I Have A Story…

Today I have a story to tell. A true story. An ugly story, not a fairy tale.

Yesterday morning, I woke up in a jolly mood. The previous night, I had had a salad and I had the best dreams. My bed is comfortable and safe that I slip inside it and minutes later I’m in dreamland. That night I dreamt about one good friend of mine whom I miss so very much. The dream was vivid and more exciting than my real life. I woke up missing him ten-fold that I wanted to holla at him. Unfortunately, I lost his number (well I got his number. Thanks for asking).

Through the window, I could see the sun replace the moon. The morning that comes too early, wondering why my time with bae has been cut short, yet again. As I tossed and turned in my bed, I sighed. I just didn’t want to leave my bed (but is it just my bed that gets extra comfy in the morning, or?) And I miss my friend. By nature, I am a sensitive person and I feel many things on a way deeper level. Yeah, I am a weird person…keep moving. Thank you. 

So, I had plans with Vicki, to go shopping (what would I do without my Vicki?) and later attend a wedding. I went to her place. However, I should have called her before heading there because what happened after arriving at her place was in a word, AGONIZING!

There were kids playing in the compound. 5 or 7 kids. One of the kids, a cute little boy, told me that Tantine is not there. Whaaat? Maybe she went to the shops? Maybe she went to buy airtime? That’s what I thought. I got my phone and tried to call her…but I’d no credit on my phone! Aaaarrggh! 

As I was fidgeting with my phone, buying airtime, another girl approached me and told me (again) that Tantine is not there. I ask her whether Tantine had told her where she went, to which she obviously replied “No” (what was I even thinking asking her that anyway?) Finally, minutes later I talk to Vicki and she tells me she’s on her way. I just had to wait.
I sat quietly by the doorstep, enjoying Vit D, waiting… 

“Is Tantine your friend?” the boy asks me.

“Yes, she is”

“She’s our friend too. She brings us biscuits” he says as he goes to join the others.

The girl comes back abruptly, and asks me why I’m still there, why I haven’t left yet *rolls eyes*…she was starting to get my damn nerves. They all were. 

I was getting super bored. So, I played music on the iPod.
The girl came back, sat next to me, and asked to listen to what I was listening to. Then she asked me to lend it to her.

“NO!” I replied instantly.

Off she went. I wore my gloomy face to scare them off…and I thought it was over. But minutes later, every kid wanted to listen from my earphones. And they almost tore apart my earphones.

And that was it. They were driving me up the wall. I closed my eyes, counted to ten, took a deep breath, grabbed my bag and walked away. I went and stood by the roadside, waiting for Vicki…

Minutes later Vicki came and we went back to her place. And we didn’t go to the wedding.

Fast forward to 6 PM, we were heading to town for shopping. Buses take longer to get there and it was getting late, so we took motorbikes. It was beginning to drizzle. But the intermittent drizzle was little and didn’t spoil our shopping. And before heading back home, Vicki gave me some money that I kept in my purse. When I reached home, I looked for the money to buy airtime but it was gone! I don’t know how. The note must have fallen from the purse, but I didn’t notice it. I then asked for some money (from Mom) and I sent the househelp to buy me airtime. And guess what? The airtime was sent to another number. To a wrong number. Yeah, great!

I woke up feeling red hot but went to bed feeling like I was in a deep freeze.

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Disturbing the Peace 

​A medium sized, middle class suburb located 19 km from the City Center, hence the name “cuminicyenda”. We moved here in 2004. We hate this place for its remoteness to almost everything…the market, pharmacy, bank…most necessary goods and services are within riding distance. There’s not much activity here, so we commute elsewhere for them. And public transport here is a complete terrible failure, but is at least available (that’s for another post). Cuminicyenda it is.

Our neighborhood is under the flight path of Kigali International Airport. And from where we live, it’s the landings rather than the take-offs that disturb us. Some aircrafts are barely noticeable that their sound is almost as loud as the sound of a car driving by, it’s just that it lasts a little longer. But there are those that fly over so loudly that they rattle the windows and shake your soul. Those aircrafts that fly over screaming above the rooftop that they give babies nightmares. Those that make it impossible to have uninterrupted conversations. When you’re in a conversation, either on the phone or face to face outside, speaking louder is useless. You just stop talking, let the plane pass and then continue on. And when you’re watching TV, you miss hearing every other minute.

