Reflections

1
Knowing Kigali: What caught my eye?
2
Knowing Kigali: Shop till you drop
3
Knowing Kigali: Kigali Genocide Memorial
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Knowing Kigali: This is no walk (or run) in the park
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Knowing Kigali: isoko kimironko
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March in review
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Water, e no get enemy
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Phenomenal Woman
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Flippin’ fat Tuesday
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February in review

Knowing Kigali: What caught my eye?

#1. The cold I thought it rather unusual the chill I felt during the journey to Kigali, but I put it down to the annoying sniffles I had. Then again it had been raining steadily and quite heavily before we left. No respite in the form of rest or peace either during the trip; I had to keep a keen eye on both children, especially after T threw up twice. She has that ringing sensation in her ears, got it from her dad. So my sniffles continued into the chill that characterized the prevailing temperature of Kigali and enveloped us. The kind that dogs your every move, stays on you like a second skin and follows you around like your faithful shadow in the dark. It didn’t help that we arrived during the rainy season. Twice the cold. Even when the sun peeked out through the dull and gloomy weather, that chilly wind always registered its presence. As if to say, I am not going anywhere, people. My morning walks were more acts of bravery and courage than actual exercise. And I certainly didn’t want any added weight at the end of the holiday. The security guards must have thought[…]

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Knowing Kigali: Shop till you drop

While on holiday in a new city, the sightseeing is always a big deal and something to look forward to.. But there exist another activity that holds a much bigger appeal than monuments, mountains, cobbled paths and the local cuisine. Retail therapy. Any traveler to a new land wants souvenirs of the place as hard evidence and/or tangible reminders of the memories of the trip. I am no different. The other day, my mum and I went to isoko kimironko , a typical local market to buy signature Kigali items. Our visit to the African market (which I tagged the Akerele of Kigali) was not only for sightseeing purposes. Unique products sang to my senses, my mum’s and my sister in law’s. And ultimately reduced our currency. Not that we’re complaining. If only we had more to spend… To round off the collecting spree, an Egypt and Middle – East International Shopping Fair coincided with our stay.Thankfully, we had see the advert early enough to reserve some money for it. We would have gladly followed the shop till you drop bidding of the fair’s banners at the entrance (of the venue) if only we had more to spend;the traders came[…]

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Knowing Kigali: Kigali Genocide Memorial

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who hears the name Rwanda would immediately think of the genocide of the ’90s. Unless, of course, the person has been living under a rock for the last 20years. Besides, who goes to a foreign land famous for something or the other — food, music, monument, fashion, event, etc – and doesn’t experience it? Even if your visit is business – related, you’d probably make time no matter how little. It’s like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. Or,London and not touring its signature sights – Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Madam Tussauds, etc. So two days ago, we were at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Morbid but I couldn’t not visit and see it for myself firsthand, in all its gory details. That’s why it took the week of our departure to go there, and two days to bring myself to write about it. Even now it is taking quite an effort. The visual and verbal content on display flash clearly and relentlessly through my mind as Ndandika. The deluge of the images wane as the days go by but they are there, nonetheless. This will not be the first time I[…]

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Knowing Kigali: This is no walk (or run) in the park

‘Mwaramutse,’ replied the elderly security guard to my greeting, walking and pulling his well – worn coat closer to his body to counter the morning chill; His tired legs slowly making their way towards the estate gate, one after the other. He’s probably thinking (in Kinyarwanda): Who is this crazy woman in biker’s short and a short- sleeved t-shirt braving this biting cold at 5.45am? I would ask the same question too if I were in his position. He is one of the three guards I come across on my daily walk each morning. Temporarily, I have abandoned Shaun T. for the lure of the alpine terrain that is Kigali. The first morning, I skipped up a stormy heartbeat rate and enough perspiration in the living room before braving the low temperature that was the breaking dawn. Once outside the gate, I took off in a sprint, up the slightly elevated lane right in front of the house. Big mistake. Huge. I almost didn’t make it to the end of it, where I stood – bent over, hands on my knees, breathless – huffing and puffing like a dog who just got outran by its owner’s faster car. I might[…]

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Knowing Kigali: isoko kimironko

