Yesterday after work, I had some free time so I headed off to the African Joint-Pavilion. Unlike other countries that have huge buildings to themselves, the African nations are joined together under roof. The African nations have stalls, booths, rooms- every country is different. Stalls are laden with African goods- sculptures, carvings, jewelry, henna- and each nation proudly flies its flag. The Joint-Pavilion is a great mix of many nationalities and cultures.
While inside, I stopped by the Rwandan Pavilion to practice my Kinyarwandan. Luckily, the man I spoke to followed “the script,” as I call it, and used exactly the words I’ve learned.
Muraho, Mwaramutse. Amakuru? (Hello, good morning, how are you?)
Ni meza. Murakoze chane. (I’m good, thank you very much.)
It was short and to the point. Nonetheless, he was impressed and we soon became good friends. His name is Sosthene. We’ve agreed to meet up every few days and practice our mutual languages together. Sounds good to me!
After that, I swung by the Burundi Pavilion to say hi to Francois, a friend I had made a few days ago. He was extremely happy to see me and even sent me a text later that day telling me how happy he was that we had become friends. He even informed me today that he got an invitation for me to attend Burundi’s National Day! –Each nation gets to celebrate their country on a certain day. This often includes special performances at the large Expo Performance Center and invitations are mandatory. Thanks to Francois, I will now be watching Burundi dancers tomorrow and celebrating Burundi’s National Day. Go Burundi!