Regardless, we don’t get a lot of noisy traffic and our neighborhood is generally peaceful. Or it’s just that I got used to most of the noise. Or that I have unacknowledged hearing loss. Hehe. I don’t know which is which. For fear of crashes…well, such events terrify me. The thought of an airplane being in a situation where they lose control and can’t avoid us, terrifies me. Besides that, our neighborhood is suitable for human living. 

However, few months ago some other kind of noise pollution joined in.
First, I heard the sound of drumbeats. I thought that it was someone playing loud music. But it went on for an hour. People joined in shouting songs of praise. Maybe it was a choir doing rehearsals and they would be gone in another hour, I thought. The following day, the same happened. And the following day. And then their noise started as early as 9AM. The noise was becoming a bit unbearable. We later learned that a certain Mama Pasteri started a church, in our neighborhood. Nowadays, churches and prophets are springing up everywhere…churches have become businesses. Where did the spirits go?

Our patience was being tested by the church members whose worship services were ultrasonic. The drumbeats from the church were too loud, they made our houses vibrate. They sung. Noticeably unpleasant songs that lack musical quality. They clapped hands, jumped and did all the acrobatics. Few yelled out random words. Praise Jesus! Hallelujah! Disturbances, yelling and tantrums that interfered with our hearing. You can imagine what we were going through daily.

Nowadays, their worship services are only held on Sundays. Even so, these people pray at the top of their lungs. They don’t feel satisfied with moderating their voices and keeping the volume low. They don’t feel satisfied with praying in silence especially in the middle of the neighborhood where babies are sleeping and people are working. People who can’t pray in silence simply annoy and irritate me.

I, by the way, am also a Christian. 
Prayer is a means of communicating to God, in word or thought. And before you say a prayer, God knows it already. Even before you have the thought within your mind, God already knows it. And God is not deaf. God listens! So, why the noise?

It’s great that some people out there are praying for all of us. It’s just the volume of their voices that frustrates me. Why must they shout? Do they pray to a god with impaired hearing? Or they worship the same god that the prophets of Baal worshipped? 

Jesus came to bring peace, but some of His followers won’t stop disturbing the peace. 

Well, get it from me, Jesus doesn’t love you anymore because you’re shouting. And please don’t tell me I’m on the wrong path. I’m doing fine, thank you very much. Don’t even try giving me a lecture, just because I don’t agree with your shouting (and doctrines and opinions). What’s left? Pray for me? 

If you want to, just go ahead and do it.

The Fearsome Odor

Some time back, I travelled. To Kenya. I was hosted by my mom’s friend. A young, single mother of two. A boy and a girl. Beautiful children. She was a wonderful host.
Even though she made it clear to me to “make myself at home” that didn’t stop me from feeling uncomfortable. I am never comfortable staying at anyone’s house.

Even as a child, I never liked spending the night out…I hesitated to sleep in a different and unfamiliar place if I had to be with unfamiliar faces. As I grew up (read: became anti-social), I hated spending the night in someone’s home, even more. The uncomfortable feeling of not knowing how they will react to my late-rising-habits (I’m not a morning person. I have never seen the crack of dawn. At home, harsh methods are required to wake me up) or the continuous close companionship of people I’m not wonted to, that much.
I always feel better when I am back at home. I begin thinking about going home as soon as I reach my destination.

Waking up early (read: after everyone else), helping to clean the house, learning some Swahili (ubundi kuki ntazi Swahili?), watching TV and scrapbooking & writing – was my daily routine.

One evening I went with her to visit her friend. And to show me around.
The friend, a young woman. Short, big and beautiful woman. Though widowed shortly after her wedding, she was always joyous. Smiling often. Fortunately, her husband had left her with a baby. A healthy baby boy.
She lived in a small one bedroom house. Her place was spotlessly clean. Everything was in order.
That afternoon, we found her cleaning in her bedroom. And she kept the front door closed — I don’t know why. Maybe because there was too much sunshine. There was hardly breathing air inside. There was no window, and no other means of ventilation.

