworks. Then I woke up and realized that the noise wasn’t fireworks at all. It was an automatic gun firing very close to campus. Hearing gunfire in the night is a common occurrence (once a week or so) but tonight it was close. After a little while of silence the firing started again but a little farther away this time. As I lay there in the silence I remembered what my students asked in class just a few hours before, “explain the word safety, I don’t understand it.” For a war ravaged country whose people know at least 4 languages the word safety in English doesn’t come up often enough to know it’s meaning, I guess. It was difficult for me to explain the concept of safety having peace and comfort, knowing that everything is ok. I couldn’t figure it out. Was my explanation not good enough? Now I know, I forgot how they live, I forgot to explain the word in a cultural context.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of frogs. I guess they felt it was safe and could begin their noisy chorus again. Then after a while the dogs began to bark, I then heard the sound of footsteps on the gravel road below my window. The music again began to blast through the speakers, just because it’s 3 am doesn’t mean that the party has to stop. With the normal lullaby of music blasting, I fell back to sleep.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Traditional Outfit

So we had some tradtional outfits made!!!

Holding a Baby!!!

I have been told by a Burundian mother that when she is at church she can’t walk 3 steps without someone taking her baby. She told me that this is honoring. Today was my day. In front of me at church was a woman with her two children, girl about 4 months old, boy probably 2. All service these 2 were looking at us and I would play with them, as much as you can when you are trying to listen to the sermon which is being translated into English from French. After service I asked the woman if I could hold her baby. She, as I expected, lifted her child up and put her in my arms. The little girl was shocked but a few bounces and pats on the back put her at ease.
The next service was beginning so I passed back the girl and chatted with a few friends. One was a student from Stephanie’s fluency class. He told me he would translate for me in the next service (Kirundi, Swahili service). I was all in. I followed him in and guess who we were sitting behind again. I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if I could hold her baby again. Oh it was great. Singing songs and holding a tired baby, who fell asleep almost right away. The only drawback was the fact that the extra heat from her made me so, I mean SOOOOOOO sweaty!!! I must have lost at least 8 oz of liquid from the sweat. Then it rained. I’m realizing that right before the rain it is so hot!!! Hmmmm I think I’m getting it.
After church the 4 of us had a great conversation about life!!! I love those conversations that are packed with “what if” or “would you” questions that really matter.

Buke, buke (slowly, slowly)

