Sorry this post is a day late guys! No wifi yesterday!
Gitega to Muyinga
Top Speed: 58.4 km/h
Distance Traveled 96.4 km
Calories Burned: 2724
Total Ascent: 1217m
Average Speed: 20.4 km/h
Humpday! I can’t believe I’m here. Day Four completed!
My mind keeps playing tricks on me. On some hills, I’m feeling stronger, others, I feel the wear and tear of the last three days. But I was able to stick with the group for the majority of the cycling today, so I think I’m starting to get the hang of this road cycling thing.
We had some of the best views of the whole trip thus far. Fantastic. Tons of climbing and downhill, we actually climbed over a kilometer today, but ended up 50m below from where we started. Truly what goes up must come down!
Again, all ten of us finished the day out. Thank you for your prayers in regards to our health and safety. We all honestly thought that Simon would be leaving Gitega, but that he would be going back to Bujumbura on his own, not with us. Dean thought he was done on Day Two, for sure. The fact that we’re all going is just amazing.
So we’re past the halfway point. Really hard to fathom right now. The physical trials of the last four days have taken their toll, with a sore rear-end, numb left foot, and some decent back pain, but the joy of finishing the day out with the whole team is just good.
I don’t mean “hey how are you?” “uh, I’m good.”
I mean good. It’s hard to describe. This is just such an awesome group of men and to celebrate the end of each day with them makes this journey that much better.
Along the road to Muyinga, we passed by a Congolese Refugee Camp. There are over 8,000 people living there in complete and total poverty. I found out that refugee camps have to be a particular distance away from the country’s borders. During the war here, there was a congolese refugee camp just by Lake Tanganyika (which borders the Congo), and many in the camp were slaughtered because they were from the wrong tribe.
Near the refugee camp that we rode by, was the site of the public execution of Muyinga’s Governor. He was buried alive in front of hundreds of people because he was speaking out in opposition to the violence that was occurring in 1993. His family had to flee the province, unable to return until over 10 years later, when his son returned to the area to preach the gospel of Jesus. As he stood over the place where his father was buried alive, the son preached reconciliation and forgiveness, and he was joined in his sermons by the man who led the public execution of his father. Wow.
Right now, Muyinga is mainly muslim, with a very weak church unable to stop the tide. Burundian missionaries are actually moving to Muyinga as a missions field. There were many communes that we passed along the way that were distinctively Muslim, whereas five years ago none of them would have been.
Saw lots of amazing sights, and also a lot of sad ones. Many children displaying telltale signs of malnutrition. Many of them appearing 1 or 2 years old, but in all likelihood older. We encountered hundreds of children today. 20% of them will be dead before the age of five. I met a woman that had a tumor on her neck that was the size of a pineapple. Saw a young boy with crutches because he was missing his left foot. As great as it has been to see the country this way, it also becomes daunting when you come face to face with such poverty and disease.
The task ahead is daunting, but it is not impossible. Not without people like you, who refuse to stop caring about tragedy and poverty in this world. If you want to know more about ways you can support the ride, support our medical clinic, you can reach us by email, or comment on the blog.
Again, thanks so much for reading every day, and sharing in this journey with us. I’ll be back again soon!