She served us tea and chapo (chapati). The delicious and glorious chapatis. I LOVE CHAPATIS! And Kenyan chapatis are, simply the best! Heavy and thick, but soft and buttery…they are so tasty (typing this with a watery mouth)!
I loved my time in Kenya and I was always overwhelmed with excitement over chapos.
I also enjoyed Sukuma wiki. At first, there was something about the look of cooked sukuma wiki that seemed very unappetizing to me (I never thought I could eat them!) But when I ate them…ooh my, I loved them! Chapos and sukuma…absolutely delightful!
In praise and glory of the Kenyan chapati, I’ll make another post. Meanwhile…Dear God, please take me back to Kenya!

Anyways, back to hot room…
Taking tea in the poorly ventilated room, I was literally burning like a furnace.
Then, there came a man.
He sat next to me. He was sweating. He bent down to wipe sweat from his forehead, using his index finger. His clothes were filthy. His t-shirt worn out, with tiny holes. He was smelly. He probably had been moving from town to town, going days without a bath in the dirty sweaty heat. I am pretty sure he only bathes twice a year on the equinox. But that au-naturel thing got messed up and he wasn’t self-conscious about the musk he’s producing. Even a buffalo wouldn’t love that!

AND… to put the cherry on the top of it all…he took off his shoes. I was too offended by the smell of his feet — gangrenous. Offensive to the senses. That fearsome foot odor. He grossed me out. His feet were stinking that if he was self-conscious of the deadly odor, he wouldn’t have took off his shoes. The sort of thing beings with adequate access to soap, water and shame shouldn’t be doing. He was a big pile of crap! If anyone was to stay inside with him, the smell would knock them out. I found it utterly repulsive to share his loathsome, foul smell of feet.

Amasogisi aratwishe twitahire” she told me. And we left immediately.
Whenever I remember that guy, I feel like puking!

To all guys out there with stinky feet, this is for you…some suggestions that may help tame that raging case of stinky feet.

1. Scrub your feet. A quick rub with soapy water in the shower isn’t enough. You’ve to get rid of any bacteria and dead skin cells that bacteria like to feed on. When washing your feet, exfoliate the entire surface of your foot with a brush and use anti-bacterial soap. And don’t forget to scrub between your toes.
2. Dry your feet, completely. And don’t
neglect the space between your toes.
3. Wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Wearing open shoes lets the air flow around the feet, keeping them cool and from producing as much sweat.
4. Change your socks daily. Putting on a dirty pair of socks for a second day in a row is essentially going to lead to a foul smell.
5. Never wear shoes without socks. Unless you’re wearing open shoes, you should always wear socks.
6. Go for absorbent socks made of cotton or wool. Non-absorbent socks (like nylon) trap sweat around your feet making them smelly.
7. Do not walk with only your socks on. They pick up lots of bacteria this way.
8. Rotate your shoes. Let your shoes dry out completely so that bacteria don’t set up camp in there. Otherwise, wearing the same pair day after day is a recipe for stinky feet.

Next time, people won’t wince when you pass by.

Things that matter

The sun was shining at 11:40AM. I was in Musanze Taxi Park, to board a bus to Kigali.
Nobody queues for taxis/buses here ─ the tactic is to mill around by the stop and try to jump in front of everyone when the bus arrives…jumping in as the bus may not make a complete stop at all.

The window seats were already taken. I spotted a seat at the back. I was relieved I wasn’t going to be seated ‘muri corridor’. I sat alongside a well-dressed woman, about age 35. She was with her husband, and their baby. She wore fake gold jewelry. There was dirt visible in her fingernails. She wore one of those wigs we see in Nollywood movies. Umusirimu wa fake!

The bus was so packed – stuffed like a sardines can, making it hard to embark.
As the bus exitted the taxi park, the woman spread her legs and bent as if to pick up something, and spit on the (bus) floor. Doux Jésus, nooon! It was filthy!