After a great night of pizza, good conversation, and hanging out with the four of us I went to bed refreshed. I’m not sure if it is the pent up emotion that is now coming out because I can chat with people back home whenever I want or the fact that I had a great night with friends but I woke up very sad. I was longing to go home. I was longing for an easier life, longing for conversations that are real, like the one I had the night before. Bitter tears streamed down my face as I began my day. I was frustrated with the fact that I am powerless over my situation, I represent the university at all times; I have to work within, not only my cultural norms but the university norms. I’m pretty sure that back home I would always break cultural norms so being on my best behavior all the time is wearing on me. Praise the Lord for unlimited internet. I had my first real skype date with my sister. Thanks for being up Sarah. It was amazing! Being able to talk to her in real time. I turned it on and she could tell I was crying. She said, “What’s wrong.” She didn’t have any answers; she was just there to listen. It’s what I needed. I told her about the boy who was beaten and other frustrations. Thanks God for a great sister.
Then Steph and I had a good time conversing about things.
Then the phone rang. It was time to go to the beach with friends, the four of us again. In 4 weeks it will be down to three. Then 2 more weeks and it will be just 2. Then in 2 months it will be just Stephanie and I. I’m not looking forward to my friends leaving.
There was a big political rally going on and so the bus route was changed and it took forever on both the first bus and the second bus. It was great to see different areas of town I haven’t seen before from the “comfort” of the hot bus.
When we got to the place at the beach it was filled with people! Normally there are a few groups of people speaking French but today there were tons! I even heard an English word now and then. We brought books to read and were just going to relax. It wasn’t long before my eyes were wondering from my book looking for something else to do besides read. I saw a Frisbee. I live on a college campus and there are no Frisbees here. What was I thinking not bringing one. It would be the perfect evening activity with the students. I collected my courage, along with some help from Stephanie and Brandon, and I walked down to the two who were playing with it. I asked where they got the Frisbee or if they brought it. The man said, “you want to play”. Oh ya!!! He then said that it wasn’t his. (I’m speaking to someone in English and it’s great. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, friends?) The girl brought it from home. So much for the hope of purchasing one for myself in town.
You must remember that including Canadians there are only 70 registered Americans living here in Burundi. So for me to happen to be chatting with 2 Americans is very unusual. And very exciting!
They had been playing for a while and were done. I went back to my book. Then a volleyball game was starting. This took less encouragement from the peanut gallery. Again I was playing and chatting in English! You don’t realize how important your mother tongue is until you are deprived of it for 3 months. Now I do chat between the four of us in English but to meet random strangers and be able to have a conversation that I don’t have to work to understand is just great! In the middle of the game while waiting for a serve I noticed something. I was on a beach volleyball court and I was the only one with a shirt on. I was not only playing sports and wearing pants, 2 things that are taboo for women here but I was doing these things with a group of 11 men who not wearing shirts. (remember beach volley ball in hot sticky Buja). There was a man who was walking on the beach and stopped to take a picture of us playing. I just thought, there goes your reputation Rachel. I didn’t care; in my culture it’s all ok. And I was playing with a bunch of white guys from my culture. It was great to joke around about the game.
On our way home the bus didn’t come so we began to walk. A woman we met at the US embassy thing was driving by. They stopped and offered us a ride. It was great. I'm making friends, my friend, say it with me, friends. As they say in Burundi, slowly slowly.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dealing with Reality Together

You have heard me say that crying is not acceptable in this culture, today I couldn’t help it.
I told my students today that something shook me up. I began to cry. I picked up my Bible and told them that when things shake me up I run to the scripture. I told them about Jesus’ last words to Peter in John 21:22 “Follow me”. I told them about how this is my life goal, to follow Jesus with everything I do. I then asked, what is that that we are following? What is the example? I began thumbing through John. Story after story we saw that Jesus cared for those that were on the outside of society. The woman at the well, the blind man, the woman caught in adultery, and many others.
I then asked them to write for 15min answering the question, why do you want to teach special education. I told them that I would also write. After the 15min I asked for 2-3 volunteers to share. All of them wanted to share. I was touched by their responses; I will have to give you some quotes of what was said in my next blog post.
After listening to all their wonderful papers I got up to speak.
I began to read my paper.
When in town I always see people begging for money. They are children who are as young as five years old. Some are teenage boys sitting with their twisted legs and feet under them. Some wander from bus to bus putting out a crippled hand asking for money. Some are blind with a guide leading them perhaps to the next 100 FBU (about 10 cents).
Today I saw a boy, about 8 years old. (This is where I began to cry. The thought of what I was going to share. It was still so real in my thoughts. Lambert raised his hand. He said, “You need to be strong. We need to understand everything you have to. We know it is important for us to hear.” I said, “ok, be strong.” I continued) He was missing his hands and feet. I could tell that this was a birth defect. He was in the arms of a man, about 20. He was carrying him somewhere. His left hand was holding the child on his hip. In his right hand he had a piece of rope. The child was crying as the man hit him repeatedly with a rope. The boy’s cries rang in my ears. I wanted to get out and tell him to stop, to take the boy away. But many things stood in my way. I was in the back of a crowded bus, I don’t speak the language, I don’t know the reason the boy was being beaten, and what would I do with the boy. Where would I take him? Instead I sat on the bus and began to cry. I know that crying isn’t something that happens very often here but I couldn’t help myself. The tears only got worse when I exited the bus. There was nothing I could do for this boy.
I don’t like feeling powerless. Even in the US my eyes fill with tears when I see those with special needs not being cared for in the best way.
I am here at Hope Africa University to do just that, give hope. My 11 students will take the knowledge of care and passion to help to the schools. They will care for those who right now don’t have hope. I am making a difference with my time here because I have faith in my 11 students. They are facing African realities.
After I had finished reading my students thanked me for having faith in them and also for being here.
I then encouraged them to keep following Jesus, caring for people not cared for.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Too Much vs So Much

