You might have read a few days ago a story about a report ranking us, the people of Rwanda, as among the happiest globally; naturally, the genuinely happy and positive minded people agreed with the account but those with banks of negative energy ridiculed its findings.
That’s natural, to disagree. But if you work and live here like I do, then it’s not hard to see the happiness among many a Rwandan and their foreign friends who come to visit.
A few months ago, friends broke to me, the news of a new ‘happening’ place in town. ‘Happening’ means a place to be happy. Kaizen was its name.
But it’s not until Friday that I finally visited the celebrated place, I went there solo, without the guys who have consistently nudged me to; that’s because I don’t like surprises.
When someone suggests a new place, I like to randomly first check it out for its weak and strong points and for really no particular reason, Friday was the night.
Kaizen, whatever the name means is located in the never-go-to bed Kigali suburb of Kabeza, about twenty four minute drive from my Niboye quarter.
It was 11:30pm when I got there having taken my time to first eat, watch the news and had a good shower before I trooped out.
You have to give it to Emmanuel Nayabosha, Kaizen’s proprietor; it’s clear on arrival that he put in efforts to create what’s probably, currently, Kigali’s most glamorous hangout, a strong signature to the city’s budding nightlife.
Kaizen is located on a sprawling plot of land giving it a leisure-park outlook for open air partying.
At the entrance, I encountered what I hate most about night clubs, disorder. I have always shuddered at the sight of people shoving others trying to get inside while others are pushing trying to get out.
It was a promotion night for Tusker so one had to pay Rwf3000 to get an entrance coupon which came with a drink.
A sprawling place, Kaizen has an outer lounge area with several curtained cabins meant for couples out on a date or friends who simply want to have a relaxed night-out.
Conveniently located near the cabins is a barbecue area where the aroma of brochette keeps one permanently salivating and a bar right at the corner to ensure people don’t choke on their meat.
The happy people of Kaizen love their meat; it’s like everyone around me had a long stick of brochette nipping off the pieces with fine technique and in record time.
Being a Friday, the place was packed but I navigated my way to the main club area and its there that I realized I had walked into an assembly of happy people with all age-groups, races and nationalities represented.
Kaizen has a large dance hall crafted like a parliamentary hall with lower and upper chambers.
The lower chamber is like the main dance-hall with comfortable couches in the sides for chillers; up stares on the balcony, the DJ has clear view of the effects of his mixes on the dancers below.
But also, if you lost your date in the sea of dancers downstairs, you could rush up to the balcony, look down, spot her and dash back down.
I found myself a sniper view upstairs and watched as the happy people of Kaizen let their hair down and I could safely wager my favorite pants that none of them woke up early enough to participate in yesterday’s Umuganda.
The song playing was go-down-low but one group of partiers was just running around in a ring, shouting; a nearby couple that was actually trying to go down-low on wobbly drunken limbs crumbled ass-over-teakettle sending a pack of bottles flying.
Typical of happy people, no one cursed, everyone just laughed off the incident.
Then I spotted Derrick! He was supposed to be sick suffering from an alleged fever but here he was, dancing away the night with an attractive lady in a pink kinky dress. I lowered my cap and chuckled in amusement.
But Kaizen needs air-conditioning; fortunately, when people are happy, they tolerate a lot of things including the heat inside Kaizen.
With the heat and sweaty dancing bodies, the air inside Kaizen wasn’t the best making it hard for one to stay longer so I went out to find the johns but also to avoid busting Derrick’s lie.
Although Kaizen has a long row of restrooms they were overwhelmed by the over a thousand partiers on the premises. The long queues left the johns flooded, messy and smelly.
At 2am, I shoved my way out as others shoved their way inside to join the assembly of happy people at Kaizen.