Moral Courage



Tour Diary


Tour Diary

Ruyigi, Eastern Burundi
We pulled into the parking lot of Ruyigi's Cinéma des Anges just before noon. This was the largest ceremony with over 100 inkingi, saved individuals, guests and other dignitaries in attendance.

An efficient woman in an elegant floral outfit took charge of the proceedings. Maggie Barankitse, I later learned, was an inkingi herself. It was too dark in the cinema for Maziar's camera, so we moved the cars out of the parking lot and held the performance there. Rusengo, a local dance troupe of teenaged girls followed Ruciteme. Several inkingi spoke, among them was Paul Bandiyimisi, a elder gentleman. Standing next to him was a tall and graceful woman, Rose Kagari, one of a group of thirty-five people he and his family had saved. When he finished, he handed his microphone to Rose. As she related her painful story, tears streamed down his eyes. Remarkably, one person who did not address the audience was Maggie. Afterwards, the performers, the inkingi and their guests moved back into the cinema to have lunch. I wasn't hungry and Maziar was busy filming interviews, so I gladly accepted Maggie's offer to show me around.

During the short drive to her home, I asked Maggie if the cinema and the language school attached to it belonged to her. Yes, she said, they belonged to her NGO, La Maison Shalom. On the way, she pointed out the town's bank and a small hotel and told me that they, too, belonged to her organisation.

© Burundi Voices Project, 2006.