Diaspoman: When the village refused to abandon me
It is the famous Villager from the Mfashumwana village who once said that it is easy to get out of a village but very difficult to get the village out of you.
I think that this statement is very true. I must say that it is not only Mr. Villager who suffers from this ailment. Yes, sometimes the Diaspoman used to find himself in such situations. That was during the mid 90s just after I fled to the Diaspora.
My days with Aggrey at our modest poor section of Kiyovu had come to an end. It was time for me to find greener pastures abroad.
So when I finally settled in the foreign lands, my true colors started to emerge. Whereas I had all along believed that I had left the village life when I joined secondary school, I quickly realized that the village had refused to abandon me.
That is why I found myself struggling to use the escalators at the huge shopping malls. I tried once and ended up landing on the ground.
I remember trying to put one foot on the escalators as it rapidly rolled on. By the time I thought of lifting my second leg, the damn thing had already dragged me upwards. I screamed for mercy but people just abandoned me.
With my legs wide apart, my cotton trousers also gave way splitting into two parts.
Before I regained my sanity, I was in the middle of the shopping mall without my trousers. I disappeared into one of the toilets so as to recover.
Phew! What a terrible life. From that day onwards, I just had to dodge anything similar to escalators.
That implied that I also had to ignore using elevators in tall buildings. But as fate would have it, I had to search for jobs everywhere and therefore these huge and tall buildings which hosted thousands of offices could not be left out.
That meant that I had to sometimes climb up to the 21st floor due to fear of lifts and escalators. By the time I arrived at the 21st floor, I would be sweating profusely. Naturally, my job application would be thrown out of the window.
With such a difficult lifestyle, I started contemplating about returning to Rwanda. As I started thinking about returning home, I met a group of people who had a mega proposal. All I had to do was to play my part and I would be paid handsomely.
Okay, these guys took me to a busy street corner to show me a machine which manufactures real cash. They told me that the machine would pour out lots of cash if I invested some few assets.
To prove this, the guys inserted something in the machine and within a minute, the machine released some nice looking crispy and greenish cash notes! Wow!
So, my plans of returning home were cancelled.
I mean, how could I return home where cash was very difficult to get? Besides, there were no cash producing machines at home.
Instead, I was prepared to hand over all my small assets to these guys in exchange for that magic. I then proceeded to pack all my belongings which included a music system, some pairs of shoes and my suitcase full of shirts and trousers.
I hurried back to their hideout and handed over my belongings.
They cheered me on as they pulled out a cheque book. “How much do you want?” Yes yes, please let the machine manufacture for me 20 thousand dollars! “Ah, that is very easy brother!” So they wrote out a cheque of 20 thousand dollars.
They then advised me to wait till everybody had left the streets. That night I waited up to around 10pm. I proceeded to slide the cheque into the machine.
I waited for the machine to start pouring out the cash but nothing was forthcoming. I started to bang the machine in frustration.
I banged it so hard until some policemen appeared on the scene.
I started to lament to them about my money! “I want my money please!” The policemen looked concerned. They then rang some people who arrived at the scene. They used their skills to retrieve the cheque from the machine.
“Hey, are you the one who put this cheque in here?” Yes yes, it was me who did that and I wonder why my cash is not coming through! At that point the policemen all burst out in laughter! “Man, are you a villager?
This is an ATM machine. You do not slide cheques in an ATM. You have to put in a card. Do you have a card?” No way! Some guys offered me this cheque in exchange for my property.
“Hey boy, just give up. They have cheated you. Come with us to the police station to formally report this case”. All my plans were back to zero! Only that this time, I was much poorer!