Then the baby noticed my handbag and wanted to play with it. But I couldn’t let it touch my bag. Not a chance. Poor child. Poor me. Nothing I could do with this one but grimace and smile and wish that I could teleport.
The woman turned as if to check something at the back of the seat, and spat again. Yo, woman! You are so, so gross. Absolutely disgusting.

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Most people were unaffected when they witnessed it, but it really grossed me out. There’s nothing I loathe more than seeing someone spit!

The bus stopped at Nyirangarama – the official stop-over for travellers using Kigali-Musanze route. The only place the buses stop for people to grab refreshments. The husband bought some cakes. She took one, to pass to her colleague/friend. It slipped and fell on the floor. Yuck, double yuck!
She proceeded to pick it up…our eyes met and I gave her that ‘woman-I-am-so-disgusted-with-your-abhorrent-manners’ look. She examined it, and handed it over to the guy.
God! She was so appalling! What in heaven’s name was she thinking? What’s the matter with her?

These are kind of people that should be put on house arrest and home trained until they can act appropriately in public. Who still thinks it’s publicly acceptable to spit? And doesn’t anybody carry a hankie anymore? A tissue?
I was prepared for the nose picking session as well. Or even worse, blowing snot out of her nose through the window.

I don’t understand the spitting thing. I honestly don’t. Not once in my entire life (as if I’m 80!) have I ever spat on the sidewalk/floor. How come the world is full of people who do?
One thing is: that stuff comes out of the body and it might be riddled with diseases. There should be laws against spitting in public.
The other thing is inconsideration. Imagine if you happened to step into that filthy crap left behind by some jerk.
If only people were more considerate.

If you have to spit for health reasons, fine! But at least spit where there aren’t people right in front of you. Better yet carry a tissue with you and spit into that.
For Chrissake, show some class and stop spitting in public!

Rant complete! Deep breath!

Needless to say that I didn’t wait for the bus to make a complete stop to jump out!

Don’t you just hate this?

On a recent bus ride from my cousin’s place, I was reading an article on the internet about environmental pollutants when a cell phone rang, piercing the silence (chinese phones, grrrh!) Her conversation was filled with boss-like commands in which she was issuing instructions to the other person on the other end of the phone telling her to buy this and that.

“Amakara aracyahari?”

Pause

“Sasa rero, Uncle agiye kuza…mumutegurire agatoki, mukoroshye, wenda mushyiremo n’utunyobwa…aze abihingukiraho”

Pause

“Mumugurire n’agashyushyu mutereke aho akabona”

Thinking she must have ended the call, I found to my dismay that she had no such intention. She composed another number…Hard as I tried, it was impossible not to tune her out.

Then another phone rang, two seats behind me. And that was when the ‘fun’ began.

The girl narrated a story about the purchase of a (party) dress:

There were about 6 or 7 sales assistants and they all just looked at them and did not help at all. In fact, they were looking down on them as if they were so above and rolling their eyes and would just watch them walk around the store and look at stuff like they were going to steal something. So she asked one of the sales assistants, to see a dress. Then the guy came over to give her the dress and she looked at it a little bit and he just smirked at her.

“You know what, for a store that claims to have such high quality items they should really work on training their sales assistants to be less conceited and rude.” She said. “I had plans of making a purchase there but after that kind of service I thought I’d take my money, to some place else.” She added. Her conversation went on…and we learned that her sister-in-law has diabetes, her best friend’s neighbor’s husband is cheating on the wife, and her auntie’s husband’s food supplier in the village is thinking of selling her house but they’re offering little money. And did we know that her sister’s son just won the in their district? No? Don’t care? Too bad because that is what you will be hearing about on that 5-hour cross-country flight. Worst s if you’re in the middle seat between two talkers who eventually get sick of your halfhearted replies and start talking to each other over you.

There are times when it’s better to have a face-to-face conversation instead of one shared with 45 people on the bus.

I have no objection to people making calls on the bus provided it’s done discreetly and quickly. Having to spend three quarters of an hour listening to one side of a very loud conversation isn’t pleasant. …it’s so maddening. And there’s no walking away from overhearing a one-sided conversation when you’re on a bus.

With this one, I pretend I’m a celebrity and throw on a cap, sunglasses, and big headphones. Or I pretend I don’t speak Kinyarwanda.

