We’ve all heard the maxim: no news is good news. Unfortunately, here in Bujumbura of late, I’m going to have to go with no news is…well, no news.
I should end this blog post here. That would sum it up nicely. (And no one could call TLDR* on me.)
The sad reality is…I have no news. August 26, a long anticipated day, has come and gone. For me, as an American observer, it marked four solid months since the manifestations (protests) began. For me, as a lonely wife, it marked four solid months since the day Randy left Bujumbura. For us as an embassy, it marked our last “flash point”.
Let me explain: For four months now, we have all been living under the stressful anticipation of what we’ve come to call The Rolling Date of Impending Doom. Surely something big is going to happen to us. Once we get this or that behind us, we’ll know more. If we can get through this election, or that event, we’ll have a better sense of the future. When this or that day comes, this “flash point”, where we anticipate the risk for a catastrophic event to be high, we’ll be on high alert, but if it passes without consequence (i.e., nothing happens), then the worst will be behind us, and we can get on with life, which includes bringing our exiled family members back. And on and on. The Rolling Date of Impending Doom.
We’ve been living like this for all this time, but really, all along August 26th was to be our last flash point. It was the official last day of the incumbent government, by which time a new government of some kind or another must be put in place.
And August 26th has come and gone. A new government, notwithstanding the question of its legitimacy, has been inaugurated. We still live with vague future potentialities, but no more specific dates. Nothing has happened. We are ready to move on.
Now let me explain what I mean by Nothing has happened. Of course, plenty has happened. High ranking government officials have been assassinated. People have been targeted and gunned down in their homes. Nightly raids continue. Human rights activists and peace loving civil servants have been attacked in their cars. Thousands of citizens have fled in fear. Schools and shops closed. The economy tanked. Life in the city was completely disrupted for Burundians. Plenty. Has. Happened.
But what I mean by Nothing has happened is…nothing has happened that has affected us as Americans, other than the initial coup attempt and subsequent brief closure of the airport in May. Since that enormous disruption which caused the evacuation of our families and pets, we’ve just been living with the Rolling Date of Impending Doom. But the Impending Doom has not occurred and we are ready to get on with it. We have passed our last flash point.
And we wait.
The present Ordered Departure status is in effect until September 10, just three short days from today. We eagerly await the cable that will dictate our future: the Ordered Departure status will be lifted, and our people will return, or it will be extended yet another thirty days. Many in our community are optimistic. In a rare, out-of-character-for-me moment, I do not share their optimism. “In three days (or sooner), we’ll know more,” she said for the thousandth time.
And so we wait.
In sum, this has been a difficult and frustrating time filled with a myriad of conversations, interactions, events, consequences, and perspectives not appropriate for this blog. I long to keep a good state of mind, body, and spirit, but feel I have fallen short of that goal. I’ve always believed that God won’t necessarily change your circumstances during trials, but rather that he seeks to change you.
Unfortunately, these trials have made me more bitter and angry, with me giving in to my frustrations, rather than heeding my own advice and focusing on the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Perhaps just committing those nine words to paper will inspire me to live them better.
Hmph. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
But despite my present circumstances and frame of mind, I treasure the chance to end on a more positive note. Since my last blog post, this happened:
And this weekend, I successfully Road Tripped To Rwanda and Operation Super Q Reunification Project, complete with successful (and uneventful) border crossings, brought this guy home:
At least this begins the reunification of the McQueen family.
Stay tuned for news: the future status of the Ordered Departure, the wedding blog post (undoubtedly more upbeat than this one), and the ever anticipated topic in the Foreign Service: bidding!!
*Too Long, Didn’t Read