Imagine Burundi on 99.4 FM CCIB in Bujumbura, Burundi.

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    As our big announcement stated, Imagine Burundi ended its new broadcasts in July 2013. But keep checking back in our Archive - we will be posting new clips of our past episodes there.

    And don't forget to check out our colleague's new project, The Burundian Way, a weekly radio program at the same hour on the same channel - 3 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday on 99.4 FM CCIB.


The Mean Streets of Bujumbura

Posted by imagineburundi on June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012

We’ve got a new episode in the Archive – a topic that is always on our minds: driving in Burundi. Mostly, we mean Seth and Jeff who complain a lot about how motorists, police officers and pedestrians all collude to create some of the most chaotic situations in Burundi. But beside just feeling frustrated on an individual level (and providing snarky commentary), we recognize how people mistreat each other casually in the streets can illustrate how other kinds of relations can break down and lead to negative consequences. In other words, the environment can shape perceptions.


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Moving Forward

Posted by imagineburundi on June 18, 2012

June 19, 2012

Moving forward. We’re doing this in a lot of ways. First, we’ve marked the end of our grant period for the Wall Award from Grinnell College. We would like to express our thanks again to Grinnell for helping turn Imagine Burundi into something much larger and more thoughtful than what we had envisioned when we started out. In the Archive, we have started uploading shows from the time that the Wall Award funded our activities and, hopefully, you can hear how the show progresses and evolves in terms of our content, our style and our production. This week’s update continues our Coffee Series with an interview from Chicago(!) where we were able to speak to Sarah Kluth, a coffee buyer for Intelligentsia Coffee, one of a growing number of companies sourcing coffee from Burundi. Listen in if you want to hear about coffee farming in Burundi, how coffee buyers operate or simply to learn how coffee reaches your breakfast table in the morning.

And as we do mark the end of the grant from Grinnell, it’s a fair question to ask how the show will keep going. Recently, Jeff traveled to Hong Kong (where he was able to meet up with our old friend Ciza) and he was able to reach out to many individuals about Imagine Burundi and what we are trying to accomplish. The response was overwhelming, both in terms of encouragement and financial support, so we are very happy to announce then that we will be able to continue the show through 2012 and possibly beyond with that support. We’d like to recognize the kind individuals who have given to Imagine Burundi so, in no particular order, we wish to warmly thank Mary Anne Choo, Jonathan Mok, Shirley Tse, Irene Chu, Chris Mikosh, Caroline Yeh and other generous supporters. Thank you for making this show possible for listeners everywhere!

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“Coffee In Burundi” in The Archive

Posted by imagineburundi on April 14, 2012

April 14, 2012

We finally posted new clips in the Archive. It’s Part One of our “Coffee In Burundi” series, which Seth continues to argue (in his head) that it should win awards. The topic is a fascinating gateway to understanding some challenges associated with businesses and economic development in Burundi, as well as being highly informative about coffee in general. Along the way, we also meet quite a few interesting characters. In Part One, that distinction belongs to Ben Carlson, a professional coffee buyer and consultant who is throwing himself into the turbulent world of coffee buying in Burundi. Check it out in the Archive. The Restaurant Review for that show is also very entertaining and, surprisingly, informative.

The next Archive update will be posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. Then we’ll resume the weekly Monday updates.

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Change Is Good

Posted by imagineburundi on March 6, 2012

March 5, 2012

We’ve put up our new clips (sorry for the delay – more on that a bit) to our Archive. The topic is ‘Arts and Culture’ and builds on feedback from the two previous episodes about ‘What Is Burundi?’

Quite a few of our respondents for ‘What is Burundi?’ mentioned Burundian culture as a trump card for the country’s tourism push. We’ve also been looking for an occasion to dedicate the first of many shows to this topic. This live episode starts us on another exploration to look at yet another aspect of life in Burundi. Hopefully, we’ll spend many more episodes looking at different media productions and art forms here and throughout the region.

Now about that delay in posting new clips to the Archive, we’re undergoing a transition. We’re sad to announce that Jeff just left Burundi but that also means we’ve just elevated Elvis to Producer. Congratulations, Elvis! Jeff will attend a Masters degree program in the U.S. starting this Fall but in the meantime he will continue hosting segments and producing shows for Imagine Burundi. He’s already got an idea to track down Ciza in southern China during his travels to interview him about his progress so far!

We also want to remind our readers that we are on Facebook and we will be posting more photos and film clips from Imagine Burundi events to our page. Check it out to see “how radio should look.”

