We got a kind e-mail from a friend saying that the pictures on the blog are beautiful, but what is really going on behind the scenes, how are WE doing?
The short answer to that is that we’re doing well. We like it here.
Ella told us that she had decided she was going to like Burundi the first night we arrived in Buja, Biniyam made his love clear two days later when we arrived in Kibuye and he ran from room to room declaring his love for each item he found in our house. Mekdes has just been hard to keep back, at 7:30 in the morning she is ready to get outside and play. Greg has had a different experience than the rest of us, jumping into work at the hospital the day after arriving in Kibuye. It wasn’t until later that week that I went on a tour of the hospital, a “child friendly” tour, and was overwhelmed by the in-your-face reality that this is an impoverished nation. I’m amazed that he gets up each day and enters that world, beyond our bamboo fence, and overall he likes what he’s doing. Me, I came to Burundi with very low expectations. I thought bugs would be everywhere, I though toilet paper would have to go into the trash (as it does in other African and Asian countries that we’ve visited), I figured we’d mostly be living out of our bins and that we wouldn’t taste cheese for the next 9 months. My low expectations served me well, because I was elated when I found out toilet paper can be flushed! I’m still amazed at the lack of bugs in our house, and the lack of concern about bugs that the other missionaries seem to have. I was so excited that we can buy cheese at the store only 1/2 hour away from us (all the rice, beans and veggies we eat are so much better with cheese!) and I really like our house. Our house is definitely quirky, but there are ample hutches and shelves for us to unpack our six bins of belongings and feel at home. During our first week here the other families hosted us for dinner each night, the meals they made were delicious and gave me hope that with some creativity we can eat well with the limited ingredients available. We also found out that because we are at a high elevation, there are no poisonous snakes here, the mosquitos are few (but we still take malaria prophylaxis) and it’s not muggy. We’ve actually been cold more often than too hot, since I’m not a lover of heat, this is a good a thing.
There are developed nation conveniences that we miss, consistent electricity- it seems to be off here more often than on, and always seems to go out during dinner. We miss the ease of jumping on the internet as it is not only very slow here, but our MB usage is limited because of the high cost. And the convenience I miss the most is the ability to just run to the grocery store and the ease of getting food.
It goes without saying (yet I’ll say it anyway) that we also miss time with our friends and family back home. We love hearing what you’ve been up to, so please keep those comments, questions and e-mails coming.