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.