It is a relief to know that Rwanda has put measures in place to keep the dreaded Ebola disease from crossing over the borders. Indeed, we have to be vigilant and fight any causes of such deadly diseases. Such diseases are friends of dirt!
That is why we have to always keep ourselves clean so as to avoid this mess. In the affected areas across the border, people have decided to abandon the famous handshakes. I guess we also need to avoid hearty handshakes that we are so much fond of!
And wow! The Rwandan handshake is so popular. I remember a few years ago, there was talk of banning handshakes. When I first heard about that rumor, I rushed to Aggrey with the hot news. We both recalled how we used to detest the handshakes when we had just come back from the Diaspora way back in the mid-90s. Aggrey and I had never complained about anything! We loved the Rwandan people, the beautiful hills and of course the ever cold Amstel beers stashed away at Béa’s pub. The only thing that used to bother us was that compulsory handshake.
During those mid 90s, Aggrey and I had devised serious tactics in a bid to dodge people stretching out their hands. That is why we were always seen walking around with our hands full of items. Such items ranged from books, video cassettes and briefcases. This meant that whenever someone extended his hand for a hearty Rwandan handshake, you would show him that all your hands were occupied and therefore not capable of responding accordingly.
Usually, those items that Aggrey and I carried around were never of real use to us. Although we were always seen carrying Jackie Chan video tapes, our modest home was void of a video deck or a television set for that matter. Then of course, we posed around with a briefcase as if it was full of dollars and important legal documents. But instead of real dollars and francs, our briefcase would be full of dry beans and maybe a kilo of rice. Therefore, our briefcase was not only there to deter people from shaking our hands, but also served as a mobile dry food store.
But then people never give up. If he has made up his mind to shake your hand, then there is no way out. And that is how we usually ended up putting the briefcase under our armpits in order to free our paranoid fingers. The fingers would be suffering from paranoia just because our heads imagined up certain things. Our heads imagined that the fellow we were on the verge of greeting had just come out from the nearest latrine. And for the great fear of catching funny diseases, our fingers would begin to perform a mixture of reggae dance and break dance.
Having failed to dissuade people from shaking our hands, we decided to abandon the system of carrying countless items which were too heavy for us in the first place. Instead, we began to seriously save cash which was supposed to end up at the nearest pharmacy. We were not saving cash in order to buy ourselves medicated soap for washing our hands every time we shook someone’s hands. No way. We were saving cash so that we could buy several cartons of hand gloves at our place of residence.
This implied that Aggrey and I would be walking around Kigali with our gloves. We entered shops with a lot of confidence knowing that the shopkeeper would be met by a gloved hand. The same applied to offices whereby handshakes dived in from all corners. Those handshakes came from the gatemen who ushered us in, up to the top most chief. But with our gloves well intact, we were fully covered. I hope we do not have to buy gloves in the 21st century!