Waiting, waitinggg…WAITING!

I’m a shopaholic! I admit!

Whenever we have no lectures, I am in town shopping (with my son!). So the other day, I was early in campus for lectures, and guess what? The CP told me that the lecturer was not coming! WOOOOW, I wanted to go back and resume my sleep (mporana ibitotsi, sinjya mbyinginga!) but then decided to go to town. I called my son and told him to meet me near campus. I had no money on me, so we went to the bank first…

The banking hall was crowded. I met a long queue of people who had got to the bank before me. I almost cried…I hadn’t got my ATM card then (and thanks to the ATM machine which was out of service!). So, I had no choice, but to join the queue. The most annoying part of it all was that the bank was under-staffed (kandi ubwo hari utuzu nka dutandatu!). The queue ran around the banking hall and didn’t move at all in the first half hour i was there.

Then there comes this lady, in her mid 30s. She is wearing a pair of black trousers with red stripes, a white t-shirt, and white high-heels that made her walk like a grasshopper. She has a big brown wig that is floating on her head (iyo aca munsi y’igiti, perruque yari gusigaramo) As though she is sponsored by Nike! She digs for her cheque book from her bag (yazanye amatwi nk’ikaye y’umwana wiga primaire!)

“Umva Sista…ko uduciyeho?” She turns to look at the guy…

“The line we’ve all been waiting on starts back there.” the guy adds, pointing to distant place… She rolls her eyes and walks all the way up the queue and barged to the front, bold as brass.

An old man queuing in front of me (who hadn’t heard the guy maybe) asks her if she realized she was jumping in and did it on purpose, or if she just did not see the line that’s formed?

“I know, but I am busy.” she said. She went on to add that she hated lines.

I felt like shouting “WE ALL DO YOU IDIOT!”

Though I was able to carry out my transaction, it was later than expected due to the long queue of customers in the bank, and…

QUEUE JUMPERS!!!!

She thought we had not seen her just walk over and stand in front of all of us like that, ignoring the queue the rest of us kind citizens had got going on? I could feel her ignorance vibes like if she didn’t acknowledge us in any way she can get away with pushing in. I knew that for the following three minutes I was going to hate her with the fire of a thousand suns, because it’s so effing RUDE, but I was probably never going to say anything. I tried to rationalize it like “Is it really going to ruin my day if this inconsiderate person wants to be served before me?” 5511585527_27a5cb0dfd

Queue jumpers just get my blood boiling!

 

 

And how could I forget that girl who feels like every step I move forward in the line requires her to be right behind, breathing on my neck. BACK THE HELL UP AND CALM DOWN.

Alright, venting session over but…I’m resorting to keeping my money in my bra! Period!

What gets my goat is…

I know what you’re thinking…hater

There’s always going to be things that piss me off no end, no matter how zen I am. The thing is, a lot of stuff bothers me. Too much stuff, to be honest. Things that really get my knickers in a knot. I am listing all the things that are currently annoying me in the hope that it will be cathartic and they won’t bother me as much anymore. This list is not definitive. It is just what is bothering me right now.

  • Girls who don’t understand that a guy is taken. No, seriously, back off!

There is this girl, in fact woman; who tried to snatch my boyfriend and that drove me really insane back in the days. One day she did something and I hit the roof! But I’m not one for the whole drama scenes. Neither was it my place to do anything. I just let him handle that, because it was his responsibility. Then I also tried to rationalize it like “Is it really going to ruin my relationship if this inconsiderate woman wants to steal my boyfriend (from me)?” I decided to ignore the woman out of an inborn sense of dignity, and focused on my man. I became extra loving and made sure I made him happy. But HOLY COW, SHE MADE ME ANGRY!!!!

  • The chronic hand raiser who prolong class by asking the questions.

They are always full of questions. Sometimes even, painfully stupid questions. The teacher answers the chronic hand raisers questions, but the chronic hand raiser doesn’t hear it because they are too busy formulating questions in their head. One would think the chronic hand raiser asks so many questions because they like the sound of their own voice. They will drive you crazy by asking the professor very specific questions about their own essays that are very clearly not applicable to anyone else in the class. They will wait to do this until the professor has hinted that she might let the class go early, but not before she sees if anyone has any questions. These people will make you want to strangle them.

