Just several parts of the world, people who live in cities and towns have to deal with issues surrounding polluted air, overflowing untreated sewage, acid rains (toxic waters) and waste that destroy the environment.
Bustling economic activity in cities and the incessant demands to make ends meet, explain why city dwellers would rather endure these condition, than spend time away lavishing at a get-away resort or tour the countryside to tap into the tranquility of nature.
“I live in Kabeza (Kigali suburb) and work in Kwarubangura (city centre) where I own a small retail shop. It takes me three crowded taxis to get to my place of work and since rent is high, I share a room with two other businesswomen so that we can split the rent.
“One sells confectionary and cigarettes and much to our chagrin, the motto men have a stage just next to us and as they puff away, the smoke gets into our already congested work area. Then there are the fumes from the passing vehicles and the noise from the crowd and constant car horns. By the time I get home, I am completely beat-up,” says a distraught Imelda Gonza, Shop owner in Kigali city.
While several may give no thought to the endangered environment, others use every opportunity to benefit from nature’s healing power amidst their busy schedules.
Isima, a taxi conductor who works along the Remera-Nyabugogo route, says he is happy to live in the city.
He says (in heavily accented English), “I like it in the city. It is better than Gagitumba. It is a very nice place.”
Moving several steps further to the more elite class, many people are compelled in one way or another to live in areas that are devoid of nature. From their offices to their apartments, everything is concrete.
As a result, many of the middle and affluent class prefer to take holiday vacations upcountry or to foreign countries with less activity and lots and lots of nature. Researchers including psychologists and therapists have for decades praised the benefits of natural scenery on people’s wellbeing.
Here are some random Facebook responses on why nature is a source of life’s balance, a stress reliever and a re-energiser.
“I love nature for its awe-inspiring beauty, soothingly tranquil environment and absence of noise and pollution. Whenever I visit Cyangugu and Akagera in Rwanda, I feel totally at ease and so relaxed.” – Andrew Kibuka, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“I wouldn’t envision myself in a place that’s nature packed. The first thing that comes to mind is where the nearest escape route is in case some crazy beast attacked. I am comfortable in the city really.” – Rachel Makanda, Legal Assistant at JTL Nairobi.
“When I’m around greenery I feel so contented. Nature takes me to a certain place whose name I don’t know but I would love to stay and feel like that forever.” – Rogers Odiama Entebbe, Uganda.
“I am not really awed by nature and find it odd that that’s where tourists flock to when they come around. I was born and bred in the city and love the fast life. I wouldn’t mind going for a weekend though.” – Patrick Nsenga, employee at MTN Rwanda.
Ultimately, whether we like it or not we are part of nature. We are not robots but biological beings that have existed for ages. Despite technology’s efforts to detach us from nature, we are still subject to it, mentally and physically.