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A lot has changed since last time I was here

A lot has changed since last time I was here

Yesterday, I left the house without a slight clue of where I was going. After working from home for three months, the urge to go somewhere is understandable. I found myself in Kibagabaga and minutes later, I was in Kagugu. Then, I took a right turn somewhere and headed to Batsinda and Gasanze. I didn’t stop there. I kept going and ended up along the Kigali - Gatuna road.

I crossed the signpost that welcomed me to Rulindo District. All along, I never knew Rulindo owns a piece of the Gatuna highway. At some point, I saw gorilla statues mounted on a six feet pillar. Since I miss my cousins from the animal kingdom, I stopped and took pictures. The base on which the three statues stand is written "Iyo zibonye amahoro, zikamwa amadevise." This can loosely be translated as follows: "When they have peace, currency is milked from them."

When I was taking pictures, little boys from the local community gathered around me. I told them to stay far away unless they wanted to contract COVID- 19. They backed off immediately. From the distance, I asked one of them to explain to me how is it possible to milk dollars from the gorillas. His answer was long and incoherent but he had an idea of how it works.

There is a river on the other side of the road. Its banks are embellished with stripes of bamboo trees planted in a bid to fight soil erosion. I asked the boy who answered my first question to tell me why the river was sandwiched by bamboo trees. This time, his answer was on point. However, his friends differed with him. According to them, the trees were just there — simple. They just happened to be there. "Trees grow whenever trees want to grow." They told me. I was bringing complications to their simple lives. There is nothing abnormal about trees flourishing near the river. My question didn’t make sense to them. It was a stupid question anyway.

I wanted to know the name of the river we were talking about. One of the boys told me the river’s name is Kagera. "Are you sure this is Kagera River?" I asked him. His answer was a sound yes. Well, that wasn’t the Kagera I know but who am I to argue with someone who swims there everyday?

I left the area and proceeded to a village known as Chamutara. Then, I took another right turn and went all the way to Kingfish Resort on the Rwesero side of Lake Muhazi. The hotel reopened when the lockdown was partially lifted. I saw a couple of white families wining and dining while enjoying the cool breeze from the flooded valley lake. Another family was on a boat being ferried to the parking lot on the other side of the lake.

I hadn’t been to Kingfish since early January. Last time I was there, the place had a festive atmosphere. It was a weekend and a lot of people from Kigali had escaped to the lakeside facility in pursuit of leisure. A lot has changed since last time I was there but the recovery process is underway. I sat down, sipped some coffee and saw life gradually coming back to normal.

The coffee tasted good but the sun was about to set. It was time to leave and beat the 9 o’clock curfew.

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