No, I ain’t angry

The longer you go by yourself, the weirder you get; and the weirder you get, the longer you go by yourself

~ Jim Shepard

Sing it, Shepard! 🎶🎵
Why are you angry?

People have been asking me that a loooot. I’m inclined to start saying yes. It used to bug me when people asked me that. A woman asked me that when I was at the migration offices, to collect my passport; and then a migration officer asked me that at the migration offices, because I looked angry (well, I was just sitting minding my business). They even ask me that at the market while I’m doing some shopping. And did I mention how shopping puts me in all the right moods? I’m a shopaholic, I confess. Yet someone asks me that while I’m shopping!? 

I used to smile and explain that I am okay. “No, no, no, I’m not angry at all!” I am great even. But lately, I have gotten tired of trying to explain that I ain’t angry or even smiling so that people are okay with my face. I don’t mind looking angry or mad anymore. You see, I may be in the happiest mood, and my heart may be doing them crazy somersaults, but then my face be like that of a cold-hearted ruthless manslayer. Because, for reasons He hasn’t disclosed to me yet, God chose to give me this face, that looks like an angry face to everyone. It’s my face, get used to it. 

This summer, I did a self-examination. Though it was short-lived, the results showed that:

  1. I am funny (in texts) but shy in person. And quiet in nature.
  2. I am mature but not mature-mature.
  3. I am very lazy, but again, highly motivated.
  4. I am layered like an onion. I don’t even understand myself sometimes.

So, I am seen as a weird person (you can’t win with people). But I’m still the funniest person I know. My mind is always busy with fun things. Like, I’ll be thinking about helping the Winchester brothers fight off them supernatural creatures when I’m attacked by a random person asking why I am angry. You think I’m angry, right? Well, yeah, now I am. The question makes my heart swell. And nowadays, I’m terrified that one day I’m going to lose it and hurl a series of offensive statements, as I walk away…


I’ve come to accept this truth about myself. I find it tiring being too busy trying not to be weird, or pretending not to be. And I no longer mind how people see me. Wait…did I just say see me? So, people can (really) see me? Hehe. Well, I hope they see me as a very cool person. Okay, okay, they never seem to notice me. So, how would I know how they see me?

But anyways, what’s wrong with being a weirdo anyway? Nothing. Weirdness. I know a thing or two about being a weird person. Being weird is very OK. As long it’s the good kind of weird, a good weird that serves a purpose. Not the awful, creepy, grotesque kind of weird, as they are listed as the synonyms to the word weird. You see, by nature, I am a quiet person and an introvert. I don’t do small talk, and the idea of starting a conversation with a stranger completely paralyzes me. But since that’s what normal people do, being normal like everyone else scares the hell out of me. I spent years hating how socially awkward I am. I often questioned why on earth I was chosen to be like that. And I have tried my whole life to change that. But it seems that I am just a born weirdo. And no, I don’t hate people. I’m just against the usual rules of society. I like other ways of getting along with people. Ways that most people consider weird. Ways that have nothing to do with exchanging small talk with other people. Thus, I am weird.

I’m weird because I like being alone. I’m weird because I imagine a loooot. I’m weird because I can stay indoors the whole day, watching movies all by myself. I’m weird because I don’t like talking (to strangers). I usually walk wearing my earphones even when there’s nothing playing, just to avoid people talking to me. But sometimes, a person clearly sees that I’m wearing earphones and will still try to start a conversation? Really? What’s wrong with people anyway? I’m even weirder because I’m a funny yet quiet person. I have always been told that I should be more talkative with people.

That makes my blood boil! I’ll take weird over that any day. People don’t get it that if I’m leaving you alone it’s because either I don’t like you or I feel we are not connecting or you bore me or I know I’m going to bore you or I would rather be doing something else right now than talking to you. Instead, they be there, suggesting that I should be more talkative. And because I’m not, they label me as weird. And think that because I’m a quiet person, I am angry as well. Hehe. Apparently, I’m not supposed to be quiet and happy. How ironic! Well get it from me…I ain’t angry. I am happy. I am content with my life. 

I’m embracing my odd, outlandish, weird nature. 


The woman who wasn’t helpful

I’m late on this one but hey, better late than never…

The year was 2014. I was interning at RMH (Rwanda Military Hospital). We (the interns) are introduced to a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, which infects almost half of the world’s population and is now considered to be the most prevalent infectious disease known to occur in humans. But I had never heard of it before. 

