I told you I would review Gilbert’s book this week and, since this is the final day of this week, I figured I should keep my word. So, here we go.
A few years back I read a book called Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza on the Rwandan genocide. A movie called Hotel Rwanda was later released shedding further light on the Tutsis/Hutus and what took place there in that country during the early 90’s. What I didn’t realize was that this clash extended beyond Rwanda’s borders.
Enter Gilbert, his family, and their home country of Burundi. Just as I’d fallen in love with the countryside of Rwanda in Ilibagiza’s book a number of years ago, I quickly fell in love with Burundi, farm life and the simplicity of Gilbert’s childhood. I will admit that I’m the teensiest bit jealous that he’s had milk warm from the cow, eggs warm from a chicken and grew up running barefoot (owned his first pair of shoes at age 12). Of course, the harsh reality of genocide interrupts this story once Gilbert, a Tutsi, goes off to school.
I rooted for him as a young runner and student and then my heart broke as his school was attacked by the Hutus. Crawling under charred bodies that had been burned alive, Gilbert still has the burn scars to remind him that he was the only one from his school to survive.
I feel a warm place in my heart for Gilbert because he is a Christian. And he came to Texas. And stayed. And loves it. And runs the same trail each weekend that I do.
Read his story if you haven’t.
As I ran his foundation’s race last weekend, I looked up to the tower over the starting line. He beamed at all of these people who would volunteer their time, money and bodies to this cause (each race bib gives someone in Burundi clean drinking water for life).
A quick side note on the Burundian drummers you see at the finish line. Not only is their music beautiful, but this book explores just how complicated this art actually is – something people should take note of in the live music capital of the world.