Monday, April 30, 2012

The Wrong Baptist Church

Wow do I have a story for you. Yesterday I was invited by some visitors from the states to see the Hope Africa University choir present a song at a local Baptist church. They told me that the bus was leaving from the school at 8am. That’s all the information I received because I didn’t think I was going to join. This morning when I woke up I thought, I think I will go.
I didn’t see the point in paying for a bus and traveling all the way across town if the church was in town. (I would take two buses to get to the university and then travel with them on a bus back). Three unanswered text messages and a generous lift into town I found myself scrambling for my next move. Fortunately Jonas answered his phone. I was to get on the Garden Nor bus and ask for the Free Baptist Church. How hard could that be? I quickly found the bus and explained, in my best Kirundi mind you, that I had no idea where the church was and needed someone to tell me where to get off. After a very confusing ride ending up very close to the university itself I was told, “muzungo get off” in emphasis but with more Kirundi and pointing. They pointed me in the opposite direction than I thought would be the church. But I faithfully traveled down their path. Worst case scenario I attend a different church today. I came up to the Baptist church after a ten minute walk down the road. The people seemed puzzled but again in my best Kirundi I asked if this was the church where the university choir was coming; all were in agreement with me. I was in the right place. The choir was practicing and the women were hurrying around as they prepared for the service.
As the time crept on I wondered if I was in the right location. Finally another call from Jonas, “I’m at the church, are you coming?” I said. He asked me which church, I passed the phone to the pastor, he could explain. The pastor passed me the phone and grabbed me by the hand. In Burundi holding hands is a sign of friendship. This wasn’t a friendship hand hold, I felt like a confused child being lead by an adult to the location I was to go.
We got to the road and waited for the bus. The bus arrived just two minutes later. Jonas, sitting in the front seat leaned out of the packed bus and told me to get on. At last my question was answered; I was in the wrong church. After a 15 minute bus ride we arrived at the right Baptist church and had a wonderful three hour service, sodas and speeches were shared afterwards then a short bus ride back to Hope for a much desired plate of rice and beans.

Can't Find Food

Now doesn’t that make a girl feel good? No not really.
I’ve been in Burundi long enough to know when something is a compliment even when it doesn’t sound to my American ears like one. Today I was informed by an older Papa from Congo that I was small. I didn’t know if he was speaking of the time I had been spending on the Hope campus was small or if my physical body was getting smaller. He clarified quite clearly for me. “You look like someone who can’t find food.” Thanks papa. In Africa having enough food to eat and gaining weight is a good thing. If I didn’t know better in my American eyes I would have taken this as a compliment that I was loosing weight, but my time here and they way papa explained it to me…I was…papa sure knows what to say to make a girl feel good… or not

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Ice Cream Shop

The new ice cream shop in town!!! So good.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Feast (fast food style)

So my Easter eating turned out to be pretty good. We were going to go to a restaurant but it was booked with a family celebrating. So in the confusion we found ourselves in town right near a place known for burgers. (I had my doubts)
We ordered two cheese burgers to go (not normal in Burundi, the burgers or getting something to go).
The result was an amazing feast to close out a pretty great Easter :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paska Nziza

Very interesting service at church today for our Easter Service. We sang What a Friend We Have in Jesus to end the service. What about Christ Arose or Up from the Grave He Arose? I guess Lord I Lift your Name on High will have to do for the resurrection message. It's a good one. They changed the beat and some of the notes, and added a call and response portion to it. It makes it familiar but still very African.

Now waiting for a lunch of cafeteria rice and beans with friends :) not very eastery :)

Pray for me I've been sick for a week now, tested negative for malaria. Just tired and weak with a runny nose.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Elementary School

I am volunteering at a private Christian British elementary school in the first grade. The boy I came to work with has been placed into this school with my support. He has settled so well into the class that it has freed me up to help the school as a whole. It’s been a joy to work with fellow Christians who care about education and the next generation.
It took two months and lots of help but now the 3,000 volume library of children’s books is now organized and every book is labeled. I have ten 6th grade library helpers who I have assigned shelves to. I am also showing the teachers how to supplement their curriculum with books about the topic.
I was able to lead one of the weekly assemblies for the 3rd-6th graders. I acted out the gospel from the perspective of Peter’s little sister watching Jesus’ life. There were four 6th graders who came up to me afterwards and wanted to know how to make Jesus their best friend forever. Very exciting. From this I have been asked to lead a Christian Union (club) for the 5th and 6th graders once a week. There were so many that responded that the club will run 6 groups of 10 students each running 3 different days a week. The club will be question driven and the questions the students have turned in already are exciting me.
Right now we are on Spring Break for two weeks.

Mexican Fiesta in Burundi

Living on the other side of town from my old home has been hard to keep in contact with my old friends. Moving into this new place has been so nice. I was able to have an “open house”. I invited 6 of my closes friends (they also brought other friends that also knew me) and had them over for Mexican appetizers. These poor east Africans’ had no idea what to expect when I said Mexican food but they were pleasantly surprised. “Those mashed beans were great!” Referring to the refried beans. “The maze chapattis were great with the mango, pineapple stuff” Referring to the home made corn tortilla chips and mango salsa. The guacamole was the only thing left at the end of the day. They like their avocados whole.
While some of us were cooking away in the kitchen others were enjoying Uno and Frisbee on the lawn.
It was a great use of a Saturday.


I have decided to attend the same church I attended the last time I was here. It is so nice to know what to expect and not be a visitor when at church. I am now able to sit where I like, don’t have to introduce myself every Sunday and enjoy songs I know and can sing along with.
Getting to church is difficult though. I am now living on the opposite side of town. It takes 2 buses and about an hour to get to church. It’s a good thing the bus rides only cost 25 cents. So transportation to and from church is only a dollar.

Teaching at Hope

Against what I was originally told I have been asked to teach a course at Hope Africa University. I am teaching Language Development EDU 321 to four men who would like to become special education teachers. I taught EDU 321 back in 2010 when I was here before. Since it was one of the first courses I taught I have now made some changes to the course and we have already taken one field trip to see education in action.

Here in Burundi especially for teachers the resources are limited. I am taking this opportunity to teach these students how easy it is for them to create their own resources. They will be making reading books in the local language for their class. I’m very excited to see what they come up with.

I have moved again

It seems that since I was 18 years old I have moved every 3-6 months. Well living in Burundi has been no exception. Jan to March I was living with a family in their “mother in law apartment”. Mid March I was relocated to compound with a daycare, bakery, clinic, and guest house. I feel like I’m back in the dorms. I have a square room with a bed, table, two chairs, night stand, fan and book shelf. I walk outside and down the hall to a bathroom with shower that is set up locker room style. Around the daycare on the other side of the property is the kitchen I am allowed to use which is a fully functional bakery and kitchen for the daycare. There is a covered area for hosting parties too.
The grounds are lovely, tall mango, avocado and ox heart trees, green grass, cement pathways, and mornings filled with the sound of weaver birds, small parrots, and a beautiful white and black hawk of some sort.
The best part would be my 45second commute to school. My home is now only two gates down from the elementary school.