I am writing this from Chemchem Restaurant located in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District. A few minutes ago, I read one of my old posts titled We Shall Get Through This. I wrote that piece on March 20, 2020 while drinking tea on the terrace of Blackstone Lounge found on the second floor of the KBC building.
I remember that day vividly. The atmosphere was different. Tables, placed meters apart, were fewer than usual. The scattering of furniture was not the only thing that looked different, I was also the only customer.
On the first floor, Café Camellia had just been closed. Across the street, Kigali Height’s Java and Riders were deserted. The Kigali Convention Center and Radisson Blu hotel looked abandoned. Traffic along the KN 5 road was lighter than usual. This happened when Rwanda had confirmed only 11 cases of Covid- 19 with zero deaths.
After downing my last cup of tea, I left the lounge and headed home. That was the last day I stepped out of the gate until May. Yes, I stayed at home longer than the duration of the first lockdown. During the confinement, I kept myself busy reading and exercising. I also attended an online course that enables bloggers to write short stories in ten minutes or less.
A lot has happened ever since. According to Worldometer, the pandemic has claimed more than 4.7 million lives globally so far. From the look of things, there are numerous unreported deaths. The actual figure is probably much higher. The economy is hit hard and mental health effects are alarming.
It has been a rough stretch but I see light at the end of the tunnel. Today, I am out drinking tea again. This time round, from a new joint that didn’t exist before Covid. Chemchem restaurant is in the premises of the splendid Jalia Garden. Part of the old garden is now occupied by a state-of-the-art hall built during these difficult times.
We are not out of the woods yet. The war against Covid- 19 is far from over. If you have access to the vaccine, don’t hesitate to roll up your sleeve and get the jab. Eventually, we shall get through this. Together, we will bounce back stronger than ever.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Gasabo is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours and Travel, The Click Creations, Elimo Real Estate Ltd and Exposure.