Number 11: Look Good

Blog 20

A few days ago, Raymond and I made a list of all the things that needed to be done before tomorrow’s festival.  We got to 20 and then stopped, since everything after that would have either been too much or wishful thinking. Number 11 on the list read “Look good, especially Christoph (you have nothing)”.  Dressing up nice for a film premiere seems to be a given, but between my playoff beard and recycled formal wear already seen by every potential sponsor and government invitee in the city, I needed an extreme makeover: African edition. So that’s exactly what I got - a 1:30am haircut outside our studio with some scissors that were lying around and borrowed clothes from a friend the night before the big show.  Seems fitting, doesn’t it?


The festival’s overall image is improving as well.  I had a final meeting with the major beverage company in Burundi today to discuss sponsorship in the form of donating drinks.  They agreed to provide 75 cases of soft drinks free of charge, which translates into 1800 bottles of assorted Coke, tonic water and flavored pop (alcohol wasn’t an option since we’re holding the festival at the Islamic Cultural Center).  Typically though, the sponsorship came with a catch – they would only provide (despite our pleas) the actual liquid product, not the bottles or cases. So the relief has now created a new problem we’re still trying to sort out.  Another company has agreed to donate 200 bottles of water (including the bottles!), so if nothing else at least no one will go home thirsty tomorrow.

Other sponsors are still saying they will “get back to us,” with the show only 24 hours away.  The program will have to wait until tomorrow to be printed and folded, which is less than ideal but the print shop has agreed to show up early for us tomorrow morning so we can get it all done.  We’ve scaled back on the entertainment since we didn’t have the budget for the bands we wanted, but one thing we preserved was the traditional Burundian drummers. The troop we’ve hired are reported to be the President’s favourite, and frankly no ceremony in Burundi is complete without them.  We’re already being chastised for not having alcohol, which I’m told is the second most important traditional element at a Burundian festival. Compromise and carry on, we’re not exactly holding a “traditional” festival anyway. Tomorrow will be the first festival of its kind in Burundi, so we’re cutting corners and my hair in much of the same spirit; a little messy but with TLC and whatever we can find.

Christopher Redmond