Bujumbura is way off the beaten track. It seems more like a big village than a capital city. Even in downtown you hardly see buildings taller than a few stories. And it is seriously hot. I chose the cheaper room with no air-conditioning and have been regretting my decision ever since.
I arrived in the afternoon a couple days ago and decided to walk down to the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It’s Africa’s longest and deepest lake, holding it’s largest supply of fresh water. I found an abandoned pier that used to be some sort of market and decided to have a little adventure. I sat on the pier, watching the sun set over Lake Tanganyika with Congolese mountains barely visible in the background. This is way better than Kigali.
Burundi’s people have suffered immensely, yet their struggles are relatively unknown. Would you be able to identify Burundi on a map, let alone tell me something intelligent about its history? A civil war started by events in Rwanda ravaged the country for a decade. Hundreds of thousands of people have died or fled. Only recently has it regained its footing but still remains the poorest country in the world (According to the CIA World Factbook). I realized today that I withdrew a hundred dollars from an ATM and had in my hands what the average person would live on for the next four months. It’s a sobering reality.
Other than feeling extremely blessed and thefore humbled, the hardest part about being in Burundi is not speaking French. I try to fake my way through short conversations by saying bonjour and merci but eventually I have to admit that I don’t speak any French. And no one speaks English so we resort to hand gestures and pointing at things. There is always an adventure to be had in Africa.