We have now been gone from our home in Bujumbura for a bit over two months now – having left the day of the failed coup on May 13th. The first week and a half we were with our team in Kibuye – upcountry in Burundi; and since then we have been staying at a mission station in south-western Rwanda. In fact – as of now – we have been living at the mission station here in Kibogora for longer than we were actually in our own house in Bujumbura. Sad – but true.
Rwanda has treated us well. The place we are staying is a mid-century mission station that has a few houses that were currently not being used all the time. The people here have gone out of their way to accommodate us, move others – and THEMSELVES – into other places so that we (our family and the other two Canadian families also from Bujumbura) have had a place to stay that gives our families some sense of consistency, normalcy and being settled despite everything
We are in many ways still playing a waiting game – and join so many others who await the longer-term outcome of the presidential election that took place on Tuesday. It’s not so much the outcome of the vote that is unknown (as almost all opposition parties had boycotted the election and many foreign nations and organizations have already said they will not recognize the winner in any case) but whether the current tension will snap into wider-spread violence as many fear it will.
So far the last few weeks the reports from Bujumbura have been mostly the same – sporadic fighting, mostly contained to a few neighbourhoods in the capital, with much of it taking place at night. There was a report of an attack by an armed rebel group in northern Burundi last week – but the reports from various sources are so widely different that it’s hard to get a sense of what really happened. While it appears to have been quickly contained by the government forces – I think many people felt that the reports rolling in that afternoon were proof that a civil war of some kind was in fact beginning.
We have tried to embrace the things we are able to do being here – since the house we’re currently in has a view of Lake Kivu – it shouldn’t be surprising that we have been spending a bit of time heading down to the lake to enjoy it. There is a spot where we the kids can swim, and run around, and fish, and jump off the cliffs, and swing on a rope – and just all around enjoy the lake.
So we try to make the most of our time here. We are still homeschooling the kids in the morning – and giving them all afternoon to have free reign as they run around like a roaming pack of I don’t know what.
Hopefully soon we will have some more visibility on the medium term outlook for Burundi – and we can start to make plans to return to Bujumbura and restart our work there.