On moving on

I’m the type of person who would elope. Well, I would (probably) never marry anyone my parents, close family and friends do not know about (and approve, to some extent), but I could certainly says the vows, receive the blessing, and sign the papers in a tiny ceremony with just my bride and I. I believe certain important life events are best celebrated intimately. Before you call me selfish (or totally confused), which I’m sure my mama will, hear me out! I have a plan. If I ever elope, I plan to later have a big sort of “introduction party”, for our parents to invite their friends to celebrate “the union of our two families”. But I’ve been wondering what kind of speeches would be said at that party, considering that we’d already be married. I trust my dad to be able to come up with something, but to what extent does the Burundian culture allow creative speeches for couples who eloped? Mbe would there be a dot?

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The self-fulfilling prophecy


Photo by Aristide Muco

As much as I sometimes love to call myself a patriot, I’ve never actually believed Burundi is “the best country in the World”. (This sentence feels like a “déjà read”. I’m sure it’s not the first time I write it.) I mean, the mountains, the valleys, the Lake and all that are pretty, but there is so much more beauty out there in the World that competes with whatever we have in Burundi. Bujumbura has like one road that’s decent enough for a photo (does anybody else hate the “Kuri Leo” Roundabout as much as I do?) Resource-wise, we’re not that endowed either, even though we love to boast about our fertile soil and our reserves of Nickel which, realistically speaking, are not enough to make us the “first World country” we claim we could be… not in our lifetime at least. But for some reason, I’ve always felt proud of my Burundian-ness. Sometimes I tell myself I didn’t really have a choice but to be proud, but I think I’ve finally put the finger on what I think makes Burundi, or being Umurundi, “special”.

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When did marriage become about

The wedding?

I’m at that stage in my life.
I’m sure I’ve complained about this once or twice before.
A day rarely goes by without someone asking me “mbe uzoduha inzoga ryari?” I’m like, mate, if a party is all you want, how about I throw a big birthday bash where y’all can show up two hours late (I hate it!), dressed in your best attire, to hear family and friends go on about how I’m such a great person, and to promise me cows I’ll never get?

I get it. They probably mean more than the ceremonies and parties, but I’m yet to meet someone who can give me valid reasons on why I should be thinking about “settling down”.
I don’t even feel like the words settling down apply to me because… am I running? Am I lost? Distracted? Not focused?
What exactly is marriage supposed to bring to my life that I cannot manage alone with a little bit more will and determination?

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Mon chant, ta danse

Je chante,
Tu danses,
Nous célébrons…

Je chante mon chant, tu danses ta danse,
Nous avons le même tempo,
Pour le bonheur du Monde qui nous regarde et applaudit.

Tu m’écoutes,
Je t’observe,
Mais, nous comprenons-nous ?
Toi qui ne sais que danser, et moi qui ne peux que chanter ?
Comment comprendras-tu le sens de mes mots,
Et comment saurai-je décoder les mouvements de ton corps ?

Je m’exprime,
Tu t’exprimes,
Nous raisonnons.
Moi comme un chanteur, et toi comme un danseur.

Je devine,
Tu devines,
Nous devinons.
Sommes-nous animés par le même esprit ?

Tu pourrais m’apprendre et je pourrais t’expliquer,
Mais nous nous disons en nous mêmes,
Et s’il advenait que le Monde ne s’intéresse plus qu’à lui, une fois qu’il saura chanter ET danser ?
Et comment saurais-je si lui m’apprend la vérité ?

Nous nous regardons (discrètement) dans les yeux et discernons.
Je lis dans les tiens au son de mon chant,
Et tu lis dans les miens au rythme de tes pas …
Peu importe que mes yeux chantent et que les tiens dansent.

Pourras-tu comprendre le cœur de mon chant sans que je ne le décrive ?
Saurai-je saisir la joie dans ta danse sans que tu ne l’expliques ?

Peu importe…

Je chante,
Tu danses,
Aux yeux du Monde, nous sommes en harmonie…
Mais, Dieu nous garde si nous ne sommes pas animés par le même esprit !

How to survive Bujumbura

I was talking to a friend who lives abroad the other day, trying to convince her that she should come home, but she was telling me she isn’t ready… not ready to deal with the life and especially the people here (hah).
It had me thinking and wondering how (apart from missing a few ‘first world’ luxuries), I’ve made it to almost six years here with (almost) no complaints at all. And so I came up with some ‘tips’ for any Murundi out there who has the same ‘problem’ but doesn’t really have any other choice than to return home (sort of like me when I came back).

1. It’s really a question of personality

Before you read any further, you should know that I’m one of those boring types, as far as “having fun” is concerned (the livability of a city depends heavily on available entertainment right?)

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