Friday, November 5, 2010

Usual UNusual sights in Bujumbura-Part 1

In a city of 3 million you see alot of things, sometimes too many!!  Many of them are UNusual, which in Bujumbura is very usual! Thus, this Part 1 of Usual UNusual sights!

The streets are always very full of people, that is usual! In this photo, the man is carrying half of a cow that has been skinned.  UNusual!

People carry the craziest things on their bicycles! This man is carrying hundreds of loaves of bread. UNUSUAL!
                                                     Everywhere there are herds or stray goats.  Usually there are shephard boys or children that have the responsiblity of keeping watch on their goats. Have you ever seen an obedient goat?

This is the main roundabout in the city center in Bujumbura.  This is a photos during early hours.  Normally, this is gridlocked. There are 5 streets that all come into this roundabout. Please notice that there are no street signs, no lines, no police officers and many people can and do walk between cars constantly. When you throw dozens of motorcyles in there, the main rule is, "Get There!" Most people actually walk everywhere.  The cars are usually taxi (cars) and taxi(motorcyles) and cars of the wealthier or the United Nations workers or workers at the Embassy!

 Driving up into the hills of Bujumbura, you will see many villages clustered throughout the foliage. There are also many people selling their goods. Don't have a shelf?? The road is perfect!! No one in Bujumbura accepts the U.S. Dollar, so you go to the money changer and get Burundian Francs.
The villages in the hills are very simple. No real comforts. Because of the humidity, it is usually cooler to live outside, except when it rains. The roofs are made of verigated tin.  The walls wooden but sometimes brick or cement.

We live near a mattress factory.  We see the men taking the mattresses to market almost every day.  Most of them run!!  You can see their wares bouncing up and down almost comically!  I have only see one lose balance of his load!

There is a part of downtown where several streets are mostly seamsters and seamstresses (men and women). Very few have inside shops and if they do they are about the size of your bathroom.  Most (hundreds) sit out on the sidewalks just like this man!  Elder Jameson mailed his suit from Lubumbashi to Bujumbura.  Well, we have been here 6 weeks and it has not yet arrived.  He went to a man just like this.  He has a new suit! Oh, yes, do you remember your great grandmothers treddle sewing machine!  The treddle machine is what they use here!! It is a very good looking suit for only $62.  UNusual!

The majority of the children cannot afford to go to school. There is no public system. People who can afford it send send their children to school. There are two sessions a day.....7 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 6 pm.  Your children will go morning or afternoon each day. They are taught French and Kirundi. They also have English as an option.
They all wear uniforms!  Some schools have different colors but the children all dress alike.  This goes for the high school ages, too!

This is the gate into where we live. It is a nice gate but has razor wire (like a super strong more vicious barbed wire)  and spear tips to keep unwanted guests out!

You will see the razor wire along the wall of where we live, too!  This is Usual!! Our road is fairly new so it is not paved yet.  It is slated to be a cobblestone street.

This man stands on the street corner calling out that he has a "Sangala" for sale.  It is a delicious white fish that he caught in Lake Tanganyika! (which is about 1/4 mile away from us) A Sangala is between 3 and 5 feet long. We have Sangala very often.  We eat it in fajitas (we make our own tortillas as you cannot buy them at all), in stir fry, in casseroles, etc.  It is a great meat and not the usually "fishy flavor".  That is UNusual!

The old ways and new ways in every way are very visible.Transportion, attire, speech (Swahili, French, Kirundi), ways of cooking, thinking are a huge mixture!  Unusually usual here!

This is a corner a few blocks from our place  These are the women who sell bananas, avocadoes, pineapples, mangos, and papayas.  When you pull your car over several women will offer you their goods.  Many have the same products.  It is so difficult to choose who to buy from.  But the produce is very fresh and very good!

These men are carrying pig halves, lots of them. The flies are free.   Unusual!
There are many more usual UNusual sights to be seen here in Bujumbura............stay tuned.
We love you all!!

1 comment:

  1. What an adventure you are having! I can barely stand touching raw meat, I couldn't imagine hauling half of a cow or pig on my back. Yuck! I wonder what someone from Africa would list as Unusual things to them about our culture. Thanks for a peek into your life in Africa. We love and miss you both so much! Thanks for all the great updates! Sending lots of love from Iowa! :)