Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Read The World - Burundi - This Voice In My Heart

Book: This Voice In My Heart
Author: Gilbert Tuhabonye
Pages: 270
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 77th read for the year.

I counted them up and I have read books from 22 of Africa's countries to date (and am about to finish #23)

This is the true story about the Author.  Gilbert spent his first 18 years of life in Burundi.  He grew up with a loving, Tutsi family and extended family, attended school, was a good student, and a champion runner.  

All of that came to an end in 1993 when he was a high school junior.  The Hutu president was overthrown and killed and the Hutu people living in Burundi revolted.  They came after innocent Tutsi people and started killing them by the 1000s.  Gilbert was at school during an attack and he was the only student from his school that survived.  He had hidden under his burned classmates - was severely burned himself during the attack -  but he managed to escape while all of his friends and fellow students perished.

Gilbert is hospitalized for 3 months and starts the road to healing both emotionally and physically.  He finishes school and started to attend college, but goes after his goal of going to college in the United States and becoming a world recognized track star.  He achieves his dream, and now lives in Austin Texas with his wife and children.  He has long forgiven the people who wronged him and the Tutsi people, but he states he will never return to Burundi.  He still fears for his life there - sure that the Hutu would come after him and kill him if he returned.

I liked this book.  (which sounds weird considering the content).  The writing was fantastic and the story so intriguing that I kept reading even when I should have long gone to bed.  His book goes back and forth between his childhood and growing up in a Burundi that he loved and cherished, and the day of the attack.  He states that even now, he still looks back on his life in Burundi before the attack with much fondness and he cherishes the good memories he had from there.

Gilbert's book was written in 2007 when he was training for the Olympics (I looked him up, but it looks like he didn't go), and had won several awards as a runner.  He wrote this amazing book about his experience and continues to talk about his life in Burundi.  He has co-founded a non-profit called The Gazelle Foundation to help improve the lives of the Burundi people.

His story is inspriational and tragic, and I am so glad I had a chance to read it.  His quote "it is easy to light a fire and difficult to extinguish it" speaks to his perserverance despite everything he has been through.

Stars: 4 1/2


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  2. this sound soo interesting! we just learned about the Hutu and Tutsi conflicts in history this year and i might even pick this up because it was a really interesting topic!