For as long as I could remember, my Dad had suffered from ulcers. So, I always wanted to do some research about gastric pathologies, though I didn’t know which in particular (cause I hadn’t quite understand his condition). And since there’s also a history of ulcers in the family, the bacterium caught my attention. When I finally learned about the bacterium, I talked to him about it. He told me some doctor had requested he get tested for it, and the result came out positive. The doctor then prescribed some antibiotics and that was it. I also realized that it had been years since I last saw him take his meds at night. I was relieved but still interested in the bacterium and learning more about it.

Fast forward to 2016, as a student in my final year, I had to present a research project before I graduated. From the very first time I’d heard of it, I knew that my dissertation was going to be about the bacterium. Hence, picking a research topic wasn’t hard because I’d already found one. I also was unhappy with what I saw on campus (precisely our department) as a growing number of theses were increasingly focusing on the same area, Parasitology (intestinal worms, to be precise). I wanted to do something different from everyone else’s. 

For data collection, ​I applied for permission to collect the data at this institution that I won’t name. Initially, I was told that it would take 3 weeks to get clearance to carry out my research study (after ethics committee reviewed my proposal). After 3 weeks, I was told to wait another 3 weeks. 3 more weeks later, still there was no response. Carrying out a research study demands lots and lots of patience. I finally got clearance after a delay of 4 months (yeah, I’m very patient). You should have seen me exiting the office with the clearance letter.

I immediately went to the pathology department to present the clearance letter. The head of the lab, a woman who wasn’t helpful at all, suggested I come back the following Monday. The following Monday I was there, very early, with my lab coat and PC, very ready to begin my study. But she bounced me back. And for weeks, instead of helping me get what I wanted she kept giving me excuses…“This week is accreditation week, come back next Monday”, “We are very busy right now, come back next Monday”, one Monday morning while walking to her office she saw me sitting in the waiting room and immediately said to me “Not today, come back next Monday”. The world is full of excuses not to help someone (if you are interested), and she was excellent at finding them. 

So, I was hammered with endless and pathetic excuses, but I wasn’t going to give up. Everytime she saw me enter her office, I swear she wanted to punch a hole in her desk. Hehe. I couldn’t understand why she kept tossing me around like a tennis ball. She’d asked for a confidentiality agreement and I’d written, signed and handed it over to her. I had a recommendation letter from my supervisor, a doctor (*and knows with confidentiality). Besides that, I’d clearance from the institution’s ethics committee. What else did she want? Blood of a virgin?! Or did I look like someone coming straight from a deep & isolated village with no Biomedical background at all?! Or maybe I seemed lousy to her, like I’d no notion of medical ethics. Like I would hold a meeting to discuss the data (read: patient records) with all my neighbors. Hehe. 

Or maybe it seemed to her like she would be giving me the country’s top secret files or nuclear weapons launch codes. Haha. We are also bound by medical ethics, mama! I thought that with the clearance, she had no choice but to give me the data. But I was wrong.

After 4 extra months of more excuses and kissing ass, I was running out of time. My supervisor was constantly calling asking for my draft. It was clear to me that I wasn’t going to get the data to complete my thesis. I had no choice but to change the topic and go for another. A much simpler and easier one, since time was catching up with me. I was very discouraged. On a positive note though, I graduated and with decent grades.

Moral of the story: At some point you’ll encounter sadistic mean people. Have the wisdom to know when to fight and when to take a flight. 

My journey as an artist

I have started a 30-day challenge. To draw a photo, every day. I’m practicing realism, so the challenge helps me improve my drawings. 

Last night I showed Dad my drawings and he told me that I should have studied arts in school (like they would have approved)! I laughed…I remember making drawings and Mom always told me to focus on my studies instead of drawing. They always told me that I could draw after finishing school. So, imagine my munyarwanda ass telling my banyarwanda parents that I want to study art…How would I even bring that up anyway? How would that conversation go?

I would probably wait to tell them over dinner. In a panicked voice, “I want to go to art school.”


“I want to study arts…as in drawing…”

They would both have looked at me like I’m some kind of exotic species. And they probably would have called the priests straight away, to exorcize the ‘drawing’ demon out of me. Hehe.

