Last year we looked out our kitchen window to the Alps, this year we look from the second floor balcony at the green hills of Burundi (and this satellite tower).
Last year February was cold, snowy, winter-bear trees, this year it’s warm, rainy and lush, green trees.
Last year we walked or rode bikes to school, this year we are taking taxis or yellow three-wheel scooters (just until we can buy a car).
Last year we were the students; this year we are the teachers (though not at this school, this is a high school).
Last year we lived in a town of 20,000, this year we are in a city of 1,000,000.
Last year we shopped at the local Carrefour or Gèant or the Thursday market, this year it’s Mutoyi, the Catholic run grocery store where the food is all behind the counter. Instead of going up and down aisles you have to tell the clerk at the counter what you want and he puts it into your shopping bag, gives you a receipt. Then you pay at the cashier window and return to the clerk for your items. There are several other places we shop as well because you can’t get everything at just one store (where’s the fun in that?).
Last year the currency was euros (1 euro=$1.38); this year the currency is Burundian francs (Fubu, 1600 Fb=$1.00). Looking at prices in the thousands and millions throws me for a loop, too many zeros! Conversion is not helpful either dividing by 1600. This is the price list for vegetables at Mutoyi.
Last year the ethnic diversity around us was not as physically apparent, we were in a pretty homogeneous small town. This year it’s similar in that physical diversity is difficult to read but in the opposite direction. Guess who stands out this year?
Although there are many contrasts with last year there are a few things that are similar, such as being here in Burundi with our “sister” WHM team, the McCropders, as we were in France last year. It’s been a blessing to already have people we know to visit and to work with the same organization and University (even though they are three hours away in the mountains).
Another constant, similar to last year, is the natural beauty and wonder that God demonstrates in a myriad of ways each day. From beautiful sunsets to the unique physical beauty of a particular region, to the people who have welcomed and helped us, daily we see His faithfulness in taking care of us through all these changes.