Yesterday we drove all day to get to the National Reserve forest of Burundi.
Dan Brose, who was a missionary in the area for 8 years hadn’t even ventured to the park… which was my first clue that we were on to an adventure.
We were the first ever to make it in a Matatu (cheap little van with bald tires).
The park was breathtaking… untouched land of hills, trees, fields and rivers.
We didn’t see the hippos or crocodiles, but Dan, Seth (a WR videographer), Beth and I did get off on a wrong trail (we learned later that it is a trail used by poachers). The grass was over 10 feet tall and so dense that we had to walk with our hands pushing it away in front of ourselves.
On the way home we stopped to eat at the home of Duncan (a missionary from the UK that helps with agriculture in that region). Duncan, who has the coolest British accent, told us the reason that the whole village was swarming outside the buildings where we were eating is because, “this is the largest number of Muzungu’s (white people) in this region since before ’93 (when the war in Burundi broke out).” He went on to say that our presence there was the event of the decade.
I asked if there are other visitors or tourists who make it to the National Forest Reserve and Duncan smiled and said, “No.” Dan then added that our trip then officially declares that “the park is open again.”
We made it back after dark (not good because of rebels and carjackings), and had a sound sleep in Gitega after our full day of Dan Brose led adventures.
This morning I went with the Brose’s to visit a compound with a medical facility and watched an entire intestinal surgery… I mean one foot away!! It was a crazy experience, taught me a lot about 3rd world medicine and was much more realistic than Grey’s Anatomy!!
We’re back in Bujumbura (the capital) now and Kim is complaining about drinking too much water and helping me figure out how to spell “Bujumbura”. (She’s also intermittently sarcastic which means that she is doing great :)
John & Lori are on the front porch dancing around (they’ve only been married for 6 months so that should explain it…) Ben just left for the airport for his flight to Kigali, Rwanda. He was supposed to leave yesterday evening, but the flight got cancelled.
Beth has found her match in Seth the WR videographer and is having a blast getting video footage and talking about video projects.
The Brose’s and I spent the drive back this morning figuring out how to sell the “Amani Ya Juu” clothing at Antioch that the women she used to work with make. We also brainstormed the future of Antioch missions, goals for the joint project between WR and Antioch, plans for the upcoming school of missions at Antioch (big thing happening that I’ll be sharing a lot about real soon), the art coffee house idea (we can get Burundi coffee and sell the clothing as part of it!!) and how we can network with other churches in Oregon around common vision. Our theme quote is what Reagan said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit!”
There are some amazing things happening and I can’t wait to start talking about it!!