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"Seven weeks to look, see, learn, and share some skills in Conflict Resolution…
For over a year this journey has gradually been coming together. But the seeds were sown over 40 years ago when serving in Tanzania with the Peace Corps."  

August 10, 2007      Moshi, Tanzania


This is an extraordinary experience. I'm now in Moshi, Tanzania where I started my first African experience in January, 1966. I'm staying in the building that housed the school where I taught and have a room that was formerly occupied by the students. I can dine in the same place where I had lunches, I've been in my old office, and saw my former classroom. The town has changed very little physically, so this is acting as a time warp of unbelievable magnitude. I'm rediscovering old streets I had long forgotten, but seeing people I used to know is not very likely. Many have moved on or probably have died. But the smells of firewood, the soil, the flowers, the cooking are conjuring up many pleasant memories and are becoming a new round of experiences. One new thing is an internet cafe, which was not even in the most inventive of imaginations in those days and someone brings me a cappucino when needed. I read a letter from Marie, last night. It was like receiving one from her long ago when I lived here without her and our relationship was just a correspondence of hope, memory, reading between the lines and waiting four weeks for an immediate reply.

I completed my last course Wednesday in Nairobi. Made farewell's to my dear hosts Donald and Ruth Thomas and Donald took me down to the Norfolk Hotel to wait for the bus. It was a bus for tourists and was not harrassed at the frequent police blocks. A lot of people were headed down to climb Kilimanjaro. The mountain never came out of the clouds, and last night it rained down here in the town quite heavily. The mountain is socked in today and it is quite possible that I won't see the peak in the next few days. It is unusual for rains at this time of the year. Normally it is quite dry.

I see in the news there were several gun battles in downtown Bujumbura yesterday, maybe I left just in time, or maybe it is not much different than any American city. The reports aslo noted that the European Community was quite upset that the National Assembley and Senate were not working very well together the last few months and the EC was wondering if it should continue offering financial support. Senate and House not working together? Is this something new? Are they expecting too much of Burundi?

Back to Moshi. The bus arrived near the center of town. I got to climb on top and remove my bags. Said goodbye Austrian climbers I had been chatting with about the mountain. They had completed a climb on Mt. Kenya earlier in the week. An American engineering prof from Arkansas was also on his way to climb. Very fit young man, currently teaching in France at a university. He'd worked earlier in Milan. Wow. What a resume. I just advised him to take it easy and sleep where he would be protected from falling rocks.

I walked through the town last night refilling my memory of things long forgotten and am just letting things happen now. Talked to my old Peace Corps colleague Steve Fisher this morning. He will be in town tomorrow around noon. I don't know if I'll continue with him and his daughter Lise on down to Dar Es Salaam or stay here a bit longer. By the looks of the weather it will not be too pleasant higher up the mountain where I had planned to do some walking. It is really raining up there.

I saw a nun from the order of the Kilimanjaro Sisters walking down the street this morning and stopped to talk. I wanted to know if she knew Sister Daria Mushi who Marie and I have known for years at the U. of Dayton where she did her undergraduate degree before going to med school somewhere in the Carribean. She said, "Oh yes, Sr. Daria is my best friend." She was Sr. Clarissa who is a medical doctor here in town, but on her way for a year of training in Amsterdam in Public Health. I will try to convey this meeting to Sr. Daria.

Well, I will get back on the street now. Heading down to enjoy the sights and smells of the market. Many of the nightwatchmen who sleep out in front of the buildings at night are Masai men. One here at the internet was quite personable. I know their greeting, then they continue way beyond my limits in their language but we come back to Swahili and some English. These guys are not the commercial Masai we were exposed to along the bus route and occasional stops yesterday. It is sad to see what has become of those that hang out selling trinkets, but I guess we all do these things one way or another to put food in our children's mouths. A friend once told me in US that his grandfather came to the US when he killed a man over a loaf a bread to feed his family or the other guy's family.


Burundi: Fresh Outbreak of Insecurity in Capital

8 August 2007
Posted to the web 9 August 2007

Bujumbura

Three persons were shot dead today in the centre of Bujumbura. The victims include an army officer, his fianc?e and his would-be future brother-in-law.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, eye witnesses found at the scene revealed to Burundi Realite Agence Presse that the three victims were killed by unknown people on board of a taxi at around 1:00 PM near BCB bank.

Violence has increased in Burundi capital since the PALIPEHUTU-FNL pulled out of negotiations after realizing that President Nkurunziza has no intention to honour promises he made on June 17th when he travelled to Tanzania to meet the Palipehutu-Fnl leader, Rwasa Agathon. Among promises made by president Nkurunziza included the release of all the Palipehutu- Fnl prisoners.

Last night, many gunshots were heard in Cibitoke quarter where four armed robbers were caught by the local population. Increased banditry is observed in various parts of the country. This is potentially due to thousands of weapons circulating among the Burundi population.

The Nkurunziza government has been criticized for its failure to implement an effective mechanism of disarmement of the population.

return to August 10 - George Brose Blog

 

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