MRC was invited by the Houston Zoo to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for their $40 million dollar African Forest Exhibit on September 10, 2009. Peter Riger, the conservation director of the Houston Zoo, asked for authentic performers from the Central/East Africa region and we were able to provide traditional Congolese dancers and music from Burundi.
Part of the goal of MRC is to provide opportunities for refugees to continue to thrive in their culture while adapting to a new one. One way we do this is to provide occasions for refugee artisans and musicians to share their gifts in ways that are rewarding to them
These refugee girls from the Congo- aged 10-18- performed a traditional dance from East Africa. This dance is typically performed at church, weddings and other ceremonies.
These refugee men are singing traditional Burundian songs while Daniel plays his ikembe. The 2 older men were settled to Austin as refugees just a few years ago and the adjustments of older refugees are different and sometimes more challenging than some others face. It is beautiful that they can be assisted by younger refugees such as Alexander who respect the culture but can help be a bridge to the new culture in which they are settled.
We got to spend the afternoon exploring the zoo and a good time was had by all!