Much to our great surprise, some pretty decent food can be found in Bujumbura, Burundi. Each time we've worked in or near Bujumbura while on mission with e3 partners, we usually eat a couple of meals at The Ubuntu Residence - they have a beautiful restaurant called The Kiboko Grill. We usually begin with a round of Coca Colas or Fruto (passion fruit juice) and a couple of plates of samosas, which are like little meat turnovers. Then we order wood-fired pizza. The margarita pizza is just good old cheese pizza on a thin crust. The napolitan pizza has chunks of salami on a thin crust with cheese. At the end of a long day of bumpy roads in crowded buses, evangelism, preaching, singing, hanging out with the crowds and the translators and the pastors, nothing could be better than this meal, served outdoors under the inky night sky with Lake Tanganyika just a few steps away.
By Tuesday night we were ready for a round of Cokes & pizza. So we piled into the van and Manuel drove us to The Kiboko Grill. En route to the restaurant, Dan and Herve started telling stories about the hippos that graze along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Herve confirmed that there used to be a lot more hippos but they were scared away by the war. Lake Tanganyika also used to boast a 22 ft long crocodile named Gustave! FYI, Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water.
When we arrived at the Ubuntu Residence we entered the courtyard of the restaurant. We suddenly were blinded by flashbulbs from paparazzi. There was a long receiving line of formally-dressed dignitaries lining the sidewalk leading to the lawn. I hopped off the sidewalk and took a short-cut to a table. Dan and the others went right through the receiving line, shaking hands and being greeted cordially by these well-dressed men and women. Evidently, they were there to receive quite a few dignitaries and got some bonus handshakes from a few scruffy missionaries as well! We were told that they were part of a Congolese delegation to Burundi and were there to celebrate the Congolese Independence Day.
While driving back to our hotel, David Mitchell decided to shine his flashlight on the tall grasses along the road, hoping to spot a hippo. He was instantly rewarded with two glowing, yellow, close-set eyes looking up at the sudden light. We could make out the outline of a massive hippo standing there, calmly grazing on a lush feast. We made Manuel turn the van around and go back so we could stare and marvel at this magnificent creature. Herve said it was powerful enough to charge the van and destroy it and us if it wanted to. We tried to capture it on camera but there wasn't enough light from the moon and we didn't dare get any closer to it. Although I'm not an animal lover, I have to admit, it was a pretty amazing sight to see