A young man's strange erotic journey around the globe
Picking up where the photos from Tanzania left off in the border town of Kabanga, it was here that I was left by the Tanzanian motorcycle taxi to continue my journey onward into Burundi.
Looking back into Tanzania from the sign in the photo previous. Unlike the country I just left, English is not widely spoken in Burundi – French and Kirundi are.
Now on the back of a Burundian motorcycle taxi to the border town of Kobero where passport control is located
Hmm…shit, I dunno. Maybe you should go see a doctor ‘n’ get a sperm count or something
Sharing a taxi from Kobero (very, very small town) to Muyinga (town of about 100,000) with a local named Job who offered to help me buy an onward ticket to Bujumbura, the capital
While, with my point-and-shoot digital camera, I was snapping this photo of Job (red shirt) buying my bus ticket in this one-room bus station (it couldn’t have taken me more than five seconds to do this), someone reached in my bag and snagged my cell phone.
After finding some charity organization with internet access, I spent two hours reading up on how I could track my stolen phone. After deciding it was pretty much hopeless, Job and I returned to the bus stop to buy a ticket to Bujumbura for me for the following morning. It was there I encountered a man who let it be known he’d been looking for me. He was dressed in a pristine white Adidas track suit and had been accompanied by a tall lanky guy in a deep blue uniform with a matching blue beret and an AK-47 strapped over his shoulder. He turned out to be the chief of police and, as translated through Job, told me they were working very, very hard to get my phone back. The man asked me to take a walk with him through these sleepy, hilly streets of Muyinga (pictured). I agreed. Job walked next to the man and translated his message while the policeman casually walked behind keeping an eye out for potential threats. The guy wanted to know, since they were working extra hard to get my phone back for me, how much I’d be willing to pay as a gratuity. As we continued walking, I said, “I dunno, twenty bucks?” and the police chief stopped dead in his tracks and gives me a cold stare before saying in an English better than Job’s, “Twenty dollars is not enough for the work we are doing.” And then suddenly the chief’s phone rang. He picked it up and started talking. Job began bullshitting with the chief’s bodyguard. Job then comes over to me and relays the message that, “The policeman here says they already have found the criminal. And they have the phone.” So the chief hangs up his phone and we start strolling again. We walk for another hour as the chief tries to convince me that his work is worth at least $100USD. We make a plan to meet for dinner at my hotel a couple hours later and I said that if he produces the phone, I’d consider giving such a tip.
Back at my hotel, here I am awaiting the police chief with Job who turned out to be an alcoholic and was getting shitfaced on my tab and starting to complain to me about how you can’t trust women. Eventually the chief shows up and orders a big meal and several drinks and doesn’t even direct a single word to me. He and Job sit there bullshitting, pretending I don’t even exist. After an hour of this, I’m pissed off, I’m exhausted and I just wanna go to sleep. “Do you even have my phone?” I asked. “Of course I do,” he replied. “I don’t believe you. Let me see it.” “Later,” he added and ordered another round. About a half-hour later, after he’d had his fill of food and drinks, the chief pulled out an iPhone sans-case. “Is this yours?” he asked. I didn’t recognize it and asked him to hand it over. He did. “It is mine,” I said after punching in my security code, “but where’s the case?” He shrugged, passed me a piece of paper and a pen and made me write and sign a statement saying that he had indeed returned my phone. “Alright, here ya go,” I said, handing him the sheet of paper as well as what had been about $40USD worth of Burundian francs. “And here, for you Job,” I reached into my bag and gave him a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses from my ex-girlfriend that I’d been looking to get rid of. “Thanks for your help too.” In my head, I added, “I hate both of you and hope to never hear from either one of you again,” and then went off to my room, locked the door, drew the curtains and laid myself to sleep.
On the iPhone 6, you can take photos without even entering your password and gaining access to your phone. So, here’s an accidental selfie taken by the thief while fucking around with his stolen goods before handing it over to the police chief to extort me. I can’t decide if Job was in on it or if he really was just a helpful guy who turned out to have a really annoying drinking problem or what. It seemed like the whole town was conspiring against me. I don’t know, man. I don’t care either. I’m just glad I got my phone back.
