And on the seventh day we rested

Blog 11


Sundays in Burundi are the way a day of rest should be.  Most stores are closed, families come together and the slow pace of daily life finally becomes a comfort rather than an obstacle.  Five days a week we work from sun up until sun down on the project in one way or another. I usually consider my blogging time as “time-off” from the BFC, which is relaxing but never allows to me to leave the headspace of the job at hand.  But all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy, right? I agree, and so I’m using this Sunday to talk a little bit about what else we do during our time here to relax and absorb our surroundings.


I commented a few days ago to the girls on how the house we stay in is starting to actually feel like a home.  The decision to hire a cook for one meal a day, for example, has made our 2:00pm lunches after class a time for celebration rather than frustration.  The internet café we support daily connected us with someone who is able to prepare food for us five days a week always with a vegetarian option on the table. I could lie and say hiring Bonne-Anné was our way of contributing to the economy a bit more, but really it was an indulgence we were too embarrassed to take on when we first arrived.  


Only ten minutes walking distance from our home is the Musée vivant – part zoo, part anthropological museum, part festival grounds.  Burundi is mostly famous for its drummers and the killer crocodile Gustave (still alive somewhere in Lac Tanganika and reported to have killed more than 200 people), and so the museum rolls this and the native culture into a single experience.  The zoo portion would probably make safety people at WHMIS lose their minds. Prodding and agitating a full-grown crocodile for the amusement of tourists (unrequested, I might add) is as normal as taking out deadly snakes they consider “too slow moving” to be a real threat.  The traditional huts were a bonus, if not only so we could take pictures with them and try to convince friends back home that these were our actual living quarters.


The large sandy beaches are also something Burundi uses to draw foreigners.  We haven’t gone often, especially since sun-tanning in a bathing suit isn’t as common as the girls would like (clearly I would be fine with it…).  Burundians seem much keener to take in a gospel choir than sun rays, so we’ve gone to church on a few Friday nights to watch our good friend Apollinaire lead a 20-odd piece band through some roof raising renditions of new and traditional Christian music in English, French and Kirundi.  


Last Friday we even brought our cameras to film the festivities, although we usually leave our good equipment (besides a regular point and shoot camera) at home when we’re not working. Shooting is still a great pleasure and we hesitate to call it work, but all that will probably change next week.  Production of the first film starts Tuesday, and goes back-to-back all week, which has me just a little stressed. I better enjoy the rest of this Sunday while I can.

Christopher Redmond