Who goes to the market with a language book? When you’re in a foreign land and want to interact with the locals, you will too. We’ve been here icyumweru kimwe now – my mum, myself and the children- visiting murumuna wanjye, muramukazi wanjye and mwishywa wanjye for a forth night. And this is my first post in a while! Nothing I’m proud of but I did have a sneezing fit upon our arrival and it lasted for a couple of days, replete with headaches, cold feelings and spitting out phlegm. We’ve done mini – tours around the city, especially within our neighbourhood, giving visual and locomotive evidence to the words that confronted us as we exited the airport: ‘Welcome to the land of a thousand hills.’ Umusozi. They are everywhere. Under your feet. At your eye – level. Down your driveway. Up the street. And I have temporarily abandoned my Shaun T. routine for the appeal of jogging, running and walking up a hilly lane and down a sloping driveway. The very next day after we arrived, I drove around our vicinity to get my bearing and be independent of a guide. That experience gave me entirely new driving tutorials[…]

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March in review

And to think this month began with a bang that propelled me to march forth into it – conquering, achieving, succeeding. Another bang. I fell ill. The kind that required medication, rest and recuperation. The sudden halt this brought in my activities was more discouraging than the situation itself. Medication and continuous motion can be a deadly combination. I had to tell myself to take it extra slow and watch helplessly as I lost valuable time in the process. The one bright light though was T’s birthday towards the end of the month. A significant age too. She turned 10 years old . The beginning of the double digits years. She’s becoming a lady poco a poco. Any plans of celebrating the event in school were squashed by exams starting the very next day. She spent most her birthday reading after gulping a medium -sized cup of scrumptious ice cream. Perhaps once the exams are over , we’ll do a little something. I read three books this month (Whiskey Beach, The Carnivorous City and The Lazarus Effect) while still juggling my 9 – 5 job. My consulting gigs are still hibernating. Let’s hope I’d be ready (and still interested) when[…]

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Water, e no get enemy

Wherever you are and whatever you do on March 22, make it about water. -World Water Day It was with renewed sight she stared at the meruwa this morning. Positioned by the opened gates, she watched him heave the iron and wooden makeshift contraption gingerly into the grounds and towards the back of the house where the water tank stood. 12 tired- looking, dirty – black coloured, water – filled jerrycans made iron and wooden rub against each other and creak noisily under their liquid weight. Two of the four wheels on the cart joined in the chorus as they jutted out awkwardly from their once – fixed located in front. Were they always like this? She wondered, as she swung the gates shut. Probably. But she was always occupied with other thoughts to notice before now. Thoughts of her dislike at attending to the gates in order to get water for daily use. Especially during the weekends when she could be using her time in other ways or activities. The length of time the water would last before another round of gate opening was required. How much it costs (financial, emotional, physical) to buy water twice (or sometimes, three[…]

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Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them They say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me. Now you understand Just why my head’s[…]

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Flippin’ fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras. Shrove Tuesday. These are familiar terms to me. I’ve known them for quite a while now. What they stood for. The dessert involved. Their meanings. This is no new territory to me. Then why…why haven’t I, in all my flipping pancake making years marked ‘Fat Tuesday’? Ever? I mean, pancakes were the first kind of pastry I learnt how to prepare in my early teens. My godmother – as she made to leave our house that morning back to hers) ran me through the ingredients and process in about three to five minutes. And since then, it stuck. Thank you, Aunt Alice! While my sisters going gaga kneading spongy dough for chin – chin and mixing batter for vanilla cakes, I was serving up my very first batch of very sweet, very burnt pancakes. That was more than 20 years ago. From one generation to the next As I grew up, so did my mastery and manipulation of this pan – fried cake; from the initial basic sweet ones eaten alone to sweet stacks drizzled with syrup or wedged on the side with yoghurt. There have been those with filling folded into the batter – corned beef, coconut[…]

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February in review

Two months into the year and it’s brimming with activity; a lot has happened already. Buhari is still in London on an extended vacation. Is he alive? Is he dead? Will he return to Nigeria? When? The rumours are as rife as they are varied. While his vice, who seems to be working in the right direction is being compared to his go – slow principal. There was that protest Innocent Idibia (2Baba) instigated and pulled out of barely 48 hours before the scheduled date left a sour taste in some peoples’ palate. The protest went ahead to be staged all right (after all, it wasn’t about him but about the decline of the economy) but some believed it would have been bigger and more effective if he had followed it through. Boko Haram is still making its mark and causing chaos, anarchy, doom and now famine in Northern Nigeria, despite the army’s progress in curtailing their destructive tending. Corruption is still large – scale and in several helpings as more funds (in local and foreign currencies) are still being discovered in unusual hideaways – septic tanks, gutters of politicians’ houses. Let’s not forget the properties too – exotic cars,[…]

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