Sunday, 8 July 2012

A little Drive.

A little over a month has now passed.
Days are filling up faster as I have more relationships I want to invest in,
and more comfort in getting around the city for exploring.
I am enjoying being here more and more and finding a love in me continuing to develop for the people and for my friends here.
Yesterday I went out with John in search of someone who would let me go out on Lake Kivu
in a beautiful hollowed-out-log canoe.
Its been too long since I've been on the water,
but I do still miss the river most, as nice as lakes are.
This week I will finish the series of Swahili lessons I will take,
and I will miss the time of learning, laughing and chatting with my teacher.
And also I will hopefully travel a small bit again to Rwanda and Uganda,
if all goes well.
English lessons are going quite well.
This past week I tested two of my classes,
and today in church we had a mini-english service following the regular one.

And now, without further digression from the title of this post,
I just wanted to give you a final message from my trip to Uvira
and bring you on a little drive through Congo and Rwanda,
showing you a few of the sights
and sharing my experience with you, as well as the thoughts I had with you.
So welcome to Africa and a little bit into my head.

We will begin our little journey by waking up at and departing from Hotel Ilac in Uvira. 
Handing the keys to the friendly host at the front desk, 
receiving his business card, which I would tape into my journal like a good Vanguard SWD student,
and thinking about how this is a place I would visit again one day.

Before leaving town it will be necessary to make sure that the car has enough fuel. 
So we make a stop at the pumps. 
Throw a few stones in the gas pump to measure how many liters have gone out,
and be on the way.

 Now for those of you who were worried about how up to date the pumps were,
don't worry. 
As you can see in this photo, there are much more modern pumps to fill up at if you want. 

As we head out of town we pass by this handsome tree,
thinking how Dr. Seuss MUST have visited Africa
prior to writing his books. 

 Out of Uvira we hit the open road heading to Rwanda. 

Being careful of course not to hit anything ON the open road.
I am assuming that these little friends were on their way to the market,
one is missing from the family though I think; he probably went home. 
(Just outside Kiliba - train bridge converted to road when the railway was a bust)

If you zoom in on this photo you can see all the people making use of the river.
Here the river is the bathtub, the car wash, the washing machine.
You name it.

Without fail, every time I pass by a river I get a little excited.
I love the current, the moving water, the changing scenery while floating down one.
The sound of water over the shore, 
the shadows and reflections of trees and sky.
The excitement, and touch of nervousness ,of hearing
the quickening pace of water.
The swifts and the rapids.
The white water.
Dodging rocks while charging down the river.
The eddies, still water, offering rest behind the  rocks,
the down-river 'v' directing you where to go. 
The fish just underneath your boat,
the layer of water
like a portal to another world,
broken with every paddle stroke,
and with every hand or foot lazily draped over the side of the boat
 just touching cool surface of the water
as you drift.

This goes without saying that I yearned to be in Ontario in my canoe drifting down 
some old river there. 
But for now, I am thankful, so thankful, to be where I am.  

 Now this particular river is a division between Rwanda and Congo.
On the right side is Congo, and the left Rwanda.
I watched this kids play for a while in the river.
Jumping in upstream then floating down with the quick current until catching the shore. 
I wanted a canoe or a kayak so badly!

 At times I am reminded of the wild west here. 
The shapes of some of the buildings along the highway.
Open porches with people doing day-to-day business.
Many people walking or using simple forms of transportion (no one on horseback though, sadly).
And of course, the reds and browns of the dust and the dirt
against the blues and greens of skies and tress.

The country-side.
I used to think that I could never live in the city. 
And though I am learning of the value for ministry of being near so many people,
I will always be a country boy at heart. 
Even in Africa it is no exception. 
To drive through the rural areas was a well needed refreshment from the bustle of Bukavu. 
I was thankful to see the open fields dotted with the African trees.
The rows of tea planted in the rich valleys.
The big sky uninhibited by any buildings,
free to flow as far as the horizon would allow it.
And the road stretching out to meet that sky.
The rolling hills,
stitched together and colored with all sorts of fields.
Like a giant patchwork quilt 
laid out over great slumbering bodies.

I do not want to try, and indeed I cannot even begin,
to fill in the inadequacy of expressing or capturing the beauty of places
with such extravagant words like 'majestic', 'awe-inspiring' and 'breath-taking'. 
Because I think the Maker knew how to put it best when,
with His perfect knowledge of all language and utmost proficiency in the art of poetry,
 He simply said "It is good."

Thanks for joining me on this small excursion.
Please pray for safety in traveling this coming week.
If all goes well I will be heading out with a Congolese friend 
that I really want to encourage and invest in.
So please pray that God will be evident in every step of the journey.
Opening my eyes and ears to see in which ways I can most
impact his life and be the best support and friend.

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