President, Royal Drummers of Burundi
Dieudonne Nsabimana arrived in the United States in 2008 and has worked diligently on improving the lives of the Burundian youth ever since. He has recognized the value of introducing and teaching Burundian culture to the Dayton community. By acknowledging and promoting the importance of his culture, he has created and introduced the Burundian Drumline and a women dance group, which have become some of Dayton’s favorite performances to watch.
“I arrived in the United States from Bujumbura, Burundi in 2008 and joined my wife who was residing in Dayton at the time. She and I continue to live in Dayton with our three children.
I currently hold a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Administration. In 2012, I enrolled in a Master’s program in Business Administration at Wright State University, but I haven’t been able to complete the program due to family needs.
My work enables me to be involved in the inner African community, while helping newly arrived refugees settle in Dayton. Through my work, many [refugees] are receiving the opportunity to obtain an education, as well as receive additional free services.
I want to help the Burundian community members and demonstrate to our community that we have a rich and diverse culture that we are eager to share. I encourage our members to get settled and go to school or get a job. After meeting many times with members of the Burundian community, I introduced the idea to create an organization called the Burundian Cultural and Educational Association (BCEA).
Through BCEA and the help of many others, the Dayton International Festival and I were able to bring professional Burundian drummers to America from Burundi to showcase their talents at the May 2014 World A’Fair. Also, in 2011, we held a women’s dance performance and fundraised for more drums. The events were great!”
Influencing the Youth
“The introduction of the Burundian drummers and dance performances were important for our Burundian youth. Most of our youth were born in refugee camps, and have never returned to Burundi to learn about our culture. The Burundian drummers and women dance performance group can teach our youth about our culture and traditions.
The Burundian drummers and dance performances are important to me because these elements of our culture bring our youth together and teach them our culture. The drums are a very unique aspect of our Burundian culture and we are able to display our culture to the American community as well.
The youth are our future, and it is important to keep them out of trouble. The drumming group has given our youth something to do during their free time or when school’s off. They have weekend practices; they have to work really hard to get on the drumline.
The drumline prevents our youth from getting into trouble with the law and being introduced to negative influences. When young people are bored, they usually find something to do and most of the time they get involved in wrong or illegal activities, but if they are positively busy, there won’t be as great of a chance in getting involved in those kinds of activities. Moreover, drumming promotes good heath because every practice or performance is a workout.
Also, we have a soccer team and Burundian Ministry. The Burundian Ministry helps with our youth, as well as adults. The youth are a very important part of our community.”
The Receiving Audience
“Dayton is my home, and if I am able to make it a better place, I will. Introducing the Burundian drummers to our city has created a new genre of entertainment for our neighborhoods. We have introduced a new type of music and dance through our performances. Sometimes, the city looks for new entertainment to attract an audience, and we have contributed to this. But this isn’t only entertainment; it is our history and culture. People are able to learn about the people from Burundi.
Most importantly, we have familiarized ourselves with our native-born neighbors. They can learn from the Burundian community, and people have a positive perspective of Burundians. I want individuals to feel that we are good people; they should have good feelings about the Burundian community.”
“Dayton helps immigrants, refugees, and asylees easily in resettlement. There’s always somewhere to go for help, and someone more than willing to provide assistance. Opportunities are present here. I have had jobs I never thought I would have in my life. Dayton has given me the opportunity to learn new work experiences. I can be an employer again and have employees. In Burundi, I had other people working for me, and I never realized how important their work was until I arrived in the United States and worked for others.
Welcome Dayton has been a blessing for my community and me. Whenever I need something, I can always call for help. Someone is always available to help and provide you with services. I have met numerous individuals from multiple backgrounds. I have gained new cultural knowledge from my new friends.
The city has given me a lot of free services. They give you advice on everything, and it is all for free! I want to thank the Dayton community for taking us in and treating us nicely. I also want to thank Welcome Dayton, Melissa Bertolo, Dr. Theo Majka, and all Burundian community members and friends for their help and kindness to the Burundian community in Dayton!”