Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hidden Gems

Up until a few weeks ago, I knew almost nothing about Kigoma, Tanzania.  As the political situation in Burundi deteriorated, our team met to discuss the possible evacuation routes and it was explained that Tanzania was the closest border and that Kigoma was the nearest town with an airport.  Last week after the embassy told us to leave Burundi and we made the decision to go through Tanzania, one of the "Canadian refugees" staying at Kibuye told us that him and his family come to Kigoma for vacation and that it is their favorite place in the world.  They gave us the contact information for the missionary guesthouse where they stay and so on Sunday we ended up at Jakobsen beach in Kigoma Tanzania.  

To be honest, even as I write this blog post, I have feelings of guilt.  We are not supposed to be on vacation right now.  We are supposed to still be in Kibuye, finishing our last week there, packing our house and saying our good-byes.  But here we find ourselves, in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, as Burundi remains in a frightenly precarious situation.

Yesterday, I woke up, walked outside our room at the guesthouse and stood about 6 feet away from a family of zebras lounging about.  They did not seem alarmed at my presence in the slightest.  I then spent the next several minutes trying to decide if I should wake the kids to see this amazing site (as this almost never happens in Bellingham!) or let them sleep.  I decided to let them sleep, and thankfully the zebras were still there when they woke up, surrounded by about a dozen Vervet monkeys.  

After breakfast we went on a long walk along the shore to a hilltop hotel for lunch (and internet).  The coast along Lake Tanganyka is incredible.  Steph said she felt like she was hiking through Ireland.

This morning, Ella and I had a special Daddy-Daughter adventure (the other 2 kids opted to spend the morning swimming at the beach).  We hopped in a taxi and travelled about 20 kilometers south of here to a town called Ujiji.  Once again, I had not heard of Ujiji until recently, but it is the site where David Livingstone met Henry Stanley and exchanged those famous words "Dr. Livingstone I presume".  The story of David Livingstone's life has been a great fascination for me, and even more so after our time in Burundi.  Livingstone was a Christian missionary, physician and explorer who was ultimately searching for the source of the Nile River (which was later found to be about 30 minutes from Kibuye, Burundi).  In his search for the Nile he mapped out huge sections of Africa.  Ella and I had both read his biography, so to get to go to Ujiji was for both of us a completely unexpected treat.

Tomorrow we leave Tanzania, and Africa as well (for now).  We will be spending a week in Europe on our way home.  Our love for Africa has only grown during our time here, and we are so grateful to God who has opened the doors for us to have this time together as a family in the heart of Africa, where we now leave a big chunk of our hearts as well,

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