Judith and Yolande

They’re friends – the closest friends you’ll ever meet, although I sometimes wonder if their friendship isn’t just a product of convenience. They’re cousins – their mothers are sisters. They grew up together, in the same neighbourhood, went to school together, and today, they’re neighbours. They’ve been there for each other their whole lives. They’ve laughed together, fought together, with each other, won battles together, for each other… it’s almost impossible to have one without the other. They’re the perfect definition of friendship, though they’re so different from each other.

Yolande is beautiful… so beautiful. She’s a beauty queen. Perfect figure, angelic face, beautiful smile, captivating eyes… She’s always so well put together, her makeup on point. She’s the girl your friends say is out of your league. She breathes confidence, lights up a room when she walks into it… But she has a past. A dark past that makes you wonder how someone who went through what she did could be so radiant. Her story is an inspiration to many.
On the downside, she doesn’t talk much. She has a bit of an attitude. She’ll only tell you what you need to hear – she’s private like that. She’ll have you second-guessing everything, even yourself. You’ll have a hard time trusting her. If she’s kind enough to let you into her secret place though, you’ll realise she’s only human… like the rest of us.

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Rome wasn’t built in a day

I sometimes wonder if I lose some of you (if not many), when I include a Bible verse in my posts. I really don’t do it with an intention to preach or prove anything to you; I just use the verse as a reference, as I would use a quote by a celebrity or something. Certainly a reference from a source that I personally believe in and give a huge place in my life; but at the end of the day, the things I write about make sense (I hope), whether you believe in the Bible or not. Anyway, all this to say that I’m about to share a Bible verse, but would like you not to run away without reading what will come after it. Thank you.

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to theLord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’ Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares theLord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29: 4-11 NIV)

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Keeping on moving

That’s what a friend called me when I made a sarcastic comment about one of those forward “Alerte! Alerte!” messages every Burundian is probably used to (and a bit tired of) getting by now. The message was about a neighborhood under police siege, but someone who isn’t quite a master of la langue de Moliere had written it. So, yeah, I made fun of the form – not the content – and my friend didn’t like it. He said I was missing the point.

But… I understand him. I was speaking from a position which I’m aware makes me seem detached or disconnected from everything that’s going on. I’m not in Burundi anymore. A few months ago, my life was threatened and so I packed my bags and left. I fled. Ni hatari.
My friend, who’s still in Burundi, doesn’t know exactly how and why I left, and being aware that I’m not living a typical refugee life, I can understand his attitude towards me.

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Day 40

This article was first published on the 4th of June 2015, on komezamahoro.wordpress.com

I lay in my bed last night, like every other night since all this started, wondering how on earth we ended up in this mess. Just before connecting my phone to the charger I checked my twitter timeline one last time, and that’s when I saw Pacifique Nininahazwe’s tweet. Tomorrow, well, today is the fortieth day of demonstrations against Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term as President of the Republic. 40 flippin’ days! For many folks out there this means 40 days of waking up every morning ready to face teargas and live bullets, not sure whether they’ll be lucky enough to make it through to the next day. 40 days of saying NO to a man who sees it fit to keep on playing football every evening like it’s a normal day while people die a few kilometres away from his home and others in refugee camps across the borders, all this because he’s too… argh! I just can’t…

Yesterday as I lay in bed, thousands of kilometres away from a home that I had to flee, I asked myself whether all this is worth it. For me, personally. My life over the past 40 days has revolved around the flippin’ third term. My personal messages, my social media activity, conversations I have with random people (even foreigners when they realize where I’m from)… the other night I even dreamt one of my very good friends was getting married and had to have his wedding reception in Canada because Bujumbura wasn’t safe anymore! Imagine! The third term and everything about it have taken over my life, and I know I’m not the only one suffering from this. It’s sad.

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I hate this hashtag. It’s so doomsday. I wonder what was in the mind of the person who used it first. I’ve never used it… until today. And I’m using it because I’ve just realised that shit is about to hit the roof, if it hasn’t already. Yes, I used the “s word” and I’m probably going to use more foul language today. You’re asked to kindly bear with me, as these are no times to be politically correct.

It’s day eleven of the anti-third term protests in Burundi…

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