Lovely Trip To Burundi
My most valued travels have been with my younger sister .She is a great planner and comes up with the most interesting itinerary possible. Being an Aries, I like adventure and excitement but management and going into small details is not exactly my forte. Though a chartered accountant by profession she loves anthropology and has good knowledge regarding people and places. There is always a quest in her to enhance her knowledge and invariably know a place, people and its flora and fauna better. Thanks to her, we are not just clueless tourists and we don’t waste time visiting futile places and haggling meaningless deals.
Trip to Burundi was her idea which intrigued me despite being aware of her ways. This trip had an additional member, an anthropologist friend of my sister who also happened to be an excellent professional photographer. Each one of us had a different agenda with the trip, I was taking a sabbatical and needed to slow down my pace and looking forward to spending time at the beach as well as visiting hippo’s. My sister and her anthropology friends were working on one of their project but I was sure that a couple of days by the beach would be pretty much in order.
I was amazed at how they were discussing the history of the country that there were primarily two tribes inhabiting the country. Hutu’s and Tutsi’s mostly fought for dominance resulting in civil war, making the country a bit unsafe for tourists. The main distinction between the tribes is the vocation they have been practicing. Hutu’s were primarily agriculturists and Tutsi’s were cattle rearing and warrior. The trip started most interestingly as the three of us reached Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi .We knew that the country was one of the poorest in the world but also that the people were extremely friendly and great hosts and one should be prepared to see one of the most amazing landscapes. My sister and her friend Sasha wanted to start the journey with Musee Vivant. A reconstructed Brundi traditional village which also has elements of zoo and has baskets, pottery etc. I was reluctant to go initially as few reviews were not inspiring and as such I was not inclined to indulge in anything even remotely related to academics but I am glad I was persuaded. Believe me the reviews do not do justice and one must go to see for oneself and decide for oneself.
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Next place to visit was Le Pierre de Livingstone et Stanley which was least crowded as expected but nonetheless worth the visit. It has been marked as a rendezvous point of above mentioned individuals, though the authenticity of this story has been challenged ,it was a good place to visit .Livingstone and Stanley had reached Bujumbara in year 1871 and had set forth to explore Ruzizi river.
We were planning to visit the beach a bit later during the trip as it could have been unwinding for both my sister and Sashaa who were working so hard for the thesis. The photographs of the place were coming up well and the entire trip was unfolding as a great story.
Burundi was ruled by Germany and later became a colony of Belgium. The people of Burundi obtained independence in 1961 and the same is symbolically shown in the Independence Monument. The country has been referred as heart of Africa owing to its spectacular natural beauty which is mesmerizing and rejuvenating at the same time. Breathing air in the scenic beauty made us feel healthier and happier. It was a bit difficult to fathom how people inhabiting such a beautiful and peaceful place could indulge in hostility.
I decided to visit Rusizi river on the advice of our guide who took my sister and Sasha to some areas where they could learn more about the tribes for their thesis. Though initially I was skeptical about going alone to the park full of dangerous animals , my recklessness took the better of me and I decided to go. I satiated my thirst of watching the wildlife and moved at a very slow pace . I am sure that the laziness of few of them rubbed on me and I was happily releasing the need to fast pace everything. It is during times like this when you are in a natural environment amongst other people with whom you are not obliged to interact, you contemplate more and find answers that were alluding for a long time. The huge crocodiles were sought after by many tourists however I was looking for hippo .I have learnt to admire nature from a distance while showing respect towards it rather than invading and found it to be more beneficial and therapeutic .
Deeply happy with my decision to go the natural park, I decided to go to mount Heha for trekking. The trek was the best trekking experience so far. I could see a number of tourists there. I was tempted to try out mountain biking but thought to wait for a while. The natural backdrop combined with the thrill of trekking was really awesome and suited my Arien temperament .The challenge to try motor biking got me motivated to come here again and I was determined to return incase my sister got delayed by a day. Luckily they had also found some kind of a treasure of knowledge and I had the time to accomplish motor biking (without getting hurt) under the guidance of an expert. The feel good factor one achieves by indulging in sports is unparallel and gave me a beautiful memory to cherish while simultaneously enhancing my self esteem.
My sister and Sasha came back next day and were exploding with joy and a sense of accomplishment. They had not only collected data for the thesis of Sasha but also had enjoyed interacting with people of Burundi. True to the stories of them being warm hearted and friendly, my sister and Sasha had experienced a unique and interesting hosting. Their guide had been instrumental in their success of compiling the data and his knowledge had helped to bridge few gaps in their understanding of the history of the place. Overall we were all happy with our respective achievements and were ready for our next stop .
We started for the Karera beach, an inland beach of Lake Tanganyika with tons of hope and sunscreen. This was the first time Sasha was visiting a beach but the beauty of the beach made me and my sister feel as though even we had seen a beach for the first time. The white sand of this inland beach was a rare sight. Though few people were playing beach volleyball, we decided to just bask in the happiness which the sheer beauty of this place had infused in us along with the love for life and nature which past few days spent in this amazing place had taught us. We spent the entire day and evening at the beach and wished we could come back again. I could revisit the beach while these two caught up on visiting the museum but decided to explore the city of Bujumbara along with the guide.
Our trip thus came to an end but we were happy that we made a decision to visit in the first place and were contend with the fact that we had planned trip not just believing the reviews but had experimented and visited places which were either omitted or were given low rating. Burundi is not just heart of Africa but a jewel for the earth.