I have been trying to avoid congestions as much as I can, but when I ran out of clean socks in Musanze, I went to the market. Like many other markets across the country, this complex has been transformed into a mall.
I took the stairs all the way to the top floor because I didn’t want to be caged in an elevator with a dozen other shoppers. This was my quickest shopping experience ever. I didn’t negotiate before paying like I usually do. Under normal circumstances, I would have pleaded my case and ensure I am charged the lowest possible price.
Unlike my usual self, I didn’t do window shopping either. I bought what I needed and dashed out of the building. Gone are the days when I used to tour one shop after another looking at goods without intending to buy anything — disappointing sellers who would be deceived by the attention their merchandise attract.
On my way to the exit, I avoided falling prey to persuasive vendors who have mastered the art of tricking mall goers into buying stuff they don’t even need.
I wanted to enter the MTN’s service center and find out why my Irekure pack wasn’t delivering promised bundles but the line was very long. I would rather go four days without the internet than standing at the end of that line.
Before COVID-19, I used to go to the market in every new town. A visit to the market was an experience in itself. It was my way of connecting with members of the local community, feeling their vibe and capturing their spirit.
I like the sound of sewing machines and every market in this country has a swarm of tailors. One of my favorite activities in those markets is to buy a piece of kitenge and watch a tailor turn it into a souvenir or gift within minutes. Tailors take forever to stitch your attires because some of us interrupt them and make them deliver our express orders first. Kitenge can be converted into a shirt, wallet, laptop bag or whatever comes into your mind. This fabric stimulates creativity.
This time around, I listened to the whirring sound of sewing machines from the distance as I rushed out of the building like an escapee of a raging fire. It felt like leaving the show in the beginning of my favorite song.
The author is currently visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Musanze is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours, The Peakspot Lodge, My Hill Ecolodge, Crema Cafe, Volcano Residence, Musanze Caves Hotel, Kingfisher Journeys, Migano Hotel, Ndaza Escape and Beyond the Gorillas Experience