Gunfire and xenophobia


I was seated in a popular Italian restaurant in Bujumbura with a few friends. We heard two rounds of machine gun fire which sounded really close. We were on an open balcony where you could easily have been hit by a stray bullet and we were at the table closest to the machine gun fire, with a couple of us completely exposed.

There was a general movement of the crowd away from the exposed side of the restaurant, but it very quickly settled. Some of us had jumped up and run to the back where the kitchen is. After a minute or two nothing more happened, and all the Burundians just started to laugh. And I felt stupid for having run in the back.

A very drunk man, who had been the first to run for cover, started to slur at me: Don’ worry, don’ worry. Where are you from?…

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