KWEZI AND I: Why we need a fun but affordable children’s venue

Nasra and her Kwezi

Last week, I finally succumbed to modern medicine and thankfully, Kwezi is breathing better and I am happy to be in office working without worrying about her.

In the last week or so, I have had an opportunity to spend so much more time with her than I have in the last few months and as usual, there is something that you learn every time you hang out with a kid. It’s exciting to watch Kwezi transition from a baby, to a crawler, to a walking and talking little girl. One of the things that I used to enjoy about her was how she seemed content to watch her cartoons in the warmth of my bed, and she seemed content just being next to me. I say ‘used to’ because I realise that she doesn’t find me that interesting anymore. She refused to stay in the same place for more than three minutes which made me realise that it’s time to find more outdoor things to do.

Toddlers need to keep busy. They lose interest very quickly but they need to be doing something every waking moment.

Which brings me to the question, what does a parent with a children, especially a toddler, do in Kigali? We live in a beautiful city, green and clean but there is not much that you can do in terms of entertainment as an adult and even worse, for children. The venues that are available are either indoors which is not ideal, underequipped, far from the city and most times, really expensive. What you are looking for is a place outdoors where your child can run around and meet other children.

Our children will never know the fun of playing in the mud, riding old car tyres instead of bicycles, and playing local dodge-ball with balls made from paper bags and cloth. Today, everything costs money. There are transport costs, entrance fees, and each activity, whether face painting, swimming, or playing in a bouncing castle, is rendered to you at a certain fee.

What makes it even more frustrating is that sometimes money is not the issue but child-friendly venues are hard to come by.

I am thinking of forming a mum’s club where we can every two weeks meet in an open playground and let our children cause mayhem with soccer balls, portable swimming pools, and much more. There is no point of driving for 20 minutes to go to Nyamata to take your child to an overcrowded, overpriced venue just so they can play. We need a ‘homegrown’ solution because my toddler needs to step out soon and I need something that is convenient and fun.

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