I remember the 1950s, as my eyes and mind began to open to the world, as a time when Mother Nature was at Her calm best. At no time did She exhibit a sign of the kind of fury that has exploded on us with the unfolding of this year, worsening a bad COVID19 situation. Where we, in particular, nestled under the caring gaze of Mt Muhabura, all was peaceful. There were occasional torrents of water that suddenly came gushing down from the hooded mountain summit, sure, but as we grew up we realized that She hadn’t left anything to chance. Mother Nature had us firmly under Her protective wing. Whenever Mt Muhabura top was thus hooded in unusually dark clouds, we always knew it was raining there, without reaching its foothills where we lived. We were never worried, however, even though we usually played in the paths of those rain torrents. Their paths were gullies that water had created from time immemorial. Covered in matted grass, they were ideal for play and as feeding ground for insects, reptiles and other animals. Which, for their long-acquired survival tactics, made them act as our guardian angels. Unlike small long-legged animals which can easily sprint away as torrents arrive, insects and reptiles sense the torrents’ movement the moment these set off from any uphill place they may cascade from. If you’ve lived among insects, you know how they are the eighth wonder! They’ll warn you of impending forest fire, rain, floods, any danger, long before they happen. So, the moment we saw the insects scurry for safer ground, we quickly clambered up the gully walls to higher ground. And went on to even higher hills if they continued, because likely the torrents would break their banks. This latter would be a case of destruction to property and, sometimes, person. Happily, it happened only rarely. So, why this tiring, winding and wobbling tale of rains on Mt Muhabura? Because as 1959 began to sight its sunset, Catholic priests of Rwanda started to predict doom. When these Belgian, Swiss and other European-nation-citizen priests of Rwanda (as a colony) prayed or sang, it was no longer with the gospel or lyrics that we had known. The songs and teachings took on ominous messages of Mt Muhabura covering “the cursed other lot” in its rubble; damnation for “the migrant other”; God’s sword of death to “the insect other”; on. And, to our amazed young minds, the doom came to pass! Unbeknown to us little ’uns, with half a century of colonialism, “the other” had been carved out of the otherwise united Rwandan society. It’s that concerted “carving” effort that imploded into the November 1, 1959 catacomb. Within a few days, more than 20,000 lives lay dead. That, as somebody called it, was the first “practice genocide”. These would periodically be repeated until they culminated in the horrendous Genocide against the Tutsi, which dispels the one million-dead mark. Although perhaps the most horrific, this genocide was not the first to sully this earth. Many on every continent had happened and almost certainly more will. That’s the nature of humanity that one day they may not only see self-immolation but also the destruction of Mother Nature. So in our case, as pig-headed, self-seeking rulers took over from colonialism and embarked on elimination of some of their compatriots, in their greed they never remembered to preserve this land. Fauna and flora, they destroyed as they extracted what they could for sale. All the hills and wetlands, they built on or dag up till we only had hanging cliffs and yawning gullies. Much as the liberation of Rwandans has seen them begin to heal and unite, it’ll be some time before their land heals and becomes totally safe for habitation. Still, their little Mother Nature around them is slowly but surely feeling that power of liberation. Even if these bushwhacking landslides and floods have cost the country about 65 innocent lives and lots of property, Rwandans should take heart. Things could have been worse. As recently as the early 1990s, these punishing rains could’ve led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. Remember the bouts of famine that stoked this land before that, too? Certainly, the 1994 liberation stands them in good stead today. Unfortunately, they live in a shared world. A world that’s inhabited by avaricious humans who gorge themselves on anything on this earth, without a thought for the preservation of Mother Nature. In this process, they are disemboweling Her with abandon and choking Her up with pollution. Flora and fauna, all gobbled up to unwittingly turn Her biodiversity on its head. In fact, in their scramble to monopolize Her, these gluttons are turning against one another, as they have done from time immemorial. I’ve never cared about conspiracy theories, cross my heart. However, sometimes I am tempted to agree with those that advance the fact of this COVID19 having been a product of a chemical-weapon experiment gone horribly wrong. So violent is these gluttons’ hunger for dominance. Gorgers of this earth, you’ll be our death! Mother Nature’s, too.