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. 

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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.”

“What?”

“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

Kirenga

Yvette

My Ma

A young boy

Thierry

A girl has no name

Ivan

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.

Ingangare

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.

The Plug-in Drug

I’ve been binge-watching House of Cards. I so very much love it. I don’t know why I wasn’t watching it before now. It’s because I watch several series (not just Game of Thrones).

*opens folder to count*

18 TV shows. Well, make them 26…I have to add like 8 more to the ‘to-watch’ list, because I just have to. But with so many TV shows calling for attention these days, you almost need special powers to separate the truly great from the passable. I am on an obsessively ongoing quest to identify the very best TV shows as they come along…Game of Thrones, HTGAWM, House of Cards, Sense8 (idiots cancelled it), Supernatural (even after 12 seasons, I’m still watching it. Yeah, I might have attachment issues), The Vampire Diaries (totally pulls it off for me). Now, I’m way behind on most of them… 

However, I must admit that there are other TV shows (that are just watchable), which I still watch anyway. Well, never underestimate the power of boredom. 

Anyways, binge-watching these TV shows affects my normal functioning. This is the time when I usually make stews for lunch or supper, because if I decide to cook I lose the minutes I’d planned to watch a new episode or movie. When food is ready, I immediately head to my room, switch on the PC and put on my headphones. You see, we live under the flight path of KIA, so some aircrafts fly over screaming above the rooftop that they make it impossible to hear when watching a movie or having a conversation with someone. Either you miss out hearing every other minute. Or you pause, let the plane pass and then resume later. So, I just put on headphones to avoid the disruptions (though I can still hear them through my earphones). 

This is a sad existence, right?

Right.

Speaking of TV shows, I’m not evangelical by nature, but there are lots of underrated TV shows. It’s no fun, but rather sad to watch a gem of a TV show not get the attention that it deserves, it really breaks my heart. Like which one? Glad you asked. I’ve made it my duty to inform everyone (reading this blog) about those shows that I personally feel need a little bit more love. You’ll thank me later.

  1. Orphan Black, a show about human clones. The sestras. I like how Tatiana Maslany portrays the amazing complex clone characters (six clones that get the most screen time and numerous others with smaller roles). Tatiana provides each clone with an individual identity. She slips into their personalities that it is easy to forget that it’s the exact same actress playing all those characters. The layers of acting are unmatched. Orphan Black is a really good show, thumps up from me.
  2. iZombie, a show about a high-functioning zombie, Olivia “Liv” Moore. Liv works at a morgue, helping a detective (Babineaux) solve murders. She does so by eating the deceased’s brain and gets visions of their death. It’s amazing in an often-completely-ridiculous way, but it hurts my soul that more people aren’t watching iZombie. 
  3. Lucifer. If you haven’t watched Lucifer, bye, go watch it. The show is about Lucifer Morningstar a.k.a. the king of hell who (because of boredom), quits his job, abandoning his throne and goes to live in Los Angeles. And with his abilities, he tries to help humanity. But don’t mess with Lucifer.
  4. Limitless. Go watch Brian Finch.

Wait a minute…

Did I mention that I have lots of drawings to make, bags to sew, and lots of books to read? But I never seem to find the time. I don’t read half (honestly, not even a tenth) as many books as I would like to. For instance, I have had this book for over a month but I haven’t read past page 15. Why? For one, you can blame it on the TV shows. Two, every reading position seems to get uncomfortable after 5 minutes, or even too comfortable that I end up falling asleep. Also, reading on a screen isn’t good because it dries up the eyes. So, I do other things instead. But those are just excuses. Bad time management could be just another. I’m really ashamed of myself. I’d like to read more books and practice more art. I really should expand my hobbies. 

I need to do something about it.

Maybe after watching this new episode.

This little screen is evil, I’m telling you. 

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.

UBUKWE BW’ABANYARWANDA (Igice cya 4)

Gusura umugeni

Hashiraga iminsi mike bakajya gusura umugeni. Hagendaga umushyingira, umukwe mukuru na musaza we, bakajyana inzoga, amata, ifu.

