A Burundian party is not like an American party. I have learned this by now. The first time I was invited to a Burundian party, for some reason, I expected nachos and music and a lot of laughter. I think more than anything this reveals my own ethnocentrism. Burundian parties begin with everyone sitting silently in a circle. Often there will be a time of prayer, then Fantas, then the speeches begin. After the speeches, things start to loosen up a bit.
Last night, a group of anesthetist students who have been working at Kibuye for the past two months held a party to say thank you to myself and the other Burundian anesthetists whom I work with. They have been living for the past two months in a modest dormitory located just next to our house. When I arrived at 6 PM, I was greeted by these 6 students dressed to the max. One of them sat down next to me and explained that they have very little but what they have they wanted to offer to say thank you. He then explained that what they have is their voices with which to sing and their prayers. We then stood, and they began to sing, in Kirundi. And it was beautiful. They are incredibly gifted, incorporating harmony, crescendoing and de-crescendoing. After three beautiful songs, one of the students read a passage of scripture, then gave a brief message about what it means to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God.
After that, the students went around and gave speeches of thanks for all that they had learned here at Kibuye and for our time and effort in teaching them. Then it was my time to give a speech. I tried my hardest to express my gratitude for their work and for the compassion they have demonstrated to our patients, highlighting the significance of modeling Christ-likeness to those who are suffering.
And as always, there were Fantas. But not only Fantas. They also served delicious Beignets along with peanuts and cookies (which I brought). After eating I told them I was really moved by their singing, and could they possibly repeat one of the songs they had sung so that I could record it, which they gladly did. I have attached the recording below. But then, things started … loosening up. The singing got louder and louder, then the dancing. Then, the samba line. It was a room filled with joy, and it left me feeling massively grateful to God for calling me to this work.
I hope you enjoy the recording.