  • Slow internet connections.

They make me want to crash my PC on the wall or phone through the window! It is insanely frustrating when my internet won’t work. I reset my wireless connection. Nothing. I restart my computer. Nothing.

  • People who take religion seriously.

I love it when someone vaguely familiar with their religion decides that it’s their duty to try and convert me to whatever bullshit they believe in at the time. Of course, most Christians are convinced the message of Jesus is so good, that all you need to do is show up with a smile, a Bible, and a friendly “let me tell you about my pal Jesus” and presto, instant Christian. Many religious people find the need to change people’s life styles. They feel the need that everyone, even people who don’t abide by the bible, should follow their version of the word of God. Like everything, there are people who take everything too seriously. But there are religions and followers out there who do not force their beliefs on you.

  • Passing gas in confined places

Seriously, nothing puts a gassy dent in someone’s morning, than walk into someone’s silent but deadly fart. It’s even worse when you’re on public transportation and there’s nowhere to run. It’s really a double-edged sword. For the love of King Jesus, please, hold that in.

  • Feeling bloated

Let’s talk about something uncomfortable: A ballooned belly. When the abdomen is too swollen to squeeze into your jeans

  • Players

WHY? Why play a guy/girl? Does it make them feel better about themselves? All players do, is lead people on and leave them hanging. If you like someone, why play them? You won’t get the person back most likely if you do. I can’t stand seeing someone hurt.

  • Mispronouncing my name

Aiieeeeee…it’s Bayijahe! Not BAYITAHE or BAJYAGAHE! B-A-Y-I-J-A-H-E!

  • People walking painfully slow on the street

People who can’t go with the flow when walking on the sidewalk really annoy me. These are the people who will walk down a street at an extremely slow pace, often with a smartphone in hand, and then have the tendency to stop and look around. It’s as though they’re walking and then all of a sudden they hear an imaginary large bang and stop dead. They look around, although startled by something which hasn’t actually happened.

The biggest pain is when they’re in groups of slow walkers. They take up the whole pavement so that you have to risk your life darting around them. The thought that rushes through my mind then is to punch them in the back of the head. I often step into the road to make quicker progress, although on the street, where motorcycles often cruise down in near silence the consequences of a wrong step can be serious. The other option is to crowd surf – darting into spaces as they appear between walking groups, sometimes even anticipating them before they form, and then jumping ahead or to the side into the next gap, leaving frowning faces from the snail-paced pedestrians left behind. The final option is to grit my teeth and slow to the pace of the crowd, enjoying the view of the surrounding shops and people with whom I am walking (while making sure to avoid the feet of the person who has inexplicably stopped in front). People standing on the street, catching up for a couple of minutes of conversation, (Uracyakora muri SAKIRWA se? Godeliva amakuru ye?) so you can’t walk past them and you feel like an asshole just because you’ve had to say “excuse me” to get past. The fact that they then realize they’re holding up the traffic of people and refuse to move makes me wonder who, in the blue hell, do you think you are? I almost walked straight into you, and you continue to just stand there? Move to the side! If you’re just catching up, then get out of the bloody way. Stand along the side of the path. Let society move on with their lives instead of moving slower than a blindfolded drunkard.

  • Blasting music nobody wants to hear

They sell headphone, so there’s absolutely no excuse why someone can’t get a pair and spare us that new Senderi song.

  • But what really gets my goat is people who spit.

I’m standing at the bus stop and a gentleman in a nice suit clears his throat on the pavement without the slightest hesitation. Only if killing was legal! Few people would throw garbage on the street in broad daylight, and even fewer yet would spit in their own front yards, but people are remarkably inattentive when it comes to this behavior in public places. People care so much about keeping their houses clean that they even take off their shoes upon entering a house, but does this care just stop at the outside perimeter of one’s home? I don’t know where people get off treating the world like their own personal bathroom like the rest of us are just visitors here on the planet. Spit is going to cover up the world soon…put an end to it. OUTLAW SPITTING NOW!!!!

Annoyed-Baby