Burundi-Rwanda-Uganda Return…

Excuse the radio silence on this blog. We’ve had to transfer it across to WordPress and iron out a few glitches, which took a couple of months. A number of you have asked for some news, so I’ll do a ‘different’ kind of blog and just share with you a little summary of our family half-term.

In a couple of years’ time, the plan is to hand over the leadership of GLO fully in Burundi, and for a year to take the Guillebaud family on the road, traveling anywhere and everywhere – home-schooling, experiencing the world, talking about and networking for Burundi, etc. With this in mind, we wanted to get a bit of practice and see how the family would get along by doing one fifty two-th of that anticipated year’s travel i.e. a week.

We started off up in Kibuye at a mission hospital where we have lots of good friends. It’s under three hours drive from the capital, and is our kids’ favorite place to go because they can roam free and hang out with 25 other little Westerners. Some of us lads went on an outing to the source of the Nile and a hot spring nearby to bathe in.

Grace had been sick during the previous week, and it got worse. She did blood tests at two hospitals and nothing showed up, but she was wiped out and we questioned whether we should carry on. In the end, she was a real trooper and insisted, and it was a great decision as she steadily improved over the coming days. We drove North into Rwanda and stayed with friends in the capital, Kigali. After a fun evening with them, we continued up to Uganda, stopping off in Byumba to visit my Granny’s grave and see a few friends from when I lived there after I first moved to Africa in 1998.

Arriving at the Ugandan border, my heart sank. I realised in the rejigging of luggage in Kigali, that I’d left all the car’s papers behind. Either we’d have to do another four hours driving to return and collect, or we could just leave the car and walk across no man’s land and grab a taxi. We chose the latter, with Zac saying ‘We’re walking to Uganda’, which actually made it more of an adventure in the end.

We had two nights on picturesque Bushara Island – where they used to stick lepers – in the middle of Lake Bunyoni. We enjoyed sitting around the fire, rowing in a dug-out canoe, doing a Tarzan swing rope into the lake, and ambushing other visitors as part of our wargames, before heading back to the border via lunch with the irrepressible 87-year-old Joan Hall (MBE) in Kabale. I was relieved that our car was still where we left it, and I drove the slowest in my life back to Kigali for fear of being stopped by the police as we had no paperwork and the Rwandan speed limit is literally the slowest in the world. After another night with the same friends, we headed back to Bujumbura and got there 7 hours later.

There were no major rows. There was lots of laughter. Sickness was overcome. There was unpredictability and adventure and a little of what we might expect if we did it for a whole year. I think the consensus is that we move forward with our planning. Where should we go? If you’ve got any suggestions/contacts/recommendations, do fire them my way!

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  • That was really a fun time, Simon, going on your little adventure vacation with your precious happy family. Thank you for the ride. I felt like I was there with you. The kids look great and none the worse for wear. And how very important this is, to take time out from the struggles and the pain around you, to mold and make your family unit into a stronger force for good in the world. I approve, as only one, in your tentative plans for the future. May our God bless and guide you and bring replacements into the battle.

    Blessings from Idaho – a beautiful place to include in your adventure.

  • You’re welcome to stay with us in the USA! I’ve been following your blog now for quite some time. We have been trying for 4 years now to adopt a girl named Gislaine in Bujumbura, but it has fallen through. We live near Richmond Va and are 2 hours from the beach and 2 hours from D.C. and have lots of space!

  • Glad to hear you had a good safe trip with the family.

  • Thanks for that account of a really unusual half-term journey. l enjoyed the super pics too. l Prayers and love to all you hopeful travellers!

  • are you planning to travel the wider world or within Africa?

  • Thanks for the glimpse of family life! Blessings to you as you plan your year.

  • If you are in SW Uganda, Go to Sheema District and stay with Yowasi Makaaru and his family in Sheema District close to Kabwohe. The townspeople will take you there (former RDC). And you will rest! Tell him his adopted daughter Rukundo sent you there (Lori Moore from Charlestion, SC)!
    Blessings on Your Adventure!

  • May God the hands of our loving God be with you and your family!
    It is true you underwent a very challenging adventure with a young family but we are sure God who supported and protected you the time you entered such adventure in Rwanda and in Burundi during the hot times in the both two countries, he is the same and never change! We guys who journeyed with you in different corners of Burundi, miss you so much these days! Lets keep in contacts whether in prayers and news sharing! Greetings to the whole family!

  • What an amazing adventure. Thank you for sharing it. The worldwide Mothers’s Union in their Wave of Prayer has been praying this week for Bujumbura and the MU leaders there… Clavera, Jeanne, Euphernie and Eugenie.
    God bless you in your’s (and God’s ) future plans
    Sue (Combe Down, Bath)

  • We have some friends, well children of friends, who have taken two trips like this. Once last summer through Germany, Austria, Switzerland etc and the other in a camper van to the Arctic Circle. this is their page so maybe there is something in what they have written that will help.
    But as and when you go it will make fascinating reading!
    Every blessing

  • Accommodation ready and waiting if you decide to venture downunder:)

  • Hi Simon and all
    Thanks for the update. Sounds like fun, and I can relate to the Rwandan bit. As a person whose calling has so far been to stay put in the UK (despite thinking at times it would have been good to move elsewhere, but God had different ideas!) I’m not sure that I have much to offer in terms of where you should go for your exciting year. I’m writing because my travels and adventures, such as they are, have been triggered by our children, who following the values we taught them, have ventured out and through their lives have introduced us to the delights and challenges of life and faith in Sub-Saharan Africa – Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda (especially, as from there we gained a son-in-law) and Senegal. The closest we have been to your patch is sitting in an aircraft on the runway at Bujumbura en route from Nairobi to Kigali. So as someone in my late 60s I continue to learn a lot from your generation, and I’m currently reading an inspiring book for the first time which might be of help to you in ordering your priorities. It’s called “Choose Life”!

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