35 pages 1 hour read

Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2000

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Chapters 3-5Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: "Flights"

Chapter 3 Summary: “Burundi, 1970s”

As the title suggests, this chapter revisits Deo’s childhood. His name, meaning “Thanks be to God,” is something that Deo’s mother learned in church. Many names in Burundi tell stories, and his attests to her gratitude as she gave birth to him. The villages, Kidder explains, are collines or hills, and Deo’s colline is on a hill called Butanza. The village is partially composed of his large extended family, who live in thatched wooden buildings in compounds surrounded by hardened mud walls. Cows are their only valuable resource.

The term “Hutu,” which will play a huge role in Deo’s life and in human history, is something he first hears in school as an adolescent when a girl becomes angry because she thinks he has called her a Hutu. Eventually, after much prodding, his relatives reluctantly explain that Hutus are defined as those who own no or few cows, while Tutsis possess many cows.

Deo’s family owns a bit of farmland down the hill by the lake and Deo becomes one of the young members responsible for tending the land and hauling the food the long distance back to Butanza. Deo’s mother is something of an eccentric figure, often lending out valuable resources like salt.