Anyways, 20-something years later, after earning my degree, I’m back at it. I’m experimenting with realism now. And to be honest, I never thought I could do realistic art. Well, I’ve always been good at drawing…I would make nice drawings of houses, school compounds, gardens, you name it. But I’d never drawn realistic human faces…not like these ones.

Gaju Nicole



My Ma

A young boy


A girl has no name


Well, I am still practicing…The drawings are not as good as I want them to be. But I am proud of myself for making such drawings (since I never went to art school). And with each new drawing, there’s an improvement. So with more practice, I hope to make even more realistic drawings. Better drawings.

More practice…

…in a season of epic brokenness

Have you ever had a dream that was so real you almost believed it? I have. My dream captured a problem that I’m facing now. Brokenness. It was a nice dream, because it provided a hopeful solution: MONEY. I was probably coming from the bank, lost in thoughts about my shopping list (remember those times of epic brokenness). Then I glimpsed in my purse and gasped: Holy shit! I saw money in my purse. A closer look revealed 23 notes (of 5000Rwf) and a 100$ note. Hurray! What was I going to do? I could get on a bus and head to town to buy a few things. Or maybe I could go to the saloon for a hair retouch. Yeah, right. But I had not called my hairdresser to schedule an appointment. So, I made an alternative decision. Since the money wasn’t going anywhere (or so I told myself), I decided to go home, reorganize my shopping list sorting out my top priority needs, and come the next day, ready for shopping! Shopping puts me in all the right moods. 

When I got home, I realized that I had no airtime…I went for my purse and guess what?! There was no purse. No purse, no money. The. Money. Was. Gone! Gone, baby, gone! But hoooow? What kind of voodoo magic was that?

As I was trying to figure out what had happened, I awoke. I’d dreamt of a thing I had wanted in a long time, but now it was all gone. It was like a cruel trick waking up and realizing that it was all FAKE! Frustrated, I went back to sleep, patiently waiting for another dream. One with greater illuminative powers, like pointing me to where I’d lost the purse. No luck.

How often do you have cruel dreams like this? Like that guy you like, asks you out. Or the girl you’ve been hitting on for months, finally gives you a chance. Or your boss gives you a raise, after that good presentation you did. Or your scholarship application has been accepted. The list can go on and on. But then, it’s just a dream!

These days, money is the only thing on my mind. My mind keeps screaming “I should be rich!”

And as much as I would like to think of myself, I’m not self-independent. At least not financially. You know, it’s embarrassing that I still have to ask for money from my parents. Or borrow some money (from time to time) from my best friend (thank you Vicki) to complete my art projects. This is a boring life, I know. Being broke is cruel. Not being able to buy that dress or handbag that you saw in a boutique and liked, is also cruel. It makes me want to reply “Not looking at the price tag while shopping” whenever people ask me the “where do you see yourself in X years.” Spending a month without kissing a beer bottle or tasting some brochettes is super cruel, it’s torturing. Not exploring your dreams is a nightmarish way to live. 

I’m so sick of looking in my purse and not seeing money. I’m sick of waking up and not finding money in my bank account.

I should be rich.

But I don’t really know how to be rich. I do picture myself as a rich woman, but I don’t know how to get there. I have pictured myself having an art career, making lots of drawings and art pieces, and owning an art gallery. And making lots of money out of it. But I don’t know how to get there because now it seems like I’m stuck on this level, and I don’t know how to unlock the next level. Well, I sometimes do get sudden outbursts of motivation to go and make my life better. But then after 5 mins, I’m like “Nah, that’s not happening!” Yeah, because I’m an adult now. I don’t run from my problems, I just sit and ignore them like other adults do. Speaking of which, after much research, experimentation and consideration, I have decided that adulthood isn’t for me. Thank you for the opportunity, though. 

I’m still learning how to journey these untraveled roads that I never asked to be tossed onto.

But I really should be rich.


Bayijahe, umubyeyi w’inyamibwa ndata
Afite inseko isusurutsa nk’umuseke

Yuje ubumanzi n’ubupfura bumutemba ku mutima 

Indoro ye yampaye umunezero ntawe wayisangana

Jye mfura ye nterwa ishema na Rudasumbwa Data

Ahora antetesha by’umutoni nkamukunda

Hahirwa njye umurata kuko ampimbaje 

Erega uwo mubyeyi nsingiza, ntasumbwa kirazira.

Isabukuru nziza nshuti yanjye nkunda cyane.