Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WOI projects

On Monday and Tuesday of last week Robyn, Sophie and I accompanied our colleague Patrick upcountry to visit some of the projects of WOI. Along with the Radio station and the recording studio, WOI runs several health clinics, and has built some schools and shelters.

This is the WOI office in Ruyigi, which is on the other side of Burundi near the Tanzanian border.

WOI is working with UNHCR to construct these shelters for people who have returned to Burundi after the war.

This is one of the schools that WOI has constructed.

To the left of the students is our colleague Patrick who is overseeing the construction of the shelter project.

The Burundian countryside

Thursday, April 22, 2010

rwanda/ burundian waterfalls

Here are some pics:

I mentioned in my last post that I had taken a trip up to Rwanda the other weekend

My friend Megan (center) runs a home for street boys that is located just outside of Kigali. We got the opportunity to visit the home and meet the kids on easter sunday. The boys are all in choir so they shared a few songs with us and then we had an easter egg hunt in the backyard.

Megan, Javier, Caroline and I hitching a ride from some some french canadians to our hotel on lake Kivu.

This last weekend some friends and I took a day trip up country to visit the source of the Nile and to see some awesome waterfalls.

This is Burundi's claim to the source of the Nile. It should be noted that there are multiple countries in this region that have claims to the source. I think all the sources contribute a little.

After seeing the source of the Nile we drove on to see the waterfalls. There was a set of four falls that were just beautiful.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I realized that it has been over a month since I last posted anything. 

I'm still alive and doing fine, just plugging away. 

Work has been alright, slow going, but alright. I have a young musician, a college guy, who wants to learn all about recording. He has been in a couple times and I have been showing him some stuff. He is really into it and excited to learn, so I think we are going to make it a weekly program. My other two co-workers have a lot of other obligations and training with them hasn't been very consistent, so having this guy come in is really exciting for me. 

This last weekend I went up to Kigali with my friend Javier. We have a mutual friend, Megan, who lives up there, so we took a long weekend to visit her. It was great just to hang out and relax. It's not that we can't hang out and relax here, it's just different. In Bujumbura I'm usually home before dark (6pm) and in bed by 10 every day, but at Megan's we could just hang out talking until 1am if we wanted. It was a nice change from the routine. 

It's hard to believe that it is already April. There is a strange feeling of the year flying by but also going really slowly at the same time. For anyone curious I will be flying into PA on the 21st of July, have a few days of SALT re-entry and then I will be flying into Boise on the 27th. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Birthday weekend in Goma

This last Sunday was my b-day and I was able to spend it in Goma, DRC! Robyn has two friends (Erika and Rachel) visiting from the states. They had plans of visiting Rwanda while they were here, and I was invited to tag along. The plans of visiting Rwanda transformed into plans of visiting DRC, and before we knew it we were in Goma.
Robyn has a friend from college who lives in the area and he met us there and showed us all over the city.
Because there were four of us I didn't take many pictures, but hopefully I will get some from the other cameras and post them soon.

This is Mt Nyiragongo which erupted in 2002 and covered 1/3 of the city of Goma with lava. It's still active and at night you can see a red glow on the surrounding clouds. These pictures are from an area just outside of the city where we went to see where the lava flowed.

This trip was amazing and it was a great way to spend my birthday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Some pictures from last week:

These are the guys that have been teaching me the traditional instruments. The instrument on the left is the umuduri, the center instrument is the inanga(I labeled it wrong in an earlier post) and the one on the right is the ikembe.

The inanga was traditionally played at night. The player would also sing along, but he whisper sings. It sounds amazing, and Im sad that the internet is a little too slow to upload the video of it. The songs are in an old style of kirundi, and they have a meaning that is difficult to figure out, even for native kirundi speakers.

These are the Burundian drummers.

One of the local universities was dedicating their new building and the president of Burundi came to dedicate it. We weren't allowed to take pictures of him, but I think that the drummers are more exciting anyway.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


These are pictures from the weekendThis is a place called Gatumba near the DRC border where we ate some chicken. It is literally a bunch of huts in a field. Its a little bizarre but kind of like a picnic.

We were on our way to Gatumba and this guy thought it would be funny to take a picture of us, so I took a picture of him too.

work/life update:

This week I have accepted the fact that I have absolutely no control of what happens at work. I should have accepted this a long time ago, but I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m not going to abandon the situation, I’m going to be present and offer any assistance that is asked of me, but what I am going to do/have done is mentally let go. I can’t feel down about the situation or feel responsible in any way because I have absolutely no control of what is happening (or lack of things happening). I discussed some things with a co-worker last week, and that conversation confirmed that there are some issues in our office. My problem is that I can’t tell the difference between what is cultural and what is personality. So, I looked at the patterns of the last 5 months and factored in the cultural/personality issues that I can’t understand (and have no right messing with) and realized my choices are: letting go or going crazy. I chose the former.

I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m giving up or avoiding the situation because I’m not. I’m here, ready to work and get things done when they need me, but in the meantime I’m going to try to network and work on some of my own projects. For example: I had a meeting with a friend this week and he wants me to help his group work on some songs. They are at another studio but it fits into my schedule and he will probably end up doing some of his own songs at our studio because I’m helping him out. Also, today the guys that have been giving me some music lessons are coming into the studio for a free recording session. If they like it hopefully they will return for some more recordings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

upcountry again

I met some new friends last week. They are from Seattle (we have mutual friends) and they are now teaching at one of the universities here in Bujumbura.

We took a little weekend trip up country and stayed on an old missionary compound. We spent the weekend sharing good food and conversation, and playing some games.

On the compound there was a hospital and a place where they packaged some sort of grain/corn/flower type mixture. This man is doing the roasting.

I mentioned in the last post that I acquired some musical instruments. Here are pictures of two of them.

This is the Umuduri

This is an ikembe
I had a lesson with the ikembe on Monday, and hopefully this afternoon (wed) I will be having an umuduri lesson.

The work situation is still stationary. I'm not really sure what to do about it, but I am learning a lot of patience.