Deo Niyizonkiza hadn't been here for an hour before the whole campus was calling him by his first name, and by the time he gave an All School presentation, he had the full attention of our small community.
After a day with students and faculty on campus, he gave a presentation for parents, alumni, and friends of the School at a moderated discussion about the geo-political and social situation across the African continent. Also featuring Elizabeth Miller Pittman and Dr. Sean Philpott-Jones, and moderated by Dr. April Burch, this discussion touched on stories from Deo's life, as well as those of his colleagues on stage.
Watch introductions from Interim Head of School, Pieter Mulder, and Director of Math/Science Research, April Burch, here.
Watch the taped version of the webstream by clicking here and inserting Berkshire School.
The next morning, he returned to campus to speak personally with students in a smaller setting, again answering questions and revealing how his organization, Village Health Works, is addressing the unique medical needs of the people of Burundi.
Finally, he sat down with our All School Read Contest winner, Sarah Kinney '15, for a one-on-one interview about his work and his visit.
Watch video of that conversation here.
What you can't see are the many conversations that took place around campus, outside of his official presentations, or the time he spent with every person who asked him a question. After a quick final conversation with a student before he left, Niyizonkiza turned and shook his head. "I feel like I've found another family," he said quietly. If the students who congregated around him are any indication, he might be right.