It always feels a bit surreal to be half way around the world in places that are so familiar. I have been to Bujumbura, Burundi more times than I can recount, traversing often during my journeys o eastern DRCongo.
This time around it is after a full three years, which feels like forever and nothing at the same time. The excellent opportunity that I have which is coming back after 4.5 years to help develop the next phase of a nutrition and agriculture project. I was here back in the beginning of working in the region contemplating the program design, and here we are again years later. Interestingly enough, there is one other woman that overlaps, now based in Buj. We are literally in the same room, discussing similar issues, but with a great deal more knowledge about the communities we are working in,
Since my first time here I have worked on the development of similar projects in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe and find it enriching to consider the questions of how to create positive change within households and communities.
It is also very hard work. After getting to hotel at midnight on Sunday, we have been going non stop from 8-6. Last night I managed to get half way through my notes from the first day when I found myself falling asleep while trying to type. Adding French to the mix makes my brain start to hurt, not to mention jet lag. So when it comes to a quiet dinner by myself at one of my favorite restaurants in Buj, I am grateful for it.
Tonight I am at a place right next to Lake Tanganyika, an Italian restaurant called Restaurante Comedian. I tried to find it last night and ended up next door at Imbuntu, with a lovely beef brochettes, only to realize as we left that I did know where it was. The place now has a nice open air awning, what used to be simply outdoor seating. If my memory serves me correctly, it was referred to my Italian Country Director when asking another Italian in Buja where to find good pizza.
I am going with the pasta tonight, and they were out of the small (I.e. normal sized beer) so we will go with the standard African size of 65 cl (or close to a 40 in American terms). There is already a termite swimming in my beer (yes, I can even identify my bugs here), just like the mosquito struggling in my tea this afternoon.
I can’t say that I have the same reaction when I find worms in my fruit over breakfast the next morning. I see the first two as I swallow the first half in spoonful, I think that luckily they are both in tact, so I see to have been spared. The I find a full one wriggling in the second spoonful and opt to go without that half, trying not to think of the first, but suddenly very thirsty for some water.
Welcome, back, to Africa!
P.S. I was in Buj last week, but this didn’t manage to get posted with my connection. I’m in Nairobi now and will update more this week.