Laura Gordon

Laura Gordon (Survivor Corps in Burundi): Laura worked as an English teacher in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 and Thailand in 2003. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Oxford with a 1st Class degree in Modern History. After graduating, Laura worked in Uganda as a research intern for the Uganda Human Rights Commission. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. After her fellowship, Laura wrote: “I'm more comfortable in my skin now, and after a couple of years of wondering where I belong, I'm now sure that it's overseas in the development world. I love Burundi and I'm desperate to go back.”



Dancing in the City

12 Jun

There aren’t that many capital cities in the world where you can be driving home and see a traditional dance troupe, made up of young students, practicing by the side of the road. But it happens in Bujumbura. It’s the first time I’ve seen any traditional Burundian music, but it is literally, jaw-droppingly incredible. They balance enormous heavy drums on their heads and march around with them, playing in rhythm while kicking their feet. Then for the second section, they put the drums down, and take turns dancing and jumping in the middle – jumping literally metres into the air; check out these videos, especially the jumping guy at the end of the second one. All I can say is that the world better watch out for the Burundian High Jump team!

Drums and Dancing in the City

After the practice Pierre Claver, who knows everybody, introduces me to one of the performers, Eddie. He tells me that the group was formed by students in secondary schools and at the university, and that they get paid upwards from 200,000 Burundian Francs (about $165) per performance, and that they are using it to support themselves, and in some cases their families as well, during their studies. Eddie himself finished secondary school last year, and has taken a year off, but plans to enrol in the university next year. He also tells me that they have been invited to perform worldwide – but have not yet been able to do so due to being unable to get visas, but that even if he could stay in the US, he would always come home.

Drums and Dancing in the City

However, perhaps the most inspirational part of the performance came at the end, when someone on crutches got up to dance, beating the drums and dancing on the crutches as a full part of the troupe. The to me demonstrated more clearly than almost anything else how people with disabilities can participate in almost anything – even activities that depend on enormous levels of physical fitness and ability.

 Drums and Dancing in the City

Drums and Dancing in the City

Posted By Laura Gordon

Posted Jun 12th, 2009

3 Comments

  • Ingo

    June 12, 2009

     

    Hey!

    Looks like Burundi is already full of exciting experiences! Cannot wait to read more about your beautiful time down there!

    Ingo

  • Julie

    June 15, 2009

     

    It’s absolutely amazing. Thanks Laura for sharing that with us.

  • Elaine Gordon

    June 16, 2009

     

    Great dancing. Thanks for filming it.

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