Rwanda’s safety might be a problem

Since I am a bonafide window shopper, trust that I’m always walking around town, entering shops and trying on clothes and shoes I have no plans of buying, to the utter irritation of the salesperson.
Rachel Garuka
Rachel Garuka

Since I am a bonafide window shopper, trust that I’m always walking around town, entering shops and trying on clothes and shoes I have no plans of buying, to the utter irritation of the salesperson.

What makes this little pass time of mine even more loveable is the fact that I don’t have to worry about some hooligan from nowhere, snatching my bag or ‘decently fake’ gold necklace. Once, in Uganda, I was nearly decapitated when one rowdy fellow decided that my silver chain would get him some money.

When I came to Rwanda, I was assured of its lack of tolerance for thieves and that my neck was safe. That fact was cemented when a report by Gallup Poll stated that Rwanda was the safest country in Africa.

However, ballistic news as it is, I can’t help but fret that some people are using this country’s safety as a reason to be negligent. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have come across children so young; it still baffles me, walking around with no adult in sight.

One night, enjoying a polite drink at my local bar, a child around the age of two, who could barley even speak, kept lingering around. I assumed his mother was inside the bar having one for the road, which I thought was bad, but realising later that she wasn’t even around, was a lot worse.

I asked the bartender who the child belonged to and she hadn’t a clue; as a matter of fact, she wasn’t the least bit concerned. It stopped being funny around 10pm. The boy kept on walking off and coming back.

Finally, a boy I assumed was his brother and not that much older than him came to pick him up. Now I know that when you come from some countries, Rwanda seems like sheer paradise, hence a response I was given when I asked a friend how people can be so careless.

“There are no kidnappers in Rwanda,” was what I was told. Well, that’s great but is that any reason to leave your toddler walking around unattended to? Kidnappers might be nonexistent, but what about these motos that move around so recklessly?

Speaking of motos, another woman decided to dangle her baby on her back with nothing more than a towel, proceeded to jump on a moto and ordered the man to take her at breakneck speed as she was late! I sensed I wasn’t the only one worried about her decision as one guy tried to persuade her to wait for a taxi but to no avail.

I may not be worried about my neck anymore, but I am certainly worried for dawdling children, babies dangling behind their mother’s backs and moto chaps who get a kick out of speeding!

 

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