08 March 2009

Dr. Livingstone, I presume?

Yes, that's a cliche title to a post about visiting the Livingstone Monument. Stanley and Livinstone's first meeting wasn't even in Burundi, it was in Tanzania (although many people who don't know that assume it was here when they see there's a monument). 

They traveled through Burundi and spent several hospitable days in Mugure, a village just south of Bujumbura. When we arrived yesterday I could see why they wanted to spend several days there. The view is gorgeous. You've got mountains behind you, a river immediately in front of you and Lake Tanganyika in the distance. Beyond the lake, more mountains from the Congo.

Livingstone carved their names on a large rock overlooking the river. And that's the monument. It's quite simple and I think some people are disappointed by it.

But when I was planning an excursion for some folks at work I needed a way to make it less disappointing. The spot is wonderful for a picnic. There used to be a bar there but it closed down during the war. The buildings were abandoned but still standing. And "buildings" is a generous term. They are huts with short walls and thatched roofs, so you can enjoy the view and be out of the sun. I told people to pack a lunch and I'd provide a cooler of beverages. Primus anyone? We had beers and Cokes and hung out for over an hour just enjoying the view and the breeze. 

There are some children there who will hang around. There's a police post there, and the police will chase the kids away after awhile hoping to get a tip from you for that task. We didn't give anything to the police officers, but when we left we gave lollipops and pencils to the kids.

It was nice to be outside the city for a couple hours.


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