I would like to try to describe a ‘normal’ week of life in Kibuye but, there really isn’t such a thing. This week felt particularly abnormal.
Over the weekend a group of us took the three-hour trek to Bujumbura to attend the wedding of one of Kibuye Hope Hospital’s Burundian doctors. I have had the privilege of attending many Burundian weddings in my year and a half here – I believe this was number seven but, it was my first in the city. It may have been quite a bit hotter than a village wedding, but it was quite a bit more extravagant to make up for it. Replacing the strands of paper often hung from the church ceilings for decoration, the walls were covered in billowing red and white fabric. The bridesmaids all wore modern matching red dresses, and the groom wore a white tuxedo. At the reception, the wall behind the couple was covered in fabric and twinkle lights, and there were white slips covering all the chairs.
Some of my favorite bits of the wedding were when a group of girls followed the couples every move throughout the ceremony tossing copious amounts of confetti over them, the bride and groom each surprised each other with an original song which they performed at different points in the day, and as the car took the couple between locations a group of men from the wedding party walked next to and in front of the car resembling the secret service. We bowed out after formally presenting our gift so we could make it back to our friends’ house before dark. Nights in Bujumbura are usually filled with downloading, updating, and skyping.
Back in Kibuye, on Monday afternoon we welcomed the first of the 27 (!!) total visitors that will be passing through Kibuye this week (as I said, this is not a normal week). One of these visitors happened to be the American Ambassador. As her caravan of three SUVs pulled up we all stood at attention at the front gate a bit nervously, prepared for a very formal welcome, only to be greeted by a few dozen hugs and smiles! She came on Thursday and stayed the night, giving us all a chance to share lunch at the hospital canteen, an informal ‘meet and greet’ / shamelessly ask for selfies, and of course a dessert social. I believe it was the first US Ambassador to visit Kibuye since 1989. Needless to say we were honored, and thankful for the work she is doing.