As we commemorate the enactment of our Charter of National Unity on the 5th of February, and in the wake of recent tensions on the political scene, we would like to dedicate this week to reflecting about what it means to be Umurundi, and to dreaming… the “Burundian dream”…
During his Christmas break Alain Ndayishimiye asked 23 Burundians of the Diaspora about their Burundian dream (in spite of the political tensions our country may be going through). We will be sharing their answers with you in three parts. Concurrently, we would love to see more Burundians share their Burundian dream(s) using the #myBurundianDream hashtag on all social media platforms. Please join the movement, if you haven’t already! Let us light-up the flame of hope in all of us!
The TBL team
By Alain Ndayishimiye
When you think of a country’s dream, you almost always think of the American dream. In fact, I am yet to hear of an Indian dream, a British dream or a Zimbabwean dream for that matter. I remember during the 2008 elections, that expression was thrown around quite often in the media. With the economic crisis of 2008/2009, seemingly unattainable at the time, many questioned whether the “dream” was still alive and wondered if the idea itself was still relevant. While Burundi is no America, that cannot stop us from dreaming. We may dream differently but we still do in fact dream. When I think about the Burundian dream, I do not think it the same way Americans think of theirs. But that is just me. How do other Burundians think of it? Is it something they think about? If so, what are some of the things that come to their minds when they do? Over the Christmas holiday, I set out to find answers. To feed my curiosity, I called up friends and family members and even reached out to some people I’ve never met. Truly, what I wanted to know was people’s hopes and dreams for our country. Aside from eye-opening and inspiring responses, I was moved by how passionately people spoke about Burundi. I often hear that Burundians are not patriotic people. They say we are not “proud” of our country. But, let me tell you something, going through people’s answers proved otherwise. Our country is beloved. Take a look!
To live in happiness and be proud to be Burundian
My dream is to see a Burundi where everyone can work, speak, live freely without fearing for his life, or someone taking hold of what he has worked for… just like that! A country where justice will reign and where every leader will be held accountable, a country où ton succès ne dépend pas de quelle région tu viens, de quelle ethnie tu es mais plutôt du travail que tu fais
I dream of Burundi as a nation where politics and governance work openly. By this I mean a nation where all branches of government are accessible to, and open to scrutiny from the public. I dream of a government that respects the rule of law and where everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. A nation where authorities lead and defend citizens, promote and protect people and their property instead of exploiting them. I would like to see a our government leaders take initiatives to bring innovative policies and new thinking and development, doing the best they can to create employment, rather than waste time threatening and oppressing their opponents. In brief, I dream of a Burundian government with a sustainable, functioning and reliable system, a system that does not depend on one individual to work.
On the socioeconomic arena, I dream of Burundi as a place where social inequalities are made as minimal as possible. For instance, I have vacationed in Bujumbura for three consecutive years and each time, I was disappointed to see how little or nothing is done to make the city attractive. I dream of a Burundi where everyone cares about the environment, where all people (leaders esxpecially) take part in making homes and quarters clean. I would like to see the disorder and rubbish in Bujumbura and around the country vanish. I don’t wish to walk along the Avenue de l’Université and just turn a little to the side, ending up in dirty roads and restaurants in Bwiza, to drive from city center along the Boulevard du 28 Novembre, ending up in disorder of Gare du Nord, Kamenge and so forth. I dream of a Burundi where circulation and transport of people and goods are better regulated. I dream of Burundi as a place where young people are given a chance and ability to use their education in developing themselves and even their country, etc…
My Burundian dream is to see Burundi prosper economically, and for us all to live in peace and harmony. Oh and no corruption.
Peace. Mu Kirundi bavuga ngo, ahari amahoro umuhoro uramwa.
I would like to see Burundi as a peaceful country; no war and no discrimination whatsoever. I would also like to see Burundi as a democratic country. It is also my dream to be able to go back home, work and contribute to the Burundian society by making an impact in people’s lives in one way or another. Having been to many countries, we have seen so many good things that we can bring back and contribute to our country. But if the country is not peaceful, that becomes a hindrance as it stops people from bringing those ideas back home. In summary I dream of a Burundi that is peaceful and democratic and a place where I can see myself live and contribute to the progression of our nation.
Abene Burundi bose tukarengera ibidutandukanya vyose, tukabana mu mahoro n’ubumwe, umunyagihugu akidegemvya, amategeko n’amateka bikubahirizwa. Umunyagihugu akuye amaboko mu mpuzu, akabona umwimbu w’inguvu ziwe kandi ntibamurare ku mugono. Be n’umuryango wiwe bagatamira, bagahaga atawe basavye. Bwa Nyaburunga bugatezwa imbere n’ akuya hamwe n’amavuta y’inkokora z’abarundi, ntitwizere imfashanyo z’ayandi makungu.
Ibendera ry’Uburundi riduzwa tugashima, tukishima. Umurundi ahari hose akabona amabara yaryo aho kubona ubwoko bw’abatwara. Maze akaninahaza igihugu ciwe, akakigwanira.
For our beloved homeland Burundi, I dream of the day all of us will get to that point where we understand that everyone of our people’s life is valuable, actually priceless; the right to life has to be absolutely fundamental. Once we achieve this, the respect of each other’s rights and boundaries would be a logical consequence. To that end, I would like to see a more open and accountable Burundi. The lack of accountability in our societies in Africa generally, and in Burundi in particular is just beyond gasp. The unaccountability wouldn’t be in issue in a society where everyone respects each other as equal human beings thus respecting boundaries
Alain currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter: @alainndayi