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essays | places


walking on frozen eggshells


   It’s easy to talk a great deal in hindsight, but it’s hard to interpret Rwanda’s today without leaning on its past. Especially, since that past is so unfathomably young. Beneath all the calm gentleness, tidy order, artful modernity, worry-free security, and holistic progressiveness that the reincarnated Rwanda was made of, there was a crackling frost, as though an entire nation was walking on frozen eggshells. The shock still reverberated in the collective consciousness, arresting all those melodic African fluctuations and vibrations to a certain degree of caution and hesitancy. The nation didn’t seem to know exactly where it was going yet, but every move was chosen carefully and pointed towards, not backwards. Often on a bicycle. A lesson, maybe the lesson, had been learned the hardest way: unity over division. If only such lessons could be learned remotely – across seas of time, space, and peace – maybe we would know by now how to stop those with genocidal tendencies.


Little Rwanda was the continent’s spleen – a nation that had managed to filter out much of the bad blood European imperialists had injected. The cultural, political, and economical cleansing was spearheaded by Rwanda’s semi-benevolent de-facto dictator who seemed to do a good job by bad means. By the time I got there, Rwanda had already banned plastic bags, miles ahead of most countries. Good. But with the upcoming 2017 election I also saw a very one-sided, lopsided political stage that was plastered with heavy RPF propaganda and nothing else. Bad. But I’m painting black and white over the colorful canvas that is Rwanda. Mostly tea-green.


places / stories


Kigali / Unimaginable Realities

   Unassuming and soft, I liked Kigali the way one likes spring. It was a quiet and neat place where the crazes and buzzes were mostly most moderate, even when riding the back of a boda boda (moto-taxi). It was as though everybody was holding back a bit. You didn’t have to go to the genocide museum to feel the chill that remained in the air. You couldn’t imagine what had happened, couldn’t fit the dimensions into the mind’s tight faculties, and the heart couldn’t be quite agonized, sad, and heavy enough to relate the gravity with its percussion. Only the soul had a firm understanding of it, somewhere deep down.