The students here have real trouble differentiating between the use of the phrases "too much" and "so much". This is such a big issue that Stephanie is, as I type, teaching these phrases in her English class. Tonight I was the recipient of a classic example that I thought I would share with you.
A Burundian, who I met last week came up to me tonight and began chatting with me. We talked about what we were up to tonight. I told him I was on a walk just chatting with people. His response, "I can see you love people too much." Now translated his comment is really sweet. He said that he has been watching me and noticed that I care about people.
Good thing I can differentiate between the real meaning of their too much, so much comments.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What have you really been up to Rachel?

So I realized that I haven’t updated you lately about what I’m actually doing here. The posts are more fun and frivolity related. Well…
I was asked by the chapel worship team to teach them English songs. It’s a great opportunity to not only to spend time with students but also to put more songs than just Lord I lift your name on high and Awesome God into their song selection.
Went to a soccer game on Saturday hoping to show the students that I care about them. It was great to see students going out of their way to greet the group of us. It was a great time. Some students that didn't come up to me during the game have come up to me since then just to say hi. It's great.
My two courses have now finished mid-terms. It is a relief to get that over with but also it was a great time to realize what I still need to teach. I’m relooking at the syllabus and making some changes for the future. Assessment is a great tool to find out where to go next.
I am attending Bible Group, which is like Campus Crusade but a European form and solely student lead. It’s great to spend time with students and hear their passion for the Lord.
Sunday I was cornered by the Superintendant. He asked me now for the 3rd time to help with the service. I thought about this and told him that I was willing to preach one Sunday and then he told me that he was putting me on the schedule to lead the service as well. Leading is like being the MC, they're very formal here and everything needs to be introduced before and commented on after. I’m not sure how well I will do seeing that I’m not very fancy at all! He promised that it would all be scripted. I’m thinking it will just be a brief outline, I’ll let you know which Sunday to pray for me.
I’ve been asked by a number of students to tutor them in English. I’m not good at it. I try to explain this to them but they are persistent. Although they soon learn that I’m not being humble, I’m just not good at it. I’ve already had 2 quit on me. Another one asked for my help today. He is very good at English and wants to just discuss topics that he brings. I think I’ll do better at conversational English. He is also from a different university here in Buja so this will be a good opportunity to reach out into the community more.
Today a student that I have gotten to know asked me to help him select a book to read for his English class. I went to the library with him and began perusing the shelf for a novel that was at his level and was short enough that he wouldn’t be discouraged. For not being a reader myself I was surprised at how many books and authors I knew. I felt like an expert selecting books and telling him about them. I then gave him some tips about how to read through a book that is too difficult (I’ve had lots of practice at that). It was great to be working with a student on study skills.
I’ve had this idea about doing a homework help session. I was thinking about sitting in a classroom and allowing students to drop in and ask questions about their homework. Then I was thinking once a month I could give a little “how to” lecture on different study skills for college level. Here are some of the topics I’m thinking about: How to read a textbook, how to study for a test, how to take notes in class, how to write an essay or college paper, how to write a resume, and help I feel too busy. These are things that I know that people in college everywhere struggle with. I know that my students have complained about these topics as well. I just think that this is a need that I might be able to help. Just a thought that is buzzing around in my head, we will see if it goes anywhere.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unlimited Internet (to an extent)

So it's official. We have unlimited internet at our apartment!!! This means that we don't have to pack up our computers in backpacks, wait in the sun for a bus, sit squished on a bus sweating all the way to town, make our way down the street to our favorite coffee shop, find a seat next to a plug in (which can be difficult), pay for an expensive cup of coffee and hope the power doesn't go out and stop the internet, and cart ourselves all the way back to home again.
But don't get too excited. This does mean that we get to be on as long as we want to but we have to be on as long as possible because of slow upload and download speeds. It is nice though to read something, think it's intersting, walk to the other room, tell Stephanie about it, have a good laugh, and then return. The whole time not feeling guilty about wasting time on the internet.
This also changes things. Instead of writing blogs on a word doc and waiting till I make my way to the coffee shop to upload all of them I will be able to put them online in real time. This will mean that I won't be posting 5-10 posts at a time. That will hopefully be as good for you as it is for me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Want to send a package to me?

