The week before Christmas we had the chance to return to Kibuye, for the first time since we moved in August 2021.

We went back for me to teach the Hospital management class that all the medical students take, so I also got the chance to remember if I could still speak any French.

  • Was it weird being back?
  • Did it feel normal?
  • Did it seem like we had been gone a long time?
  • Did it feel like we just left yesterday?
  • Did we want to move back?
  • Were we glad we moved on?

to all of the above…. ‘yes’

It was amazing to be back in so many ways. We got to have lunch in our old house, which was great. It looked pretty much the same – only better. In fact, they have already done so many of the improvements we never got around to doing, and the place looks great.

Susan – where she often was – in the middle of the feeding program Mamas

We got to have a pizza party with the team, just like we used to – but it was strange not being the person next to the oven, shoveling dozens of pizzas in and out, and sweating from the 700° heat blowing at you while you do so.

On one hand, it was shocking to see new buildings, new water systems, and new people on the team

But then there were so many familiar faces, old friends, and people we used to work with. Some people heard we were back and went way out of their way to see us. Others we just happened to bump into – and the surprise on their faces was priceless.

Alma had felt left out that she was too young to ‘really’ learn to ride a motorbike when we left in 2021, so she got to resolve that.

For sure one of the highlights for Susan was the fact that we showed up the day before the annual Christmas giveaway for the mama’s at the feeding program. They all lined up to get their bag of beans, rice, and soap – and instead of them just getting handed the bag – Susan was able to visit, or at least greet every single one of the hundreds of them.

Alma got to visit her old pal Sparky the Goat (see here for more of that story)

We got to visit dear, dear friends – people who we still think of so often – and honestly, it’s sometimes hard to realize we do life without them.

We also realized just how incredibly beautiful Burundi is. The colors of the green banana trees, the red soil…it’s almost like someone edited the colors and just turned the saturation up past what is normal.

It was great to be back – to remember what we were able to be part of there, to see the work there carrying on in amazing ways, and just to have that sense of being ‘home’ you get when visiting a place where you spent significant time (in quality – if not also in quantity)

Luckily no one took the motorbike boots I used to use. (and also lucky there was duct tape to keep them on)

*I”‘m pretty sure that’s Kirundi for ‘we went back’ or ‘we came back’ -whatever. Almost none of you know –so let’s just say I’m right.


Feel free to comment….