On Saturday, we headed to a little town called Uvira which is just across the border inside the Congo. We had to cross the border between Burundi and Congo, and a border guard gave us a hard time and would not let us pass, telling us there was a problem with our car papers. There wasn't any problem with the papers---the guard just wanted us to pay him money to cross. The missionaries and he had some rather heated discussions, and then he let us go across. While waiting there, we saw a couple of UN trucks pass by and a vehicle from Oxfam. We went to Uvira to attend a meeting celebrating the birth of the Relief Society. How different than at home! The celebration consisted of a good video about temples which had to be translated into French and Swahili as it was played. The questions were good and showed the women were thinking about what was being shown. After the video, refreshments were served. Everyone was given a plastic bag that had pieces of potato , a couple of pieces of sweet fry bread, and several peanuts in the bottom of the bag. For a beverage, we chose a bottle of soda pop. I had orange Fanta. Before and after the food was served, a woman came around with a plastic bucket and a bottle of dish detergent. We washed our hands over the bucket and then she poured clean water over our hands. The singing again was strong and beautiful. A simple, gospel
On Sunday at church, we met many smiling friendly people. At least 2 of them told us stories about the war in Burundi between the Tutsis and the Hutus. One old man told us about his 12 year old son who was burned alive in his school. His wife never recovered from all that happened during the war and died about 3 yrs after her son. A young man was orphaned during the war. He was in his mother's arms when she and his father were killed. He was lying in the road beside his mother when a woman came by and took him home with her. She raised him until he was 12, at which point she died and he was orphaned again. This time he went to an orphanage where he spent the rest of his childhood. While there he met a member of the church and became converted and baptized. Now he is leaving on a mission in 2 weeks.