And speaking of events, Jeff and Seth were guests recently on Real Talk Burundi, CCIB’s new English radio music and talk show hosted by Leah Hazard and Dedo Baranshamaje. Things got tricky when Jeff and Seth flashed their Imagine Burundi colors and almost conducted a hostile takeover of the show, but everything calmed down once the beer-tasting contest started and the beer started to flow. Photos coming soon!

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Part Two of “What Is Burundi?”

Posted by imagineburundi on February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012

The second part of the mini-series “What Is Burundi?” is up in the Archive. Listen in to hear what Burundians think of their country.

And don’t miss the second week of Real Talk Burundi with Leah and Dedo on Saturday at 2 p.m. on CCIB! After a wildly successful debut, they return this week to talk about drinking cultures – different types of beverages, how people behave while drinking, the spaces in which people sit around and drink. Plus, they will have their first guest on for the show. You can follow Leah and Dedo on their blog here.

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Many Firsts

Posted by imagineburundi on February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012

There is so much going on at Imagine Burundi right now.

We held our first ever contest open to listeners on February 4, 2012. Building off our Job Advice segments, we held the 60-Second Pitch Contest in the CEBULAC building, which also houses the “American Corner,” a new English-resource library sponsored by the American Embassy in Bujumbura. (A big hearty thanks goes out to Anita Doll and Eloi Ndabahagamye from the U.S. Embassy for participating in the event!)

The contest featured 10 participants who each gave one-minute presentations on a business or project idea that they think could help Burundi’s development. Our business-savvy listeners might know the ’60-second pitch’ as the ’60-second elevator pitch’ but given how few elevators there are in Burundi, we had to modify the name but the concept remains the same.

The idea of this scenario is that you encounter someone of influence, like a wealthy investor, and you have only 60 seconds to introduce yourself and present your idea so that the investor might be interested in learning more. Imagine Burundi previously broadcasted several segments dissecting the 60-second pitch scenario, and Chris even tried his hand at preparing one. We’re not sure how Chris would have fared at the contest against such a strong field full of innovative ideas…

60-second pitch contest

Jeff speaking at contest

Visit the link on the right to check out our expanding Facebook page, and watch us move into the 21st century! On that page, you can see more photos from the 60-Second Pitch Contest.

In the Archive, we’ve started the “What Is Burundi?” mini-series. The question is a fair place to start, given how little is known internationally about this tiny East African country. In Part One, we put the question to some Kenyans in Nairobi. In the second part of the series, coming on Monday, we will hear Burundians’ responses to the same question – with much different results. Hopefully, everyone will learn a little bit more about Burundi.

And finally, Imagine Burundi is very happy to introduce a brand new English-language radio show on CCIB, starting this Saturday, February 11. It’s been a long-term goal for us to expand English radio programming in Burundi, and we are now achieving it. Real Talk Burundi looks at social issues from a pop culture perspective, mixing music, gossip, lively debates with snappy personalities, which means…Dedo! The show is hosted by Leah Hazard and Dedo Baranshamaje, whom you might know as a reporter for Imagine Burundi. Look for Real Talk Burundi to start popping up on Twitter and other social media sites, and a podcast should be available soon. For listeners in Burundi, you can tune in to Real Talk at 2 p.m. every Saturday on 99.4 FM CCIB, right before Imagine Burundi.

Check out the Real Talk Burundi blog here!

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Imagine Burundi in the News!

Posted by imagineburundi on February 1, 2012

February 1, 2012

Hey, everyone, we just learned about an innovative international news website and we are incredibly excited about it. Latitude News is a news service that brings readers international happenings from all over the world to reveal those events’ importance to readers’ lives in the U.S. We’ve known about their project for about a week and we’re already big fans. In particular, we share their same mission to make international events seem “less foreign,” and whether we are doing that from the U.S. or from Burundi, we think it’s time media sources reduce, not reinforce, cultural and geographical divisions through their coverage. Check out Latitude News by clicking here.

Or visit this link for their story about a nifty little project called…Imagine Burundi!

The good folks at Latitude got word of Imagine Burundi and wrote up this generous article about our work. Imagine that – Burundi in the news! This piece, coupled with the waves of listener feedback we have been receiving, is the best indication that Imagine Burundi is working, that people are catching on and seeing how it can help countries with similar challenges to Burundi. A very warm “Thank You” to all of your, our listeners and supporters.