Barikaga amazi, maze bakavuga umutsima. Amazi yavomwaga n’umugabo na muramu we (umugabo yajyanaga ikibindi, muramu we akaza kukizamukana ku iriba). Umugeni, umusore, umushyingira n’umukwe mukuru bose bashyiraga inkono ku ziko icya rimwe bafatanyije. Bafataga agaseke karimo ifu y’amakoma, bagasuka ifu mu nkono irimo amazi yabize. Bafataga umwuko bose uko ari bane, bakavanga ya mazi n’ifu. Umutsima umaze gushya, uko ari bane, bahagurukiraga icya rimwe, bafashe umwuko bose, bagashyira umutsima mu cyibo, maze bakawusangira bose.

Kwogosha amasunzu

Musaza we ni we wamwogoshaga. Yaba atabizi, yamukozagaho icyuma, maze ababizi bakamwogosha. Umugabo we yagombaga gutanga isuka cyangwa igitare cyo guhongera umugore we ngo yemere ko bamuvanaho amasunzu. Bamaze kumwogosha amasunzu, umusatsi bawushyiraga mu gaseke kajemo ifu, bagashyiramo igitare cyangwa isuka, bagafata n’uruhu yatahanye, maze musaza we akabijyana iwabo. Yabiherezaga nyina ati: “Dore amasunzu y’umwana wawe koko yabaye umugore” 

Amasunzu n’uruhu byarabikwaga kugeza igihe umugeni abyariye. Uruhu rwambarwaga na murumuna we cyangwa nyina akarwisasira ku buriri kugeza rushaje.

Kuva ubwo bakaba babonye uburenganzira bwo gutaha mu rugo rwabo.

UMUGEREKA

Umugeni amaze gusama inda, ababyeyi n’umugabo bamwitaho, bakamurinda imirimo ivunanye nawe akirinda ibyatuma avanamo inda byose.

Inkuru imaze kumenyekana ko umubyeyi amaze kuruhuka, mu babyeyi b’aho yashatse n’aho avuka, bose bamuha impundu “Ahiiiiii, uwo mubyeyi niyonkwe”. Iwabo boherezaga nyina n’inzoga (bita MPORE KOMERA) zo kureba umwana yabyaye. Basigaraga bitegura kumuhemba. 

Umubyeyi yahamaga ku kiriri iminsi umunani. Ishize, umubyeyi yarasohokaga. Bakoraga umunsi mukuru wo kwerekana umubyeyi n’umwana yabyaye. 

Guhemba umubyeyi: ni ukumushimira ko yunguye umuryango, yawubyariye umutabazi cyangwa umugeni, ko yongereye amaboko aho yashatse. Ni no kumuha icyubahiro mu muryango yashatsemo, ntawashoboraga kumwirukana aho yabyaye. Imiryango yombi (aho avuka n’aho yashatse) ihemba umubyeyi. Ibihembo by’umubyeyi byari bigizwe n’ibintu byinshi birimo: 

  • inzoga z’amarwa n’inzagwa
  • amata menshi bitewe n’uko batunze
  • inkwi zo gucanira umubyeyi (byibura umuba umwe). 

Iyo yabaga yabyaye umuhungu, bajyanaga se w’umukobwa iyo yabaga akiriho. Iyo yabaga yabyaye umukobwa, hagendaga nyina cyangwa se wabo. 

Kwerekana umwana: umubyeyi yagiraga igihe akajyana umwana iwabo, kumwerekana. Ntiyagendaga imbokoboko, yajyanaga inzoga. Iwabo bashoboraga kumuha isuka, intama cyangwa inka iyo ari abatunzi.

Niyo umugabo yamutaye, aba afite uruhare mu munani w’umugabo wamushatse, ashobora guhama mu rugo rwe kuko abana bamuzirika aho yababyariye, bamuhesha icyubahiro iyo atananiranye ubwe. 

Indongoranyo: ni ikimenyetso cy’uko umuntu yakoye, akwiye kugarurirwa mu byo yatanze. Abakoye inka, ikabyara, ikororoka, batangaga indongoranyo yo gufasha abana bubatse. Yari uburyo bwo kugoboka abana. Umugeni ni we wayihabwaga, ntiyahabwaga umugabo we. Iyo inka yakowe yapfaga, badatunze izindi, barekeragaho.

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Gushyingira ni umwe mu mico abanyarwanda bahuriyeho impande zose. Ariko bamwe bafite ibyo bihariye, bitewe n’uturere bakomokamo.

Ibi byose nabikuye mu gitabo kitwa “UBUKWE BW’ABANYARWANDA” cyanditswe na Sylvestre NDEKEZI