When we arrived at our hotel in Karusi, we started assigning rooms and roommates. We had 27 people on the team who were ready to settle in to their rooms.
Right away I noticed about 4 dozen chickens walking around innocently near the kitchen. Let’s just say that every day we had an omelet (w/hot-pink salami) for breakfast and grilled chicken (too tough for a knife to cut thru) for dinner each night. Oh, except for the night we had goat, aka, “the night I cried when I looked at my plate.” I couldn’t imagine eating a goat – on my first trip to
The hotel was somewhat primitive. Dan informed me that it was brand new - in fact it was still under construction when Dan and Auzelio visited there in April! I guess materials and skilled labor are hard to come by in Burundi. There was a small Honda generator which provided power from sundown (about 6:30pm) to around 10:30pm or whenever the World Cup game was over. Surprisingly, they had a beautiful, new, flat screen TV in the dining room (higher priority than mosquito nets – we had to bring our own).
The rooms were pretty tiny - just a bed, small table & chair, pegs on the wall. We were very grateful for indoor plumbing and running water, although the water supply was limited so everyone had to take short showers. There was only one valve in the shower – cold water – very cold. That cold water actually felt pretty good after a long day of walking around on dirt roads in the tropical sun. There was very little water pressure. Not enough for me to wash my hair for 5 days. Don’t even ask. Notice the bright turquoise hat in almost every photo of me. The toilets had thin, useless toilet seats. They cracked and broke into pieces as soon as you sat down.
Dan’s parents duct-taped theirs together and tried to tape it to the toilet bowl. The next day the hotel staff removed it completely and they had no seat at all. Just the bowl. Yippee! Every day when we returned at the end of the day, we noticed small improvements to our rooms – by the end of the week we had a toilet paper holder on the wall, a curtain on the bathroom window and a mirror hanging above the sink. This was probably because Dan paid daily for the rooms – influx of cash = upgrades!
The hotel staff did their best to accommodate our big group. It must be incredibly difficult to cook meals over an open fire for a large group of people – it had to have been dark when they started making breakfast and dark when they finished washing the last dish after dinner. I never got a picture of the outdoor kitchen. I can only imagine…no electricity, no hot water, chickens running around everywhere! Our translators quickly built a rapport with the staff and ended up sharing the Gospel with most of them. I started noticing the dining room staff was joining us for our team meetings, devotionals, prayer and worship times. Several of them prayed to receive Christ as Savior. We gave Bibles to all who needed one. On the day we left, the lead dining room gal (far right in the photo) saw me in the hallway, pressed her hand to her heart, raised her fingers to her lips then extended a kiss and a wave to me. I was extremely touched by this gesture. She agreed to attend the new church we planted near the hotel.