Many of you have been asking about sending me a package. I would love that. (Don't feel that you have to though. Letters, emails, prayers, comments on my blog, and comments on facebook are great!!!) If you are wanting to send a package my suggestion is to use a flat rate box so that you don’t get charged by weight.

Hope Africa University
c/o Rachel Jacobs
BP 238
Bujumbura, Burundi

Here are a list of things that would be wonderful to receive.
Hand written notes
Photos of you and home
Random reading material that you think is interesting
Crossword puzzles
Sudoku puzzles
rice crispys
Jiffy cornbread mix
pudding mix
rice a roni
chicken bullion
cheese itz or gold fish crackers
lemonade drink mix
gram crackers
soda crackers (saltines)
Peanut butter M&M’s
Twix bars (fun size is great)
Something related to the season at home or holiday.
And anything else you can think of that would make Stephanie and me smile and laugh.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rainy Day

Now don’t get me wrong it rains in Buja all the time but today it rained. The rain normally comes for 5-15 minutes really strong and then it is back to sunshine and hot, humid weather. But today was different. It began to rain. Stephanie and I didn’t change our plans to go to town because we “knew” the rain would stop. I told Steph I was ready to go and she said, “it’s raining.” I looked out the window, stratus clouds filled the sky. It was like I was back in Seattle, a nice, gray, dripping blanket covered the sky. I put on my raincoat and told her I was ready. I had to find an umbrella because a rain coat for hot, sticky Buja wasn’t on Stephanie’s packing list. I wonder why. We wondered out and all the students stared at me. Who is this crazy white girl that is out in the rain without an umbrella? I have not seen one raincoat in my whole time here. It doesn’t help that my coat is bright blue. I love this coat and I love the rain. Before we exited campus I noticed a huge puddle that was screaming, “Jump in me. It will be soooooo much fun!” I was so upset that I was on my way to town and needed to keep my clothing dry. We exited campus and started down the road. The first thing I noticed was the 5 foot wide river that was rushing down the road. Stephanie noticed that there was no one was on the road! This is very strange. We walked about 2 blocks and saw some children and a few men who joined us on the deserted road.
I’m so glad that it isn’t rainy and cold all the time in Buja. One of the girls that was on the street, about 6 years old, only had on a woman’s button up blouse. When I was in town I saw someone selling children’s clothing and I wanted to buy her a shirt and a skirt but I doubt I will see her again. It makes me sad when I look around and see that some people here don’t even have clothing to wear. We continued down to the bus. When we got into town there were fewer people than normal. Stephanie and I decided that if it rains all morning again we will have to travel to town. It’s nice not having to dodge people as much.
So there might not have been many people downtown but there was one woman that we won’t forget. I stopped at a basket full of tangerines to tell Stephanie that they look better than the ones I bought 2 days prior and Stephanie said, “Rachel watch out.” I looked to my left and saw a woman and felt her arm wrap around my waist. I grabbed her wrist and threw her arm off of me. I turned to watch her walk off but she didn’t, she then wrapped her arm around Stephanie’s waist. Now last I checked I don’t keep anything around my waist. Perhaps her reach might have done her more good if she would have gone for a pocket or for a purse or the big package that I was holding but she did look quite drunk. We are not sure if she was or if that was her cover but come on lady I think I would be a better pick pocket and I’ve never tried it before.

