On our second day at Musana, I spent several hours hanging out in the chapel with the kids. While some of them braided my hair, others crowded around me pointing at pictures in their dictionary that they were unfamiliar with. Hang gliding. Jet skiing. Snowboarding. I tried my best to explain these to them, and I think earned a few cool points when I told them I had been skydiving. (Either that or they didn’t believe me…)
Meanwhile on the stage there was dancing. The older kids were being taught a dance by a choreographer, and seventh-grader DJ Samuel was cranking the volume on the tunes.
These kids have amazing rhythm and moves, and I was excited to see them perform the dance the next morning in church.
We had no idea what this song was they were dancing to, but it was catchy and you couldn’t help dancing along with them. We asked several people – kids and staff – what the song was, and none of them knew. We figured it must just be a pop song.
There was one word that was repeated over and over and over in the lyrics. It sounded to me like “voodie voodie” but others thought it was “bootie bootie”. By the end of the week we’d be saying, “Samuel! Play bootie bootie! Play bootie bootie!” And all the kids and adults would jump up to dance whenever we heard the opening line. (The contrast between the dance skills of the kids and us muzungus is VERY apparent in that video…)
Fast forward to returning to the US. My teammate Cheryl finally solved the mystery and posted the song on Facebook: Furi Furi Dance. We all commented excitedly! This was the song we that had been in our heads for ten days thanks to listening to it probably 100 times! Lyrics were even available! Much of the song was in a Swahili dialect, but parts were in pidgin English. It wasn’t just your standard pop tune though; it was a Christian song.
Throughout, over 150 times in the song (I counted), was this word “furi”. (Hence the title.) I played the song on repeat over and over on YouTube (yes, while dancing) and wondered what “furi” meant, or if it was just a noise to fill up space and sound catchy. I looked around on the internet for a place to buy this song online (no success yet, btw) and stumbled across the answer when someone blogged about the song – “It basically is a song for a believer giving his ‘rife’ ‘furi’ to God.”
Where we were on Uganda, they told us Ls and Rs were interchangeable. (Which led to a funny moment when the headmaster asked who wanted to pray and several of the kids thought he meant play.)
So furi is actually fully.
My life I give it to you fully fully fully fully fully fully.
I’ve sung many a Christian song in my years that talks about surrendering and giving your life to Christ. But hearing the word “fully” 150 times carries just a bit more emphasis, don’t you think?
I was talking in Bible study with some ladies earlier this week about when we “give our hearts” to God that the Spirit does come “live in our hearts”, but maybe we’ve still closed off some areas of our heart and posted “DO NOT ENTER!” signs for him. Areas like our work or our hobbies or our relationships. We know that God wants to be a part of EVERY aspect of our lives, but we stubbornly parcel out only bits and pieces where we think he would be more unobtrusive. Or where we think we have a better idea of how to run things.
So my challenge lately has been to see what corners of my life I have not FURI given to God. I’ll be honest, it’s not always a comfortable thing to give up control and be furi furi furi furi surrendered to God’s plan. But every time I listen/dance to the song, I’m more convinced that the more we give to God the more we will be able to Furi Furi Dance from the resulting joy and peace in our lives.
Photos stolen from my teammate, Jackie. She had a bat poop on her face during our trip, ate bugs, and got baptized. She’s pretty amazing.
The video of everyone dancing was taken by me, though. If you want to see me dance, you’ll just have to ask the next time you see me.