Sunday afternoon (Mothers Day), the 10 people from Uvira arrived. The day before they arrived, we had made arrangements for them to stay at a hotel in Bujumbura, rooms and meals selected. When we arrived, the man we had talked to the day before was not there. Consequently, we had the misfortune of having to deal with the hotel owner, who was a fat toad of a man. He reminded me of the inn keeper Thenardier in Les Miz. He was squeezing us for every dime he could get and was rude to our branch president as well. I've never heard a hotel owner insult his guest before, but he did. We won't be back here with any more groups.
Monday morning I woke up with butterflies in my stomach knowing I had to drive one of the trucks to the airport in order to get 10 people and luggage to the airport. I was praying for light traffic this morning, but, to my horror, traffic was backed up the worst we have seen it since we got here. We started out on our normal route, found it blocked, did a u-turn, and went another way. It, too, was blocked with traffic, and after 10 minutes of basically sitting, we did another u-turn and headed back the way we came. We went down a different street, merged with the crazy traffic and finally made it to the hotel. Then we took off for the airport. I was following Gary, with teeth clenched. We came to a roundabout and I followed him down one of the roads that came off the roundabout. We were going down a narrow road with throngs of other people when Gary suddenly realized he had taken the wrong street off the roundabout. To my horror, he pulled a u-turn in the middle of traffic, and I attempted to follow. I didn't get my turn sharp enough so I needed to back up and finish the turn. At that moment I couldn't find reverse and then the truck died. Hordes of bicyclists and motorbikes were racing around me. I had traffic stopped going both directions and was starting to sweat. Finally, cursing Gary under my breath, I located reverse and completed my turn.
At the airport, I stayed with the group while Gary remained outside. It was a long, laborious process to get the 10 members' bags checked, the carry-ons emptied of any liquids, forms filled out, and to get the through the security gate. It took about an hour and a half. The one cute lady was worked about vomiting on the flight and wondered if the meal on the plane would be fou-fou. (I think she was kidding?) Anyway, they are off to the temple for an experience of a lifetime. Here is a picture of them in front of the airport in Bujumbura.