Having re-joined Twitter after months of inactivity, I recently came across a trending topic called “#Why We Love Rwanda.” For those not in the know, a trending topic is, according to Web sources, “a word, phrase or topic that is posted (tweeted) multiple times on the social networking and microblogging service – Twitter. Trending topics become popular either through a concerted effort by users or because of an event that prompts people to talk about one specific topic. These topics help Twitter and their users to understand what is happening in the world.” Also, the hash-tag sign placed before it enables the topic to reach as many Tweeple (read Twitter users) as possible.
I am not sure who came with the #Why We Love Rwanda trending topic, but suffice to say, the responses have been a colourful combination of inspiring, hilarious and ironic, so much so that I decided to come up with five personal reasons as to why I love Rwanda.
1. #Why We Love Rwanda – Traffic Police.
I love watching the way our men in luminous green dedicatedly help kids cross roads all over town. I rarely see this in other East African countries and observing this reinforces an element of trust between the public and the traffic police. In fact, seeing them at their usual posts across the country gives off an air of calm as opposed to terror, which is usually the case in countries where traffic cops are known for their penchant for bribery and even violence.
2. #Why We Love Rwanda – Ikivuguto.
Our curdled milk, or yoghurt if you will, is a source of happiness and joy; bliss and calm – an elixir of life, a panacea for all life’s problems. I tend to wax poetic over this drink, but a cold glass of thick Ikivuguto, the type which even leaves a thin film of oil over your lips; is simply incomparable to no other. This delightful drink becomes unbearably delicious with a teaspoon of brown sugar (I can see my ancestors turning in their grave), and which only the best of is found in Rwanda.
3. #Why We Love Rwanda – Pothole-less Roads.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but if there is one thing to take for granted in Rwanda, it is the state of our roads. I think we think this is the norm everywhere else, until one ventures across our borders. I’ve had many a Ugandan or Kenyan friend stare in a state of awe at the roads in Kigali, especially now that we have these cute, blinking little orange and red reflectors all over the place, as well as the fully functional road lamps. This phenomenon is reversed when we in Rwanda visit a neighbouring East African country, and stare in shock at pot-holes the size of small craters, they type usually caused by meteorite landings (or something to that effect). That is when you know you’ve taken the roads in Rwanda for granted, and learn to appreciate them.
4. #Why We Love Rwanda – Systems That Work
As a Rwandan youth, simply observing the developmental strides the country is making illustrates how systems work. National healthcare covers 92% of the population. This beats some of the richest nations in the world, where falling sick can mean going bankrupt, as health insurance coverage is rarely affordable to the general public. You know systems work when you look at Rwanda’s public infrastructure, or its 12 year basic education plan – free for all students. You definitely know systems work when you observe how a culture of accountability is present through the annual government retreats. You know for sure that systems work when the rate of recovering stolen mobile phones is probably the highest in the region.
5. #Why We Love Rwanda – A President Who Tweets. Personal Tweets.
With a single Tweet, millions of Rwandans across the globe can get in touch with their President. Can someone please tell me what is more revolutionary than this? Many think that it is a staff member in charge of the President’s Twitter account, but they are mistaken. Our Rwandan President personally writes all his tweets to everyone who tweets him, and even better, one is guaranteed a response almost immediately. Why don’t you try it out? If anything, one can arguably state that it is our President’s presence in Twittosphere that has even brought about the #Why We Love Rwanda trending topic in the first place. Twittastic!