Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Month End

Another month has come and gone.  July was a full month for me, and I tried my best to document the high notes along the way.  But this is a summary of July's movements:
  • I traveled to Uganda for the first Amahoro Institute.  There I met up with friends from the States, friends from Kampala and some new friends from Kampala.  The time was joyful, spirited, challenging and enriching.  One particular good thing for me... english speaking country, no translation necessary!
  • Once back in Burundi, we hosted the second Amahoro Institute here in Bujumbura.  Since it is a French speaking country, Claude took the lead.  Another friend from the States traveled to participate in this time of conversation.  This friend came bearing gifts, and I am thankful for the reading material to keep me fueled up for the rest of the summer!
  • Then on the heels of one conversation I sprang into another. I flew to South Africa for the third (and final) Amahoro Institute.  This was a bit more of a stretch for me, as my flight path took me through Ethiopia...  Yes, and I had to spend the night there alone.  I was a bit frayed by the experience, and shed a few tears that first night while in transit, alone in a small guest room in the middle of an unfamiliar city.  But, with several delays and such, I did make it to Cape Town after 30+ hours in transit!  I was in constant awe of the stunning beauty of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.  I was among dear friends from start to finish (including a friend who flew from Geneva to be part of the fun).  The conversation was wonderful, with such honesty from the start.  And then there was some sight seeing - downtown Cape Town, Robben Island and other aspects of the city.  I can say that Cape Town was the most amazing place I have ever been, seriously.  I will return again, and encourage you to consider a trip to South Africa!
  • We continue to work with our Batwa friends.  We now have an NGO officially registered in Burundi.  It is called Community for Burundi, and is in partnership with our friends in TX.  We are still looking for the right land for the community development project.  But things with the committee are moving forward as we learn to work together and trust one another's intentions.  We are with some amazing leaders who love their people.
  • We attended a Batwa wedding of 153 couples - which is a huge step for the Batwa in both official recognition and reclaiming the marriage tradition.  They were so excited and we were honored to be part of the celebration.
  • We have a new house mate... Christy Jones joined us earlier in the month and is working on the Batwa project as well as assisting another NGO on the side.  She will be in Bujumbura for 9 months... a long haul!
  • Grace is flying home this week, and we will miss her sweet presence in our home.  She is returning to attend ASU.  But Africa agrees with her, and I have a feeling she will travel back here in seasons to come.  We have a few more days with her... and we plan to savor them!
  • Justin now tells me he know french very well... because he has been attending a french-speaking school all month.  I think he has his papa's linguistic abilities!  Emma's hearing aid has not been working consistently, so gaining a new language has not been for her this tie around.  But she remains joyful, unflappable and spirited as ever.  The kids squeal with delight when they see Uncle Cadeau come in the morning, when they see Senge Leonie come at the end of the day, when Senge Anna greets them after school and when Erique opens the big gate...Claude says this is not typical for Burundian kids!  But I love their excitement - their life is full of friends and family who care for them and give them reason to shout with joy!
  • Claude celebrated another birthday with quite a birthday bash!  Joseph cooked the most amazing feast ever.  There was music, dancing, laughing and jokes in different languages.
Well, it was a busy month when you put it all together like that!  It was full and good and now you know why I want to rest!  But since this is our last month here, I don't see rest as a huge family priority!

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