1. We don't have power most of the day. This makes for interesting times when we have to go to the airport in the middle of the night. We go to bed, setting our iPad alarm to wake us at 1:00 am, for example. Then I have to put on make-up and comb my hair by the light of our i-pad screen or a tiny flashlight. Traffic is extremely light, which is good. Usually we have to stop at 2 police blockades on the way. So far, we just smile and wave, and they let us through. The night sky here is glorious. No light from the city, and we see a totally different set of constellations, including the Southern Cross.
2. Water is not a constant either. When the city water is turned off for whatever reason, we have water in our storage tank which we can use. The water pressure is crappy with the storage tank water, however. We cannot drink or brush teeth with the water from the faucets, so we need to have clean water in a bottle at all times. We have a filtering system that we use to create water for us to drink. We put all fruits and veggies in a light bleach solution and then rinse them with the filtered water before eating. Dishes are also rinsed in this bleach solution.
3. When we pour out milk from one of our boxed milks, it usually comes out accompanied by chunks of varying sizes. Not very appetizing, but we try to stir it in with the liquid milk to dissolve it. Yum. Chunky milk.
4. The money here absolutely REEKS! You can smell it in your purse, in your pocket, in your hand. Now I know what they mean when they call money "filthy lucre!"
5. Sad news. Our supply of Costco chocolate chips is gone----and so is the bacon we got for Christmas. Oh, well. Only 6 months to go!
6. Every day we listen to the songs of so many birds! We love to lie awake just before dawn and listen to the birds sing. Our windows are open 24/7, so we can hear the various beautiful songs of the birds.
7. Everywhere you look there are beautiful, tropical flowers. So many varieties and each one so different from the others.
8. We also love to listen to it rain. We like to sit on our porch and listen as the rain approaches. It gets louder and louder as it gets closer and closer, almost like an oncoming freight train, and then it pours! This photo was taken at the Church one day while we were there for English lessons.
9. Sadly, the turkey gobbles no more. RIP, o, gobbler! You are missed!
10. Still no fast food restaurant in Burundi. No gas station with public restrooms either. Rats!
EMBASSY TOWN MEETING
On Tuesday evening, we went to a Town Meeting for all American citizens in Bujumbura. It was held at the ambassador's house and dealt with the ongoing political unrest and possible problems that could occur. They advised us to have extra food on hand and to make a Plan B escape plan should the airport be shut down.
The U.N. is here to try to monitor the elections, attempting to assure fair, open elections. The government does not want the U. N. here for obvious reasons. Open and honest elections are not in their best interests.
Human Rights Watch is investigating the murder of 110 armed men just north of Bujumbura, as are 2 other groups concerned with human rights violations. The belief is that the government and the police summarily executed these men after they surrendered.
The journalist who was imprisoned for saying the government was involved with the planning and murder of 3 elderly Catholic nuns here in Bujumbura was recently released on bail amid happy demonstrations supporting him.
The government has announced that any street protest, peaceful or not, will be viewed as a threat to security and will be dealt with accordingly. This in anticipation of the announcement of whether or not the president is going to try to run for a third term, contrary to the Constitution of Burundi.
No one knows what is going to happen. ( Shortage of crystal balls.) Hopefully, the president will step down willingly and let democracy progress. That is a hard concept in Africa.