This trip to Burundi has been life-changing in so many ways. Over 1 million people living in Bujumbura, the capital. It is literally overflowing with people of all ages. The city itself is a juxtaposition of Biblical living conditions and big-city influence. It is surreal when you step off the paved road to a deeply rutted, muddy road, lined with kiosks which look similar to American outhouses - slats of wood nailed together into a tiny, weather-beaten building from which wares are sold or public telephones are housed. Goats and chickens, people dressed in African garb, barefoot, filthy, ragged orphans, school children in uniforms, businessmen carrying cell phones, all walk together down the roads, dodging motorbikes, carts loaded with produce, bicycle taxis and armed soldiers dressed in blue, carrying AK47's. The crowds can be overwhelming. There is a very earthy smell - you sort of get used to it - actually, you sort of start smelling the same way - so it's manageable while you're here, although it makes your toes curl up when you get off the plane and smell it!
We boarded a series of flights, beginning at 1pm on Saturday in Bujumbura, Burundi. Flew thru Nairobi, Kenya. Then on to London. We're in Chicago right now, waiting for our final flight to Phoenix. There is snow on the ground outside, but the airport is uncomfortably warm. I just sent Dan out to hunt and gather. I'm ready for an ice-cold venti iced tea lemonade from sbux.
While waiting in the airport in Kenya, Dan and I found a relatively quiet spot to sit and rest. I was so tired - physically and emotionally - I felt like crying and sleeping at the same time. But I didn't. We ate "pizza" and drank coca cola. Relived a few comical moments on the trip. Dreamed about future visits. Africa gets under your skin. It's so multi-sensory there. Back home we go back to safe and sanitary and orderly with lots of personal space. But lying awake at night, Africa calls you back. The faces and hearts of the people are unforgettable. The passion of the worship shakes you up - makes you wonder why we even bother to have "singing-time" in our church services.