Are there typhoons in Rwanda?
Yesterday, we left Rwanda amidst thunder and lightning, the worst wind and rain. Water seeping in under the windows and doors. The power went out (all the more fun for playing cards in!). And, of course, flights were delayed. But it was alright because that gave more time for playing cards! Our team has really been quite special, but we just lost some star players- Videographer Craig (and the only other team member who wasn’t over the really old age of 40) and his culturally savvy sidekick, Leigh. They are already missed terribly!
Hello, Lake Tanganyika!
We’re at elevation 770m- significantly lower than Kigali, Rwanda at 1600m. It is the longest freshwater lake in the world at nearly 700km and the second deepest at over 1400m (making the deepest point well below sea level. Crazy!). Super biologically diverse, we’re all hoping for more hippo sightings, to eat lots of the freshest fish, to walk it’s lovely beaches and spot some crocodiles! Ok, perhaps some of us are too old to be excited about that ;)
The remaining team of 5 is staying at Hotel Club du lac Tanganyika. Kelly says it’s considered a 4 star hotel… I’m not sure what the cockroachy bugs that accompanied us to dinner would have to say about that.
Most of you know me well enough to know that is not my style, but the food here is absolutely fabulous (completely my style!)! The lake is just outside our room. The mountains are absolutely gorgeous. We were greeted by a lovely baby gecko when we checked into our room. The moon bid us goodnight over the lake last night. This morning, awoken by the lovely tropical bird noises. Grabbed a mango from under the tree on the way to the breakfast buffet.
We just finished a meeting with Florentine. He is Burundian. Studied finance and theology. Married. Has a baby boy. Left the promise of a successful career in America behind several years ago. Came back to Burundi because he knew he had to be present to make a difference. Now, he is involved with a women’s cooperative- they make the soap which is used here every day. Their goal is to earn enough in one day for the family to be able to eat. His goal is to help with microfinancing. Saving some of the money they earn each day so they can invest in tools for making better soap. Soap that smells nice. Soap they could sell to people who have money, generating more money. More money means more food, more security, more opportunity.
Flo is a very smart, very interesting, very funny man who will be our tour guide/chauffeur/friendly liaison for our team while we are in Burundi and our first stop this afternoon is to visit these women. I have many photos I want to share, but the internet has gotten bogged down since the first one finished. Good thing it’s the most important one I’ve taken so far- dinner.
But I know none of you really want to see photos of plants and flowers and birds and mountains and fancy hotels and the team. That would just be silly!
Speaking of silly- fresh mangoes are horrible [for getting fibers stuck between your teeth]!