On the activities front, we’re having some problems with our internet connection so our weekly Archive update is late. But stay tuned because the next two additions to the Archive form a two-part mini-series on “What Is Burundi?” We know it’s no surprise that the world knows little about Burundi, but what about Burundi’s neighbors? What do they know about Burundi as a country and Burundians as a people? We will explore those questions in Part One of the series. The following week, we will post the second part to find out how Burundians themselves answer the question, “What is Burundi?”

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Our First Post of 2012

Posted by imagineburundi on January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012

Lots of new things are happening here at Imagine Burundi. First, we are very pleased to welcome two new members to the team: Dedo Ndayishimiye and Amina Nshimirimana have joined us as Field Reporters to bring us new guests and new stories. Our listeners might know a bit about Amina from previous broadcasts, including her trip to Kigali, but we will tell you more about both shortly on the Team page. Welcome Dedo and Amina!

Another important piece of news is that we have changed our schedule. The show still airs at the same time but now we will be live in the studio every other Saturday. We decided to make this change (even though we love produced shows) because our listenership is increasing and we wanted to give callers more opportunities to address us on the air. We hope this change will create more dialogues between our listeners and us. The next live show is on Saturday, January 28, at 3 p.m.

Also, we just want to warn everyone now – we are working on “Chris Sings Chris.” Why the warning? Because the song is Chris Brown’s “Beautiful People.” You might say Chris got a bit jealous of Elvis’ star turn with “Elvis Sings Elvis” so he put together his own little performance. We’ll post that in the next couple weeks. There might even be video.

Finally, we continue adding new clips to the Archive each week. This week’s clip about “Coming Home” got a bit of airplay last July after a part of it was posted on WBEZ Chicago’s Worldview when they interviewed Jeff. It’s the story of Seth’s journey on Kenya Airways. It’s ridiculous, it’s hilarious, and it’s definitely an Imagine Burundi classic.

Happy 2012!

Oh, by the way, we got some nice feedback about the Holiday Special’s review of ice cream options around town. So, for anyone curious about what the Azam ice cream bikes look like, here are a few photos. When Jeff said the menu was painted on the bike, he meant literally hand-painted – to stunning effect. We even got a shot of the interior.

Azam ice cream bike

Azam bike interior

Seth on Azam bike

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Our 2011 Holiday Special!

Posted by imagineburundi on December 27, 2011

December 27, 2011

It’s the rare special occasion where our local broadcasts and our digital archive intersect because there’s a time gap between them. But this year, we were so excited about our holiday show that we wanted to share it with our listeners in Burundi and abroad at the same time.

The show features our newest reporter, Amina Nshimirimana, who had been on Imagine Burundi as a guest. We were so impressed by her insights and communication style that we asked her to conduct some interviews for us. She came back with some astonishing interviews of Burundians and their experiences with love. So just like last year’s Holiday Special (which you can find as “Episode 5 ‘Gift-Giving'” in our Archive), we have compiled the stories into one episode. This year’s Holiday Special is on the theme of “Love Stories in Burundi.” (Two clips: 25 and 21 minutes)

And just like last year, we have a special Restaurant Review, where we sample different inexpensive ice cream options around town and make our recommendations. Ice cream is relatively new in Burundi but its popularity and access have really jumped in the last year so we wanted to let our listeners know some of the best choices around town. (15 minutes)

So please find below the entire Holiday Special show “Love Stories in Burundi,” our 50th episode of Imagine Burundi. The show has been divided into three clips for easier upload/download. We hope you enjoy it.

Happy rest of 2011!


1. Episode 50 “Holiday Special: Love Stories in Burundi” (Clip 1)

2. Episode 50 “Holiday Special: Love Stories in Burundi” (Clip 2)

3. Restaurant Review: Ice Cream!

(Right click on the link above and select “Save As…” The files are in mp3 format.)

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Coming Up for the Holiday Season

Posted by imagineburundi on December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011

It’s been a hectic holiday season for us, lots of travel all around – Seth was off on an unrelated project to Somalia and South Sudan, Jeff conducted some reporting in Uganda and Elvis recently completed a trip around Burundi to look at local tourism options. But even with all the running around, we managed to sneak in some outreach work. Last week, we visited the Lumiere (“Light”) University English Club to talk more about our work.


Photo by Elvis Sinzinkayo

And coming up on this Saturday’s show is our second ever Holiday Special! It’s great timing because it also happens to be our 50th episode. Last year, we compiled a series of stories on gift-giving and also talked about our favorite chocolate dessert items in town. This year, we are going to present “Love Stories in Burundi” and our favorite ice cream options in town. Check back next week after we post those clips online!

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