Rollercoaster of emotions

It’s hard being a long termer. I thought it would be easier being somewhere for a longer time because I would get to know people and feel stable. But the truth is my heart is ripped out every time a short term person has to leave. I got a call from an American friend today. She is working 2 hours from me here in Burundi. She informed me that she was leaving for America in a week on Wednesday. It took everything within me not to burst out in tears on the phone. I hate it that people have to leave. I remember back to one of my first memories I was probably 3 or 4. We were leaving church. Dad and I had just dropped off mom for choir practice. I remember crying so much. I have always hated leaving no matter how long it is for. This happens with people going to America but also people who are leaving Buja to go to other parts of Burundi or to go to their home in a neighboring country. But I have to put things into perspective I would rather be here in Buja (the capital city) where people come for the airport and to shop than to be in a far off location where no one ever comes. I guess the saying, better to love and lost than to not love at all, is true. I’ll take friends when I can get them but that doesn’t make them leaving any easier.

The package saga

Today I went to the post office for the third time this week. This time I walked out with something more than disappointment. Two weeks ago I received a half sheet of paper from the post office saying that I had a package that was waiting for me because it was deficient funds. I was told that after I pay the initial fee they will most likely ask for more money. Then when I finally get the package it will already be riffled through and the good stuff will all be gone. The advice giver told me that it was probably a lost cause and not worth the time and money. Well I didn’t listen to that advice!
The next morning I was going to go and get the package but I couldn’t find the receipt. So I searched for it. It was hopeless. I went through everything in my room and I don’t have that much stuff! Or that big of a place for things to hide for that matter. The next day I went to the post office without the slip hoping that they would give me the package anyways. I walked in alone. I asked the $100 question, “Do you speak English?” Why do I even ask it they always shake their head no or tell me that they don’t? Most of the time when they tell me they don’t it really means, “I don’t speak it well, but I can get by.” This woman was very nice, as most Burundians I’ve met. She responded, “Not very well.” This was great news! She explained that if it was a big package it was down the road. I was pretty sure that it was a big package. She apologized that it was closed today and I would have to come back later. Then she gave me directions but then in good Burundian fashion she told me that I should come back to her office and she would take me to the place tomorrow. Would that happen in Seattle?
So try #1 down.
The next time I went to the right location. She couldn’t find my name in the book so she told me that I would have to have the paper. Such sad news! Try #2 super disappointing.
I was in my room two nights ago. I was searching for the paper. I really wanted that package. Stephanie came in and offered to help look for it. As I handed her a huge stack of paper I said, “Thanks. I’ve looked through this 3 times but you looking though it won’t hurt.” After she was done with the stack she leaned over and the rolled up poster paper I recently put under my bed caught her eye. She with, a glint in her eye said, “Did you look under the bed?” I told her that I just put the posters down there. She was persistent. She brought out a half sheet of paper. I grabbed it and looked closely at it. I couldn’t believe it! I shouted, “YES!” Then I did a little dance, ok it wasn’t a little dance, it was more of a big dance. 
The next morning I walked into the office. Try #3. It was a different woman this time. She began writing in her book and a man brought out the package. It was beautiful, crushed corner and very dirty yet unopened! My heart leaped. She then asked me for identification! What! Isn’t this Africa. I doubted I needed ID. I don’t like to take anything of value that I don’t need to town. I was so close. I had to walk away and leave my precious package from a dear friend behind. I imagine it’s like when people leave their dog when they go on vacation. I was so sad.
Thursdays and Fridays I don’t like to go to town because I teach class at 2:15 both days. But I couldn’t let my package just sit there all weekend. So, today, Thursday April 15, 2010 I decided to go to town. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I was going to bring home what I was going for. It seemed like a waste of 500FBU to take the bus there and back but then I reminded myself that that is only 50 cents and I could pay 50 cents more for this package. Stephanie went with and we stopped at a few dress shops along the way. We are searching for a plain black skirt. It’s amazing how many skirts with patterns we brought. That isn’t the problem; we brought shirts with patterns too. Now the Burundians might wear one pattern on top and a different on bottom and that is fine for them but Stephanie and I have issues with that. We just can’t bring ourselves to do that. So after a few shops we made our way to the post office. I have been there so many times that the old woman I wrote about in the last blog post knows me now. She didn’t ask me for anything today. She initiated hearty, “Miliwe” with a huge smile. That was nice. Maybe there is a reason I had to make so many trips to the post office. This being trip #4 I walked in like I knew the place, because I do. The woman from trip #2 was there to help me this time. I lifted up my slip and said, “I have it this time.” She smiled. I signed the paperwork and she handed me the package. I paid what I owed and walked out. No need for ID grrrr. But I had the package in my possession and I didn’t care. It was raining all morning, which is unusual. So I hid the package under my raincoat. Thanks Kevin! We went to a few more shops as soon as we got home we opened it. It was wonderful!!! A hand written note, pictures of my friends, a newspaper, some magazines, gum, Easter candy, a St. Patrick’s Day napkin (who cares if the holidays have already past, we don’t), crackers, beef jerky, and more amazing things. The package was filled to the max. It was great!!! Not just the stuff but the fact that my friends went to the effort to put it all together. I know they were thinking and praying for me not just while packing but whenever they we wondering if I had received it yet. To know that I being thought of and prayed for is more of a gift than anything! Thanks friends

