Thursday, March 19, 2015

     Africa is so large and so isolated it's hard to get my brain around it.  People have asked us if we are afraid of ebola, but the countries where ebola is a problem are thousands of miles away.  One missionary , upon finishing his mission, was headed back to Kinshasa, Congo, but he wanted to see his mother on the way back.  He had not seen her for several years, so he was told it would be fine to stop and see her on his way home.  He took a plane to the closest city possible, then boarded a boat that was traveling up the Congo River.  He traveled for 2 weeks on this boat in order to reach the small village where his mother lived. After his visit, he had to do the same journey in reverse---go down the Congo River for 2 weeks, and then catch a plane to Kinshasa.  The area is huge and so undeveloped.

     On March 2nd, a Monday P-day, we went on a fun day trip with the Van Wagoner's and Emery, 2nd counselor in Branch 1.  He came with us so we wouldn't get lost and so he could speak to people in Kirundi, the mother tongue of Burundi.  We left early in the morning and traveled for 3 hours to get to the Karera waterfalls.  As we rose in elevation, the air became cooler.  The countryside was green and lush as far as you could see.  We passed through one area where people are not allowed to build modern houses.  You must build the traditional round house or move away.  Kind of an historical district, I guess!

                                              This is a field of tea plants.  So green!

See the traditional round house in the background.

     We went through the province where Emery grew up, where his family still lives.  He brought 4 loaves of bread to give to his family because it is a real treat for the people in the small, rural village to have bread from Bujumbura to eat.  As we were driving through Emery's village, he showed us where he walked 5 KM (about 3 miles) to school every day.  He also had to walk home for lunch and then return to school for afternoon classes. Counting his walk home after school was over, that made 12 miles a day!  He said,  "Education here is not easy."  My question is, "What is?"

We reached the waterfalls and were given walking sticks to make the hike to the 4 different "chutes" or waterfalls.  We saw some monkeys here in the jungle.

     These monkeys are the same type we have seen here in Bujumbura.  Last Sunday on our way to Church,  we spotted a couple of them swinging through the trees near Branch 1.  We got out of the car to watch them, but  because they were moving so quickly and were partially hidden by the trees,  it was not possible to get any photos.  At least we got a couple of shots here at the falls.

 This is the first waterfall you see when you arrive.  Not the biggest one, but pretty nonetheless.  A wonderful cool mist came off the falls. which was heavenly!  Wish we could take the coolness home with us!

Going to the top or to the bottom of the waterfalls was accomplished by going up or down steep stone steps.  Our guide about dragged me up and down the stairs.  Next day I was sore!

     This is our group.  Neeley's, Van Wagoner's, and Emery.  Notice our walking sticks, which  were so helpful on our hike. This shot was taken at the mid point of the largest falls.  Karera Falls is about 135 feet, top to bottom.  It falls to this point in the photo, and then falls again from this point to the river below.  The river then winds its way through the jungle.

And last but not least, here is a real Gary pose!  Gotta love it!

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