Friday, May 6, 2011

An African Easter

So after finding out the visa for Burundi was twice as much as I had anticipated I was just thankful that I had an extra twenty. Note: ALWAYS carry extra dollars. THis was the second time they had saved me! So of course the first thing we did was pay and they held onto our passports for a suspicious amount of time before having us go with them to cross the Burundi border to give our money to the officials there, get receipts and then cross back to the Rwanda side and write down all our information before finally giving us our passports back. Talk about inefficiency!

Anyway, after 2 hrs we had driven from North to South of Burundi and arrived in Bujumbura where I was greeted by a text from my German CSer if I wanted to go to the house or straight to the beach. What a wonderful way to be greeted! After being welcomed at her house in which I had my own bed and bathroom with hot shower!!!, we took off for the beach called BOra Bora (best) appropriately named with a really nice beach bar, volleyball, jet skis, and a lake that had waves the size of a calm ocean. It was AWESOME! She had three dogs so it was really fun to have pets again and play fetch with them. I've missed having pets so much!

THe next day she had to do some cleaning for her parents' arrival the following week and I had mentioned wanting to see Burundi music so she took me to a boys' orphanage where she used to volunteer and I watched the most amazing Burundi drumming done by middle-school orphans. Swahili was my saving grace; without it, there would have been no communication and I"m realizing how competent I am in it not to sound cocky or anything. They all used Swahili from COngo which is a bit more...diffused. There's a saying Swahili was born in Tanzania, grew up in Kenya, died in Uganda, and was buried in Congo. I added a part. It was resurrected in Burundi. Anyway, after watching them balance drums on their head and then kick their foot up to the drum (I have video clips!) I met up with another CSer who took me to meet every family member and friend and tried a new way to eat goat meet called muchopo. I'd describe it as ceviche (lime and onions) except with goat rather than fish. I then went to a Burundi bd party, but it was the wealthy Burundians that all left and went abroad during the Civil War so almost all spoke fluent English and I met a really nice French girl.
Easter was a good mix of relaxing and meeting more of this CSers friends. I attempted to go to church but it was in Kirundi and had 3000 people! I entered more than an hr late, heard one song, and then a ceremony of new members began. After an hr of hearing testimonies and not comprehending anything aside from hallelujah, I had enough and tried to go to the Catholic church. But we weren't welcomed and told we couldn't stand where we were standing so we left and the consecutive Fantas/beers began as we went from house insisting they serve us something. After greeting and drinking I don't know how many Fantas and finding excuses not to drink them (I just had one is not an exception) such as the kid coughed on it or just flat out giving it to a kid, I attempted to buy a bus ticket for the ride back to Arusha across TZ. But it was 10 hours longer than the person in Kigali said so at 11:30 PM i was searching for fares and splurged on Easter to buy a plane ticket back home via Nairobi. Little did I know we also stopped in Kigali so I was in 4 countries in 1 day! I splurged on some delicious fish brochette and a fruit smoothie and loved sitting on the beach and playing with the dogs. It was a good African easter.

The plane ride was uneventful and I got my own row so I slept the whole time. I couldn't find my TZ SIM card upon arrival and it being Easter Mon the border was not harassing people to buy them or other trinkets for that matter. Boy did a hot shower and my bed and clean clothes feel good!!!!! And now it's less than 2 months til I'm home in the USA!!

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