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I saw the small child running to me out of the corner of my eye as I was waiting for the bus. He stopped a few feet away from me put out his hand an in a whiny voice began to speak to me. There is no language barrier when begging, it's very clear. I turned to him and lifted my sunglasses so he could see my eyes. Smiled and said, in my best Kirundi, "Miliwe". I stretched out my hand to shake his. His faced changed to a smile. He stretched out his right hand for mine and with his left, in good Burundian fashion, grabbed his right forearm as a sign of respect. I bent down and asked him how he was, but he didn't respond. I think it was too much for him that I was speaking Kirundi to him. I stood up and he ran off.
Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give to you...miliwe.
It's amazing how a simple miliwe will brighten up a face. On my way out of campus I meet all sorts of people some sitting under a tree, others leaning against a wall, some on their way somewhere but most enjoying themselves. When they see me walking their curiosity gets the best of them and they begin to stare. I meet their gaze, smile and say, "miliwe". There are a few different responses I get from this. There is the pause and after I pass them they burst out in laughter and say, "that mzungu just spoke in Kirundi". I think that is one of my favorites, I probably should be afended by that but, I'm not. There is the response from those that seem to assume that everyone knows kirundi. They say miliwe in response and keep on going. My ultimate favorite is when they say miliwe back and then ask me how I am. I then respond and their smile widens. There was the teenage boy that passed me the other day that was looking quite stoic. I said miliwe to him and he just kept walking. He was looking at me but not a muscle on his face moved. This is a rare response.
My favorite was the old woman begging at the post office today. I walked by her. Her hand was outstretched and she began to beg. I looked at her and smiled and said, "miliwe" Her worried forehead lightened and a smile lit up her face. She put her hand down and said, "miliwe neza" (afternoon, good). That was enough for her.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Counting in Burundi

When I first arrived I began counting things that I saw. Some things were too numerous that now I have forgotten all about them. Here are the ones that I remember. The hippo count is up to 5. I have used 1 stick of deodorant. And men peeing on the side of the street is too numerous to count.

Pickpocketed Today

I was pickpocketed today. I was walking along by myself and a boy in front of me bent down and grabbed something off the ground. I ran into him and then realized that someone was reaching into my bag behind me. I rolled away from the boy in front of me putting my backpack far from the boy behind me. I thought that I was fast enough and so I walked all the way across the street before I checked my bag. The front zipper was unzipped. Suckers! I only had travel Kleenex packs there and they didn’t want them. Nothing for them today. Do they think I’m stupid?

