Day 10 – Back Home

Saturday/Sunday February 23/24 2019

On Friday night we had gone to look for Hippos at a local viewing spot.  We didn’t see any, however we took advantage of the sunset to take some photos of Doug, Deanna and the children

as well as a picture of our team.

The first thing we did on Saturday morning, was to pack our bags in preparation for leaving to go back home.  We had been invited to a cafe for breakfast on Saturday morning, so we headed to the cafe.   Unfortunately we had to go back to the Swedish Mission shortly after we had left because I had forgotten my phone there.   When we got to the cafe, I had to order my usual cappuccino.

After a breakfast of cappuccinos, lattes and croissants, we drove to a private park along the beach on lake Tanganyika to debrief from all of the activities of the week.

Following the debriefing, we drove to a public park nearby, where we met the members of Grace Community Church, which is led by pastor Eric.

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The church was having a picnic on the beach.   They were playing soccer,  swimming  and visiting when we got there.   Doug and Andrew introduced several of the members to a frisbee, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Some of the members introduced Michele to a clapping game, which was a challenging game of co-ordination and timing.   They seemed to be having a lot of fun.

At 2 pm, we all ate a full course meal prepared by the members, before leaving for the airport at 3 pm and leaving for Addis Ababa at 5 pm.

We arrived in Addis Ababa at 9:30 pm ( with a 1 hour time change ) and we had a short delay before we left for Dublin at 11 pm.   We arrived in Dublin at 4:15 am ( 7:15 am Addis Ababa time ), just over 8 hours after we left Ethiopia.

We only stopped for an hour in Dublin to refuel and we weren’t allowed to get off of the plane.    When the plane had been fueled, we headed to Toronto for a 6.5 hour flight to Toronto.

We arrived at 7:20 am on Sunday morning and were met by Chuck Wiens at the airport, who drove us back to Virgil where we arrived at 9:30 am, glad to be back home again.

Day 9 – Ngozi to Bujumbura

Friday, February 22, 2019

It was a warm,  slightly overcast, morning at the hotel.   There was a beautiful view of the lush gardens with its many tropical plants next to the dining area.

We ate breakfast at the hotel, before heading to a ‘Discipling for Development’ meeting in a local building.   The ‘D for D’ program, was set up by pastor Eric to train leaders in the church so that they could go out and share the gospel and support each other.

We arrived at the meeting at 10 am.

When we entered the building,  they were singing a hymn.

After the hymn, introductions were made and a few of the members shared their testimonies.   For example, one was a lady who been in a wheelchair and spent many years begging.   With the help of people from the church, she can walk, she farms, she sells the produce and she disciples other people she comes in contact with.   One gentlemen, had to live on the street when his mother died and ended up getting involved with drugs.    Through the guidance and assistance of church members, he has turned his life around and now he counsels other kids.

The stories were all very moving.  After the testimonies, the pastor prayed for our team and then Jeff gave them some words of encouragement.

Doug prayed for the members of the church before we left and then we got back into the van and headed back to Bujumbura.   The drive took a little longer than expected.     The road was closed for some time and we were ordered to pull over  until the Burundian president and his military entourage drove by.   After he passed by, we were allowed to continue.  After a few short stops along the way we finally arrived back at the Swedish Mission by mid-afternoon.

As soon as we got to the Mission, we checked into our rooms and then Doug took Jeff, Michele, Andrew, Gisela and Rachel for some shopping at the market.  When they returned, we all drove to a local spot on the lake where occasionally hippos can be seen.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have any luck so we preceded to a restaurant for supper, after which we returned to the Swiss Mission to pack and get some sleep before the long journey back home.

The map below shows the routes we had taken as we travelled around Burundi.

Tomorrow we plan to visit a get-together with pastor Eric’s church before heading to the airport at 3 pm for our flight at 5 pm ( 10 am EST ).   We have a ~2 hour flight to Addis Ababa, followed by a 2 hour layover, then a 7 hour flight to Dublin, Ireland for a short stop before continuing to Toronto on another 7 hour flight.   We are scheduled to arrive in Toronto around 8 am Sunday morning.