With or without laws and regulations, some things or lack of them are taken to be common sense; which unfortunately to some people, are not common. Apparently, people will avoid only that which is prohibited by the law, the one whose punitive measures are clearly juxtaposed. But what happens when the authorities take for granted, or for common knowledge some things that, if done or otherwise, are hazardous to our hygiene, be it physical or social? I’m talking about spitting. Last week, on a day like today, I was walking along one of the rather busy streets of Kigali and, as it was drizzling, everyone was in a hurry to secure a shelter, either in the shops or in their personal cars. It’s amidst my short but quick steps that I felt something fluid in nature that hit and stuck on my lower side of the leg. Guess what! Someone had spat on me. The feeling was so disgusting. You have no idea how irritating it can be until you occupy the first sit in the long plying buses on the road to Gisenyi and, as you enjoy your snack, the driver who seems to be struggling with a stubborn flu keeps on clearing his respiratory track up in the nose, making that roaring noise and spits the dirty stuff through the window; you literally lose the appetite. In fact, scary diseases such as TB have forgiven us for the longest time: outbreaks have had every chance to hit us hard. The corona pandemic, with all its biting effects, somehow had a silver lining, at least to me. Among the gestures it forced us to drop was shaking of hands; a blessing in disguise- since then, I selectively shake hands. Please do not mistake me for an asocial person, I love people, so much, in fact, I’m a philanthropist. And I’m comfortable mingling with people from all walks of life. But, this one act seems to prove me a bit touchy; which I vehemently confess that I am not. Hygiene is at stake here. Haven’t you ever visited this one family where the good neighbors have come to help with getting the food ready and other chores. It often happens when there is a wedding. As you sit to be offered a drink, as a sign of hospitality, you accidently notice a lactating mother who is cleaning her baby’s nose with her bare hands? And then she resumes her potato peeling as if nothing happened. A friend of mine joked that it’s for such things you find the warning ‘kitchen is out of bound’ in the village restaurants. Let’s be candid for once; we are scoring dismally on hygiene. It happened to me in church, the priest asked us to shake hands as a sign of peace. I refused. My neighbor on the pew had picked his nose since the service started. And could rub it off on his other hand. I wanted to be humble and wish him peace, but my arm muscle refused to pick the command; I folded my arms back instead. Having been an educationist for a decade or so now, I have picked quite a few significantly insignificant things that draw significant reaction; they cry for attention. Observing some social distance, especially when making your way past your neighbor is key. Why does someone sweep the whole half of you as they move to sit in a chair next to you? I try my best to teach our girls at school how to say, ‘excuse me, may I pass’. The informal lesson is always necessitated by an incident where I observe two or more students brushing shoulders as they pass through a narrow space. It becomes even more imperative to correct the behavior when I am involved. To me it feels like an invasion into my personal space. What do you think? If the space seems too small to accommodate two people at a go, what would it cost to wait for a fraction of a second? Must we scramble for space even when we have it all to ourselves? Let everyone carry a handkerchief with them; or at least, a piece of kitenge-it is precisely enough. A disposable serviette would be ideal but, the majority of our villagers might not afford it all the time. Spit in the piece of cloth, clean/pick your nose with it and any other necessary gesture such as wiping off your sweat, then dispose or wash it when you get home. Like the cliché goes, it all depends on our mindset. I can’t wait to see us with a brand new way of doing the so-called little things. Opined by Sister Ann Macharia Headmistress Inyange Girls’ School of Sciences.