Day 10 – Saturday, June 29, 2013

No class today. We got a chance to sleep in so I did not get up until 6:00am. The days are very consistent here. The sun rises at 6:00am and sets at 6:00pm every day. It is an artifact of being so close to the equator. Most days I have been up by 5:00am and many days earlier. My bucket of water for bathing does not arrive until about 6:30am so I stay in my room until I can bathe. Ginger is the other early riser so she goes out to watch the sunrise in her pajamas. My pajamas, or lack thereof, are not appropriate for sunrises, so I wait. Once in a while I take a shower in the evening and can get out early to watch the sun. It is a great way to start the day.

Today we hiked across the valley to the Twa village where I tormented children with my green laser. It was very eye opening to see how these folks live. Most are illiterate and their life consist of making pots to be sold in town. The pot making is primarily done by the women, while the men quarry stone by hand. They carry huge stones out of a deep pit to load on trucks for sale in town. The ones that don’t go to town are manually broken into gravel and carried to town on their heads for sale. The village has no stone buildings or gravel roadways. Mud huts with thatch roofs and dirt floors are the standard.

I showed up with my ubiquitous camera, taking pictures of everyone and everything. There was one feisty lady, who appeared to be the village shrew. Everyone seemed to be afraid of her, myself included. I took a picture of a small child near her and one of the villagers told on me…tattle tale. She assumed I took a picture of the pot that she was making (presumably so I could learn her secrets and go home and make my own pots, instead of paying her the six and a half dollars she charges for the days of work and years of experience she has poured into one of her pots). She hopped up off the ground, pulled herself up to her full five feet, and came straight at me. I thought we were set for a battle, but she looked up and saw that I was a giant compared to her, stopped dead in her tracks, and shook her finger at me. She told me “No more” and sat down. Boy was I relieved. Even though I towered over her, I’m not sure I could take her. I was about to be beat down by an 80-pound 5-foot Pygmy woman in front of my friends. Boy was I spared some humiliation.

Later in the day we went to visit the source of the Nile. Many countries and locations claim to have the source of the Nile, but to Burundians, this is it. It is the source that is farthest south so it may be the earliest source or first contributor to the Nile, but the word “source” is a bit presumptuous. One of the locals who was part of our group explained to me that they had the power to cut off the source and the Nile would dry up in Egypt causing the whole area to die of thirst. I didn’t have the heart to disabuse him of his delusion by explaining that there are many other sources that contribute, and that the small flow we see coming out of the ground here is not enough water to fill the Nile by itself. I just smiled and admired the power of this little country. The water was cool and sweet and the only place that the Nile is fit for consumption (at least by westerners). We had a lot of fun drinking from the source and taking pictures of each other getting so excited about a spectacle remarkably similar to a running garden hose that children play in.

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