Friday, February 6, 2015

     The last full day of the Mikesell's visit, we took off for Gitega, the home of the Burundi drummers.  We took Emery, a counselor in Branch1, with us to translate in Kirundi.  The ride was a beautiful one and took about 3 hours.  The road wound up through verdant hills,  past small villages.  I hope these photos give you the flavor of the beauty here in Burundi.

These ladies are headed to the local market.

These bicyclists were all hitching a ride up the hill on the back of the truck.

We arrived at the historical site of the sanctuary of the sacred drums.

     This man was our guide who explained the history behind the sacred drums.  He is 92 years old, and since the average life expectancy here is 55, that makes him ancient!

      He tells the story of how many years ago the king of Burundi sought refuge in Gitega when he was being pursued by his enemies. A man there gave him refuge, hiding him from the men who came looking for him to kill him.  When the enemies arrived, the man told them the king had left the village and had gone up the mountain and down into another valley.  Really, he was hidden under skins in a storehouse.  Later, the kings own men arrived, saw that the king was OK and pursued the enemy warriors into the next valley.  As thanks for helping him, the king gave a give of 2 cows to the village.  The cows were revered as a significant, almost divine gift from the king.  The male they named Ruciteme, the female, Murimirwa.

When the cows died, their skins were turned into drums.  The skin of the male cow became the sacred drum called  Ruciteme and the skin of the female became the sacred drum named Murimirwa.  They are preserved here in this drum sanctuary in Gitega.

Here I am with the 2 historical drums.
These drums were the symbol of the kingdom, and the dancers (drummers) performed in a certain way that none else could repeat.  Only the king had the right to see this dance.  One dancer is still alive and he is at the drummer's sanctuary.  And here he is!!  Our guide!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, The Royal Burundi Drummers!  They put on quite a show.  They dance and jump, all the while playing their drums.  There are 17 of them who perform at the same time.

Look where this guy's feet are in relation to his head!  I dare you to try that!!

We spent a great day with the Mikesell's, getting a taste of the Burundian culture and history.  Loved it!


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  2. We were not allowed out of Bujumbura. What a treat for you to get to go to the sight of Burundian drummers. Amazing! What a rare treat!