Dear reader;

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 have been sharing their answers with you since Monday. Concurrently, Burundians across the World have been sharing their Burundian dream(s) using the #myBurundianDream hashtag on all social media platforms. Join the movement, if you haven’t already! Let us light-up the flame of hope in all of us!

Tugire Amahoro!

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!

DivineDivine (@africaforafrica), USA

I envision a Burundi where the youth are encouraged to become participants in building the future of Burundi. I envision a country where the Youth are trained and have access to not only jobs but resources that enable them to have their own businesses.

I strongly believe that the only way forward for Burundi is for the people to realize that they cannot rely on top-down leadership. It is only by empowering ourselves to be economically sustainable that we can raise the debate on the future of our country.

As a woman, my vision is for Burundi to recognize the potential of this demographic- Encourage them, train them, and give them the space to participate in nation building.

There is no doubt that women have a great role to play in our growth. It is only smart, and fair to invest in them, and give them a leg-up to realize their true potential in fostering growth and development in Burundi.

Most importantly, I dream of a Burundi where one day, we will stop looking at each other by the bounds of our ethnicity and see that we breathe the same air, our color is the same, the blood that flows in our vain is red, and if we can put aside our Hutu/Tutsi divide, then we can have a nation that is build on an ideal that together, we can shape the debate on the future of our country, together, we can build the economy using the resources we have, and together, we can gain the respect and recognition due to the country internationally. One day, I hope that we all realize that after more than five wars, it is time that instead of seeing the things that divide us, we look for those things that unite us as a people of Burundi.

Jean ClaudeJean Claude, Canada

A house on lake Tanganyika shores, without fear of being shot at anytime or war breaking out in the middle of the night.

ClaudeClaude, USA.

Nshimira Imana kuba navutse ndi umurundi kandi mvukira mu Burundi. Uburundi n’ubwo ari igihugu gito, ni igihugu c’amata n’ubuki. Ku barundi bigeze kuba mu Burundi  ubu bakaba baba mu makungu, turatahura yuko Uburundi bufise temperature nziza. Iyo wicaranye n’umuntu akuze akakwiganirira imico n’imigenzo yamye iranga abarundi, biratangaje. Abarundi bamye barangwa no gufashanya hamwe n’urukundo. Ibi vyabonekera ku kuntu umuntu atakuzi yaguha indaro iyo bwije uri ku rugendo. Abarundi baratabarana iyo umubanyi atewe n’umwansi. Iyo umurundi afise urubanza, ntirwaba ari urw’umuntu canke umuryango umwe ahubwo urw’abarundi bose. Ababanyi n’abagenzi baraterera maze urubanza rugakoreka. Abarundi bamye barangwa no gufashanya hamwe no gufatana munda. Ni ivy’ukuri ko imwe muri iyi migenzo n’imico yatitutse, ariko ndizera ko abarundi twese tugiye hamwe tukarengera amacakubiri n’ibindi vyadutandukanije, uru rukundo n’akaranga keza vyaturanga vyosubira bigatsimbatara. Uburundi Imana Irabuzi.

GodfroidGodfroid, USA

I believe my dream is to see Burundi be economically independent. That way, citizens have more of a say in what happens with their government and that can only happen through education. It’s only through education that anybody can really make a decision on what they want to happen in their society. Through education, we can have a more aware society, a society that produces things and when you produce things, that’s the only way you can start to be economically independent. That’s my Burundian dream.

Mari GraceMarie-Grace, USA.

I would like to see a Burundi that is more open to sexual health education for young people. STDS, HIV/AIDS, and teen pregnancies are all real issues that need to be addressed in our country. All of this has to start in our homes, our parents opening up to us and educating us on these issues.  I would also like to see the people of Burundi unified and stand up to improve on the multiple social issues Burundi faces today. I would love to see my country be economically independent and the education system improved. It is also my dream to see more women and young people take a greater role in government and society in general.

JeanJean, Canada.

I would like see a nation where every person is equal in the eyes of the law. Our country is poor because a few people are more powerful than others.

JennyJenny, Canada

Unity

Alain currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter: @alainndayi