We consider it a miracle. About a week ago, we had Aloys call and get us an appointment with the chief of the Senate and the honorable Senatorice we had met with a few weeks ago when Pres. Mc Mullin was here. We wanted to ask them about having the schools pay 10% of the cost for building latrines at the schools. The church has changed its policy due to the fact that many water projects we have spent so much time and money on, are not being maintained. They feel that if the beneficiaries invest in the project, not just with work, but also with money, they will feel more ownership. Everywhere we went we were told, “Oh, they will never do that, they don’t have the money.” We had planned to build latrines at schools where there are two or three thousand students and either NO latrine, or just a few stalls; but the church turned us down because of this new requirement. We talked to the Chief of the Senate and the Senatorice and felt about the same response –“No, the government won’t pay it, the commune leaders do that, but these communes are very impoverished.”
We were beginning to turn our attention to other ways to help when the Senatorice called and asked us to meet with her on Friday and visit a few schools. So, we went. She had another Senatorice go with us, and they had arranged for us to meet commune leaders and school officials wherever we went. They all said, “Oh yes, all funders ask for this. See that clinic over there? We paid 10% of that, we can do it for this.” That changed everything. Now we are encouraged that the project can be approved.
The Honorable Senatorice wanted to take us for Mukeke. It is a favorite of all Burundians, a fish caught in Lake Tanganyika, it is usually served whole. We had enjoyed it twice before but not like this. When it was served as we sat on the beach of the lake under a thatched roof, there were no forks. Both of them, Aloys and the Senatorice assured us it was better eaten with our fingers.
The waiter provided a pitcher of water and basin and poured water over our hands so we were prepared. It is good to eat it that way so you can feel the bones so you won't eat them. We stopped at the tail and head, but they ate all but bones and eye balls.
The pitcher after the meal was full of warm water and a bar of soap about as big as a half dollar was sitting in the basin for use.
We took her home. She was very proud of her home and it looked like she had good reason. Her children came to the gate and waved at us. She is one of 54 elected senators who serve the country.
As we left we were amazed again to see the cows with the huge horns meandering down the street looking like they knew where they were going and no one paying any attention to them.
This was a very rich ethnic adventure.
We did have some adventures. There are so many ditches throughout the city, next to the road with steep walls and no curbing at all. While backing out to turn around, our left rear tire found one of them. It was so deep that the right front tire lifted off the ground. Thankfully the ever-present manpower who are completely unafraid and so willing to help just lifted it up and we were out. 10,000 BIF gladly paid was warmly received. Maybe that’s why they build those ditches, so Muzungus (moo- zoon goo)(white man) like us will back into them and pay to get out. 10,000 is about $6.66.
Three great benefits -- 1) They learn to sew and get to practice, 2) Humanitarian pays for the fabric and sewing machines and 3) Children have a doll to cheer their days.
They are working hard and making good progress.
The little girl's mother is the President of the Relief Society in Branch 2.
It reminds us of the scaffolding in Romania. I especially like the ramp leading up and down.
I loved this scene in primary as the President taught about 20 children with hers sleeping tied on her back. She maintained discipline, read the scriptures and the baby slept on.