Since I returned from my escapades from this neighbouring country, I have been delivering messages to people who live here in Kigali. These messages were sent by their relatives who still live in this neighboring country.
So, one of the people to whom I delivered a message happened to be a big shot here in Rwanda. He met up with me at the Serena Hotel and I delivered to him the message from across the border. We had two drinks and chatted a bit.
Then he insisted that we go together to his home to share dinner with his family. Wow! A free meal? A free drink? Why not? As we approached his gate, I realized that good customer service is not only found in restaurants and hotels. It can also be found at peoples’ gates where night watchmen demonstrate high levels of customer care!
You see, when we arrived at his home, the night watchman opened the gate for us to enter and then dashed over to open the car door for me. I was feeling like a first class passenger aboard British Airways or Emirates. Then as I stepped out of the car, the night watchman roared out a chain of praises and verbal artillery before finally stamping his feet followed by a powerful salute. I was left in a bewildered state. How could this happen to a mere small Diaspoman?
What I saw here just opened up some memories of the mid 90s when Kigali was still very insecure. Those were the days when security was fragile as pockets of resistance had not yet been weeded out completely. Therefore it was quite risky loitering aimlessly in suburbs where you were unknown. That is why Aggrey and I decided to put a halt to our Cosmos drinking habits. We had developed this bad habit of trekking from Kiyovu to Nyamijos every night for the cold ones at Cosmos Bar. So due to the threat of encountering thugs on our way back home, we decided to change strategy by instead drinking from the small pubs near our home.
But then there was this one problem. We had hired a very strict night watchman of our own. As our gateman and night watchman, we had given him some stern instructions. He was not supposed to open the gate for anyone unless we were around. He was not also no supposed to open for anyone after midnight whether we were around or not.
With such instructions, it would only be a matter of time before Aggrey and I got caught up in our own web.
For the first week, our guard was up to scratch. He respected us so much that he always bent down whenever we appeared. Besides, we were the ones who were feeding him day and night. However, one night Aggrey and I overstayed at Béa’s joint. It must have been 3am when we staggered towards our gate. The guard must have been half asleep when we arrived and attempted to climb over the fence. At this point, he sprang up to his solid feet and lashed us with his cane.
We screamed for help but to no avail. He chased us for another 100 meters, throwing stones and broken bottles at us. Thanks to Béa; her joint was still open and so we ended up swallowing a few more bottles until dawn.