A boy band border crossing in Burundi

I have just started working on the next episode of my podcast. This one is going to be about border crossings.

As usual, any funny/frightening stories about your experiences are very much appreciated and needed for the Listeners’ Stories segment. You can send them to me via this website’s contact page, if you’d like.

This photo was taken way back in the early nineties. It’s me and my two mates, Sean and Angelo. We’re on a dirt road leading to the remote border between Burundi and Tanzania on Lake Tanganyika.

The boy band vibes are totally at odds with the situation we’d found ourselves in. We’d been trapped in Bujumbura for a week after an attempted coup by the army. We spent the time holed up in the boat sheds of the local yacht club.

The city was reopened briefly to let in supplies so we made a dash for the border.

We caught a minibus to Muhuru, the town closest to the border, and walked the rest of the way.

It was a tense trip. We were searched at gunpoint at checkpoints all along the way. Angelo nearly got shot at one when he opened up his Trangia cooking kit and there was a rotten avocado inside.

He instinctively tossed it from the pot and the guy with gun wasn’t impressed when it landed near his feet.

This photo marks the moment when we finally felt we had escaped.

It was a celebration too soon, of course.

The mud hut that served as the immigration ‘office’ was closed and a guy herding goats across the border told us the guard had gone home for the day.

Thankfully, in this part of Africa, that’s a problem that can be dealt with the next day.

After a meal of stringy chicken. And a night being tormented by the local mosquitoes.


The boys getting out of Dodge, Burundi

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