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Toilets in China: On cleanliness and filth

Note added in December 2019: I wrote the following article years ago and I see now how terribly judgemental I was about toilets in China. I’ve added some tips and comments to update it a bit. My message now is: be aware of how you communicate and behave around the issue of Chinese toilets. We…

Impressions of Beijing

I read quite a bit in guidebooks about Beijing before we came here. Much of what we read was true, but a lot of what I’ve seen (and it’s only been two days) has taken me by surprise. –Yes, as I read in the guidebooks, dog is on the menu. But what I didn’t expect…

Street Children

Kirundo, Burundi, August 9 Street Child There are a lot of street children here. They wander around town, dressed in rags the colour of the earth, and beg for money. So, of course, we’re a major attraction for them. They follow us around, begging for handouts, or sometimes just stand and stare. When we’re leading…

Status in Burundi

Kirundo, Burundi, Tuesday, August 4 Social status seems to be a big issue in Burundi. We were certainly all aware already that there is a big difference between the poorest to richest here. It’s visible is lots of ways. Only wealthy people get fat, for example. Wealthy people have stylish glasses and shoes. Their clothes…

Tough Meat

Kirundo, Birundi, Monday, August 3 I was sick yesterday: stomach cramps at regular intervals, a mild fever, a headache and general aches and pains all over my body. The cause was the day before, I think. It was Saturday, so we did a bit of sightseeing. We visited a project Stephanie put together in which…

Burundi’s canvas

I’ve been trolling youtube lately, watching videos of Burundi (like this one), in preparation for my trip there in July. In the videos – if you look past the incredibly skillful Burundi drummers – you will see a landscape and people that look just like what I remember from back in the mid-80’s, when I…