Bonjour! I am in Burundi now.

I arrived in Burundi yesterday.  It has been years since I have been on my own in a french speaking country, and my years of training in french and living in french speaking countries is slowly returning… sloooowly.  I visited the friends at Long Miles Coffee (here) and spent some time talking to Lauren, a PhD student from South Africa working with Long Miles and developing her dissertation.  Although the aid/government agencies do a lot of work in Africa and other parts of the world, I find it really refreshing and encouraging to see the for-profit sector (private) playing suck a key role in the socioeconomic development of a country.

Happy women’s day! The day has started with a number of unexpected blessings…. this morning, as I was leaving the hotel, an older gentleman approached me and gifted me with a t-shirt, he is from Egypt and the people at the hotel said that he was giving these t-shirts to all the guests at the hotel.. Later, as I sat working at a coffee shop doing some work, the garçon asked me: “do you know what day it is today?”, to which I said “Saturday” and he said, “No! c’est la journée internationale des femmes” and he gave me a little chocolate… as I continues my work, I began talking to two gentlemen (one russian and one south african) who work in the mining industry… we conversed for about 30 minutes and as I was preparing to leave, they offered to pay my tab: “you are a student!” they said…

Oh yeah, and I got invited to present my research at the coffee symposium in Rwanda next week! time to put my head down and start figuring out how to not freak out with my public speaking skills…

A good day indeed, and it is not even over yet!

Here is a pic I snapped with my phone as we flew over Burundi: