Nous sommes arrivee

Nous sommes arrivee. (If my memories of high school French serve me correctly, that’s “We have arrived.” Did I mention French is the official language in Burundi??)

Wheels Up Wheels Down The Final Chapter, for now, is complete! We have arrived in Bujumbura and are happily settling in. The final leg, from Brussels to our new home was smooth sailing (or flying, I guess, to be more correct). And Quandary seemed no worse for the miles.

Our first mistake upon arrival was to go into the regular immigration line.  I saw the VIP sign, but didn’t assume that applied to us. What I didn’t see was underneath the VIP: a sign for “Diplomats”. Oops. That applied to us. Ha. The only thing the dip passport got us the whole trip and I missed it.

But I can now say two of my life’s dreams have come true: someone else paid for me to fly on a plane, and someone picked me up at the airport holding my name on a placard. Boom.

It’s Not a Mud Hut

Since the very beginning of this escapade, Randy’s been telling everyone we’re going to live in a mud hut in Africa. I kept telling him it wasn’t the Peace Corp, and that I promised it wouldn’t be a mud hut, but he was having nothing of it. He could not be swayed.

After being picked up from the airport in two Toyota Land Cruisers, (and being greeted by Toni and Bruce Sonnenfeld from Denver–small world crazies!!), we were driven straight to our new home. It’s not a mud hut. In fact, it’s a beautiful, large home with all the comforts one could hope for and ever need, on lovely grounds with six different kinds of fruit trees, flowers in bloom, and an herb garden.

Here we are on the front porch, a little worse for wear and travel weary, but still smiling. 🙂 (I’d post pics of the fruit trees and flowers but it’s late and very dark out. More to come.)


But it is Africa, and there surely will be things to get used to. Like the refrigerator is not in the kitchen. I mean, it’s in a little room off the kitchen, but clearly the designers of this house have never heard of the little triangle the fridge, stove, and sink are supposed to form in a well-designed kitchen.  And moments after we entered, Randy pointed high on the wall, and said, “Look, we have visitors already.” The geckos were there to greet us!

But along with said geckos were a refrigerator with a couple of meals and some luscious treats, thanks to several of our new co-workers. A really nice touch.



It all seemed very civilized, and we were super thankful for the warm and friendly greeting.

Now here’s to sleep, and no jet lag and our new lives in Bujumbura!

Next up: ‘le weekend’ activities, and reports of our most challenging adjustments, but here’s at least a start to let you know we’re alive and well, and to stay true to my mission of recording first impressions.

3 thoughts on “Nous sommes arrivee

  1. While u were happily traveling to Africa we were happily welcoming our new arrival Brooks Nelken Bienvenu. Glad u finally & safely arrived. Enjoying all the post. Anxiously waiting for the next. Call if Meg needs anything. Love ya’ Bev


  2. Hi, Babette–
    Your sense of humor is wonderful! It’s great to know that you arrived safe and sound. Your home with fruit trees sounds absolutely amazing. Your cubicle is very plain now that you are gone and I miss you, but absolutely love following your adventures! Here’s to you settling in and getting some rest–


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