Today, I am reminiscing about my recent stopover at Mashyiga Rocks in Kamonyi District. Earlier on that memorable day, I toured Ibiti Bitanu and Ikiryamo cy’Inzovu in Rukoma Sector of the same district. Before I left the area, I passed by Mashyiga and spent some time soaking up the beauty of the rocks and the surrounding landscape.
After hiking Mashyiga trail, I took a breather on one of the new benches placed on the rocks. The view from the bench is spectacular and the air up there is cleaner. In addition, the gentle wind comes with the natural scent of eucalyptus trees surrounding the rocks.
Mashyiga is derived from a kinyarwanda word amashyiga — the stones set up as pillars that hold a cooking pot. If you are reading this from Toronto, our traditional cooker comprises three stones. Fire is made between the stones on which the pot is placed.
This site is called Mashyiga because of the rocks that stand together as a team to fulfill a common goal, just like the three stones holding a cooking pot in my grandmother’s kitchen.
Speaking of cooking, once upon a time, two wives of King Yuhi III Mazimpaka were burned alive on these rocks. The two queens, Kiranga and Cyihunde, were put to death after the jury found them guilty of conspiring with an unwelcome guest, King Nsoro III Nyabarega of Bugesera. Our traditional courts’ judges were notoriously harsh.
My plan was to spend only a few minutes on the bench but I ended up sitting there for a couple of hours. It is from this bench where my last story was written. After publishing the piece, I put my devices away and felt the invigorating effect of that eucalyptus-scented gentle wind.