The Campus Bridge

Using Culture to Teach Young Generations: The Barundi Story

Short Story

Melissa Rene Kaze
2nd Year Student - African Bible UniversityMelissa Rene Kaze


Two men were friends for a long time and their wives were expecting. One day, John called his friend, Deo, to come to his home to share with him some drinks as usual. As the two men drank and laughed, Deo ask John, “My friend John, we have been good friends for a long time and now our wives are expecting. I have a request; I want you to give me an answer that will give my heart peace and joy.” John was intrigued by his friend's request. John answered, “Yes, my friend I will give you the answers that will soothe your heart.”

After a long moment of enjoyment, Deo decided to ask if John would accept dowry from him on behalf of his son who is in his wife's womb for John's daughter, who is also in her mother's womb.
“Do you want to pay for my baby in womb?” asked John.
Deo replied, "Yes, I want our friendship to be extended far beyond our generation. John accepted and Deo paid one thousand herds of cattle for dowry."

When the children grew to the age of 15, (in Barundian culture people use to get married at a young age). Deo sent his son Matthew to his friend John for his bride Mary. When John saw that his daughter Mary had grown into a very beautiful woman, his heart hardened and he wanted more cattle from his friend Deo. Afraid to ask Deo directly, he decided to revenge his quest on Deo's son Matthew, his son in law to be. John gave Matthew hard tasks.

Very early in the morning, Matthew would go milk the cows before going to the garden. Matthew did not regret the hard labour because he wanted to get his bride. Everyday Matthew did his work cheerfully maintaining a merry heart as he worked. This would annoy John who thought that hard tasks and labour would discourage Matthew and he would abandon to marry his bride-to-be, Mary. As if this were not enough, John called Matthew and he said to him, “my son, Matthew I am happy for the work you are doing and this shows me that you will take care of my daughter well. I am going to give you two tests; if you pass them, you will marry my daughter Mary. Moreover, if you fail I will send you back to your father. That evening John gave Matthew his first test. He said to him, "Tomorrow I want you to go to the garden to collect sorghum that you harvested yesterday and bring it home."

The following day, John woke up very early in the morning before dawn, poured sorghum on the ground, and mixed it with sand. Matthew woke up from his sleep to go and do his first test but only to find out that the sorghum was down on the ground and mixed with sand. Matthew was very upset, because sand made the work a very difficult task to perform.

Matthew went behind the house and begun weeping and sang songs of lament. “My father told me that he married a wife for me, yet my heart cannot reach her. My father was a good man and a friend to everyone. But who is there to help me?”
While he was still pouring his sorrow, his aunts came to help him. They said to him "why are you crying? Have you forgotten that your father was a good man? We have come here to help you."

Right away Matthew's aunts started putting sorghum together while Matthew brought baskets for collecting them. The women collected all the sorghum without any sand in it. As fast as possible the work was completed. Immediately Matthew went and called John to come and inspect his work. John was in a deep shock when he saw that Matthew had passed the first test successfully. John was ashamed of his evil deeds, yet he did not stop there. He continued to mistreat Matthew.

Full of hope, Matthew was eager to go on with the second test, although John wasn't. In life not everyone will be excited about your progress and successes. John went to consult his wife about the nature of Matthew's second test. He also told his wife how he was afraid that Matthew would protest against his command. His wife asked him to tell Matthew that this was his last test. Should he pass, they will give him their daughter Mary in marriage.

John was startled because he could not understand what his wife meant. Then he asked, “what do you mean? And what impossible thing are we going to ask Matthew to do for us this time?" With a squeaky voice his wife replied, “That is easy. Let us ask him to choose the cows his father gave us for a bride price and let him select all the calves born to them. "Oh, that is wonderful," exclaimed the excited John. Impressed by his wife's 'brilliance,' he quickly agreed since he thought it would be an impossible test for Matthew to pass.
When John came out of the meeting with his wife, he was certain that this time Matthew would not succeed. People can plan but they forget that God in heaven watches over all things.

Matthew was baffled when John informed him about his next test. He said to himself, "how can I know the cows my father brought when I was not yet born?” Mockingly John replied Matthew, "Do you want a wife or not?" while sobbing.
Matthew replied, "Give me a day to plan what I am going to do."

Matthew went behind the house and began weeping. His tears flowing like a river in the rain. Some flies came and asked him, "Why are you crying son of Deo? Is there anything we can do to make you happy?”
"Oh no," replied Matthew, "my friends I do not think there is anything you can do to help.

Matthew narrated to them how John told him to choose from his herd the cows his father gave to him as a dowry for his daughter Mary. "You see I was not yet born so I do not know them.”
"Only that?" replied the flies. "You know when your father was here to pay dowry for Mary we were here too. We are going to help you. Here is a sign we shall give you. Tomorrow, very early in the morning, come to the corral. When the cows are standing outside the kraal, we shall fly and land on the cows and those that will run, shall be the ones that you will choose."
Matthew felt relieved and went home to sleep. He had a good night's sleep because he knew that tomorrow he would succeed.

Meanwhile, John and his wife were very anxious to see Matthew humiliated, as it would be their victory. They did not know that Matthew had secret friends who would come to help him. Early the following morning, Matthew rose from his bed to go milk cows. John came to him and told him that at exactly 10:00 a. m., before the cows go to graze, he should choose which cows his father gave to them.

At exactly 10:00 a. m., all the cows assembled in multitude while Matthew waited for his friends, the flies to give him signs. Soon the flies got into action, by flying over and landing on the cows. One by one, as Matthew picked them out. The long-awaited moment John had expected to disgrace Matthew had come; but the flies were busy singling out the cows and their calves. Matthew was very swift picking the animals one by one, as he understood the signs very well

As he was about to finish, John and his wife began asking themselves why there were very more flies than usual. When they saw that Matthew had chosen all the cows and their little ones, John and his wife were so embarrassed. They decided to confess to Matthew why they were treating him so badly. In the end, they asked for forgiveness.

Matthew forgave them and immediately went to John's house. He took his bride Mary and, right away, departed for his father's house.

The Moral of the Story

The story teaches us to remain faithful when we enter into a covenant relationship. It also teaches us to be patient in trials because there is hope at the end of the journey. Forgiveness is powerful than hatred. Therefore, let us teach our children values that they may know how to live in the community with other people.



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