This old lady, weather-beaten but quite hardy, falls in step with me and says: “Muzehe, your brisk walk is what my journey needs, if I am to make it home early. I hope you are going my way.” Well, I was only in one of my evening walks. But we got to talking and, to my question as to where she was coming from, she pointed at a distant hill behind us: “That’s where I work,” she said. Yes, I knew the new model village in Busanza. “So many blocks of beautiful flats,” I exclaimed, “aren’t the people already there and those to occupy them lucky!” Rescued from the pitfalls of capricious hovels in Nyarutarama, where a slight rainstorm sends a number of them to their deaths, they should be euphoric. I remember the reported death of one of those slum dwellers, victim to its hazards (a fact). Poor chap was hit dead by a rock from an overhanging rock-and-landfill next to his bedroom. In their mud-house, his family survived by a whisker. The lady paused and regarded me with contempt: “Muze…..,” said she, “you can talk about luck! Those fancy storeyed flats without cultivation fields, can you eat them?” Taken aback, I asked if she knew Kangondo, nicknamed a dirty name for being totally uninhabitable. “No!” answered she, in innocent honesty. I wished her a good evening and explained we were not going the same way. Cultivation fields in the city? The lady of course, was expressing the complaints of some who have resisted occupying these new, modern flats. Cultivation fields as the reason they are against leaving their slum had nothing to do with it. In the slum, they don’t have decent paths to their hovels, only negotiating treacherously slippery stones and muddy trenches around the shacks to reach their own. They live on daily wages assisting masons, plumbers, electricians, the like. Yet here they are, spitting at these relatively executive residences. Flats with sitting rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, balconies; running water, electricity, all. Stairs down onto asphalt streets running among and around them, all surrounded by open green spaces. Ropes for hanging out clothes, play facilities for children and, soon, a kindergarten, dispensary, social hall. A fig for the flats, they say? Instead of thinking of working hard in the many factories that seem intent on filling up the Kigali Special Economic Zone, as example? The flats are creature comforts, the idea of the poorest of our society enjoying which, a Rwandan who left this country in 1994 cannot wrap their mind around. And these model villages are sprouting everywhere upcountry, outside cities and towns also. “Outside cities…”, which is where now not only fields but also cattle are given to the occupants. The reason these in Kigali are advancing for rejecting these millions-worth ‘penthouses’ in place of their mud-sheds! However, it’s all in the mind. People resist change for the most bizarre of reasons. They try all tricks to keep to the ‘comfort zone’ they know. That no Rwandan should live in abject conditions is an idea that has been discussed in the numerous fora where government officials and the citizenry usually reach a meeting of minds on needed developments. They’ve agreed that government is everybody, not some higher father figure (umubyeyi) to dole out goodies. Hard work by everybody is the only builder of a better future. In spite of the aforesaid, resistance has been with us since the rebirth of this country. We saw it in the Gacaca court system. That, despite it being restorative and not punitive, so that more genocide perpetrators were forgiven than were punished. With the added value of fostering unity and reconciliation in a society before totally torn apart. We saw it in the Nyakatsi programme. Yet it sought to remove everybody from unhygienic and perilous grass-thatched houses for relatively better and safer habitation. Which resistance, come to think of it, today’s fight against model villages is an exact replay-over of! We saw it in the Girinka programme. A programme to provide a cow per poor family for balanced diet and for fertilizer for their land. We saw it in Mituelles de Santé, a health insurance scheme for all, down to the poorest. We saw it in every new, self-betterment plan. The way beneficiaries of these programmes have seen their lives turned around and are ‘bursting’ with appreciation, you’d think there’d no longer be any iota of such resistance. But, as already said, many humans are always averse to taking on change. It has thus been a long, hard road to reaching a meeting of minds and we are not there yet; but all in good time. In a series of paradigm shifts in our thinking, we will attain the right, common mind-set and together reach the apex that’s total liberation. Total liberation reaching which, in short, starts with belief that if there are humans like us who have quit third-world status to join first, why not truly hardworking us? We only need to go the same way; to harmonise our mind-sets. And be armoured with the poise that, yes, we can.