How to Celebrate Burundian Independence Day for Beginners

  1. Take your AK-47 out to the street and hold it up with both hands.  Glare at everyone passing by.
  2. Go to the flower market.  Buy several plastic bags of ground nuts.  Shuffle back and forth outside the T-2000, the Chinese convenience store, while eating said nuts.  Glare at everyone passing by.
  3. Open a fresh box of grenades in a vacant lot.  Let the kids play catch with the dummies.  Those are the ones with the red plastic tabs on them.  Aren’t they?
  4. Mumble bad French to the aged, syphilitic Belgian who runs the only café with internet.  Get seated immediately and order something in a bottle.  Try to connect to the internet for 2 hours.  Fail to connect.  Glare at everyone in the café.  Realize it was a bottle refilled from the tap.  Go home and vomit for 6 hours.
  5. Take a walk in the public gardens.  Witness people healthier than you with better attitudes and better immune systems.  Go home and glare at yourself in the mirror.
  6. Go to bed early, vowing to sleep in.  Wake up an hour later with a giant cockroach in your hair.  Scream for a while.  Drink heavily with all the lights on in your house until dawn.  Produce a 15-page handwritten short story that you cannot understand the next day.
  7. Talk to the house guard.  Learn how to say “good evening” in Kirundi.  Come away feeling that you’ve finally met one of the best people alive today.
  8. Attend a Marine Corps pig roast at the US Embassy.  Come away feeling that you’ve finally met some of the worst people alive today.  Decide that they aren’t really alive after all.
  9. Visit Rwanda.  Return with a suitcase packed as follows: 1 jar boric acid; 1 pack candles; 1 pack cockroach glue traps; 3 40oz bottles of Primus Lager; 5 bars “Genital Wash” brand lavender soap; 3 cartons mosquito-repelling citronella incense; 1 small bird carved out of white stone; 1 bullwhip; 1 Chinese good luck medallion for Year of the Ox covered in red foil.  Pour boric acid around baseboards by candlelight.  Set up glue traps on kitchen countertop.  Light some of the incense.  Put bullwhip on nightstand outside the bed’s mosquito netting.  Drink the beer. Wake up the next day and realize you did it all wrong and lit one of the curtains on fire.  What happened to the medallion?  Bad luck.
  10. Sit in the living room, trying to train a mustard-yellow gecko to fetch a piece of grass.  Do this for hours.  Conclude that the gecko is actually training you to throw the piece of grass and fetch it.  Wonder about the hidden world of geckos.

June Bujumbura 023