Lonely again

So I think Stephanie and I have figured it out. We are feeling lonely because our friend base is 3 people. We were looking at Jesus’ example and he had 12 and then 3 of those were close friends. Currently I have 3 friends and one of them qualifies in the close category. Please pray for friends!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The more I travel around Africa the more I realize how much I love belonging to one place. It was great to have the adventure of a $12 bus ride across the boarder into Rwanda, finding a guest house before the sun set which was $6 per night, and wondering around the city for the weekend, but it’s good to be back in Buja where things are familiar.
It was an amazing Easter weekend. Stephanie and I had one goal, relax. We strolled around the city being tourists. It was great to have the freedom to just look and shop. Kigali is more developed than Buja and so we kept asking ourselves, “where are we?”
We connected with a friend who is living there and she took us to her workplace. It is a house for 20+ boys that she rescued off the streets. It was great getting to lead an Easter egg hunt. Children will be children, when allowed, no matter where you go. It was wonderful to see their faces as they raced out of the house searching in the bushes for the hidden eggs. They we so proud when they found an egg and got to present it to us in exchange for a piece of candy. After the hunt one boy took me around the back of the house and showed me the rabbits that they are raising. I asked if the rabbits were for eating and the boy proudly said yes and grabbed some grass clippings and fed them to the rabbit. I don’t think he understood so the jury is still out about the destiny of the rabbits. It was great to have one on one time with one of the boys. I was trying not to be overwhelmed by the reality that 2 years ago all these boys were on the street with no future and no hope. The fun and excitement was halted when one of the workers told us that they needed to go because it was time for church. What a great moment where the value of church was such a priority. These boys now can access that hope that they were lacking before. As we left the boys stated in their best English, “See you tomorrow.” I had to explain “Edgo jewe Burundi” (tomorrow me Burundi). They were sad to see us go but Burundi is where I belong. It’s where my ministry is. I must be faithful.

Mom, look at what I saw on campus today!

Trip to the US Embassy

We were told at the beginning of our time here that we should register at the embassy. Well in good African time frame 2 months later we finally went to register. Can I just say praise God for AC. It was wonderful! And there was a cold water cooler with great tasting water! I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting but it was just a small entry way with windows to chat with people, like at the bank. In good American fashion we filled out some paperwork and were on our way. It was nice to look at magazines all in English. There was one that had cartoons in it that I actually understood. Not common with all the French papers and magazines.
Oh on our way into embassy we saw a Chevy! I know a Chevy in Burundi. We were shocked too. Dad I thought you would be proud an American purchasing an American vehicle.

It's good to be back

Walking to chapel I saw people staring at me. I mentioned it to Stephanie. She said that it was no different than before we left, we were just used to it. During the songs in chapel I leaned over to Stephanie with a smile on my face, “it’s good to be back, foreign songs I know”, I said. She agreed.
I’m surprised at how many students and faculty noticed that we were gone. Even the barista asked me where I had gone. (now that’s bad)

Leaving New Friends

I was not expecting it to be hard to leave retreat being that I didn’t know anyone going into it. It was almost as hard as leaving the US, but this time I knew what I was going back to. It was amazing as we got closer to Buja…I got excited. The man next to me on the plane, a Kenyan, told me that he could see in my eyes that I was excited to be back. It was true. This place, Bujumbura, is no longer foreign to me. I knew where to go in the airport. When driving back to campus I knew where I was and the roads I was traveling on. I thought that from now on I will never be a stranger to Bujumbura again. We stopped on the way to pick up groceries and were back to our apartment. It felt good to come back. To enter a place that was familiar.
Because Stephanie and I were tired from the flight and had eaten so much the whole time we were in Kenya we decided to just have popcorn and watch Pride and Prejudice to end our day.

What really happened in Kenya

Waiting in the airport

I decided early on that we were going to be friends so we had to take a bff pic over looking the Great Riff Valley.

Giraffe will walk around the grounds of the hotel. I we on a walk and they were just chilling among the trees.

Took a walk out to the lake with some friends. Look what we found. I could have thrown a rock at them!!! (because how close they were not because I was being malicious)

Camel anyone?

What about some crocodile?

Happy family rockin’ it in Ethiopia!

Seconds on camel…it was that good! (really I’m not joking)

Good times

Could they find us a smaller plane? Every seat was filled too.