February 4, 2020

Drumsolo for Burundi

Sr. Mariana Hermann

Drummer literally drums up
money for Burundi

In a 20-hour recording session in a recording studio near Munich, Bernhard Boll created the anchor for the project of his heart: A drum solo, with which he raises money – for a new clinic in the Mutumba mission station (Burundi/Africa).

The YouTube video is six and a half minutes long.
To experience: varied rhythms – peppered with light and special effects. The donation project is in cooperation with the mission headquarters of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

Bernhard Boll received the first impulse for the project in June 2019, when he visited his mother. The subject was the deceased aunt Erna Kiebler. She was a member of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and was sent to South Africa in 1952 at the age of 23 as Sister M. Bernita. In 1962 she went to Burundi in East Africa with two sisters.

The mandate was to establish a mission station there. Today there is a chapel, a health center with outpatient clinic, maternity ward and a 40-bed infirmary, a nurses’ station and a higher level business school with a boarding school. However, a small clinic, where even simple operations such as caesarean sections can be performed, is still missing.

Until her death, Sister M. Bernita had played a decisive role in the construction of the mission station and helped thousands of people in need. Already in 1992 she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard von Weizsäcker.

For the family man, who had been in correspondence with his aunt for years, the visit to his mother was the beginning of his heart’s project: “Together we looked through pictures, newspaper reports and documents of the last 60 years. We had a very emotional conversation. In the process, I once again became really aware of what this woman has achieved,” says Mr. Boll.

The idea of combining the project with his great passion, playing the drums, was quickly born. “The connection between my aunt, the country and the mission station as well as my hobby is simply fascinating,” he says enthusiastically.

After all, the drumming culture in Burundi is unique: The boys there are already learning in the

first years of school to play the instrument and above all to build it. The so-called Karyenda drum as a symbol of hope and peace should therefore not be missing at any festival or service.

In autumn 2019 things became serious for Bernhard Boll: The recording of the video in the recording studio was due. “I was really very nervous at the beginning,” admits the hobby drummer. “But I got to know great people who supported me in everything, be it the sound and film recordings or the editing.” Despite many helping hands, it took more than 20 hours until the sound and lighting effects were right and the video was in the box. “I think I played the drum solo 30 times that day,” says Mr. Boll and laughs.

The 50-year-old created the solo himself and also programmed a corresponding website. Since the beginning of November everything is online. So far, donations of around 10,000 euros have been received. Plans for the construction of the small clinic are already underway.

Boll knows that there is still a long way to go before he reaches his goal. But he says: “I am happy about every donation, no matter how small, and I hope that people will forward the link to the website in their area, so that as many as possible know about this project”.

This year Bernhard Boll will travel to Burundi for the first time. “Until now I was a bit afraid because of the many riots there. But now I am determined.”

The video, the donation possibility and other exciting information about the project can be found at