Governmental billboard regarding the 2015 elections. According to Wikipedia, “Presidential elections were held in Burundi on 21 July 2015. President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term despite controversy over whether he was eligible to run again. The opposition boycotted the vote, and Nkurunziza won re-election.” And ever since then, the opposition has been beaten down. Some people have been made to disappear and many others have fled the country, seeking asylum in neighboring countries and in Canada which seems like it has a soft spot for Burundians.
Sick Minnie sweater, bro
In East Africa, as far back as the 18th century, “mzungu” had been directly translated as “wanderer” or “someone who roams around.” Nowadays, it’s used – and used heavily – to describe or address anyone with white skin.
Jah cuts hair
The red and green with the white X through it behind that grenade or whatever the fuck is the national flag of Burundi
Governmental facility? Not sure
I loved you in Scent of a Woman, Al!
View out from the one room shack of a bus station where my phone was stolen as I await my morning bus to Bujumbura
One of the employees at the bus station who claimed to be the one that’d caught the little douchebag who nicked my phone
The Road to Bujumbura
Kids in front the crib
A town in which we’d briefly stopped to pick up passengers en route to Bujumbura
Not 100% sure this is a mosque, but I’d assume so based on the crescent/star as well as the loudspeaker on the front of the building, possibly used for the call to prayer. According to the CIA Factbook (2008), 62% of Burundi is Roman Catholic, 23.9% is Protestant and only 2.5% is Muslim.
Passing through a forest
My favorite aspect about rural Burundian life is how everyone hitches rides through the hilly terrain on the back of trucks
Hang on bros!
Banana boy hitching on a petroleum tanker
These guys were my favorite though. 5 bikers and two guys hanging on the back. Too funny
Not much to do but sit on that bench and watch traffic go by
The police stopped all traffic here because official word had been given that President Nkurunziza was to be traveling from the capital. One of the guys on my bus who spoke English told me that it’s never said to where he’ll be traveling when leaving the capital so, it’s not just the road he’ll be on where the traffic is stopped. Traffic is drawn to a halt on all roads leading from the capital until clearance has been given to the police that they can again allow traffic to flow.
Farm kids where our bus had been halted
In case you didn’t know, “God Is God”
The metropolitan area of Bujumbura has a population of about 800,000. Burundi as a whole is home to an approximate 10.5 million
Copied directly from Wikipedia, “According to the BBC, Bujumbura residents are known for their “tradition of Saturday morning runs started during Burundi’s long years of ethnic conflict.” Because the surrounding hills were home to armed militants before 2005, Bujumbura residents “would try to vent their fear and frustration and claustrophobia, by running, often in a group.”
In March 2014, President Pierre Nkurunziza banned jogging, due to “fears it was being used as a cover for subversion.” That same month, twenty-one opposition supporters were sentenced to life in prison for using “jogging” as a way to organize “an illegal demonstration that turned violent.” As of June 2014 in Bujumbura, “the authorities have since restricted jogging clubs to certain areas. All sports must now take place in nine parks in Bujumbura and other designated football pitches.””
I stayed in a relatively wealthy area of the capital. Not my hotel, just a sample mansion from the area
On the gate leading into the hotel. Made me feel like I was back in Chicago.
1USD is supposed to equal about 1760 Burundi Francs, but the hotel I stayed at wouldn’t even accept them. “We cannot accept francs. US dollars only,” they told me. “Wait,” I said. “I don’t get it. We’re in Burundi. The franc is the national currency. And you don’t accept them. I’m confused.” They just shrugged n were like, “Hotel policy.” I wish I’d known that before taking 200USD worth of francs out from an ATM machine just before arriving at the hotel. And then, since I couldn’t even spend them, when I was entering Rwanda, I wanted to exchange ’em for Rwandan Francs and nobody would give me more than a hundred dollars for what officially should be 200 dollars worth of francs. A truly worthless currency. If you ever find yourself in Burundi, unless you collect foreign currency for souvenir purposes, don’t even fuck with francs. Carry US dollars.
Relaxing, ordering a meal
What the fuck is a clown pizza?
Anti-mosquito device found plugged in up in my room. It’s funny cuz whereas this Cock does everything in its power to repel living beings that are known to suck, my cock does the exact opposite.