KIBUYE — Forty five minutes left, 10 minutes, went the countdown in various people’s minds, as the long awaited year 2008 approached.
Delighted to have an additional year on each and everyone’s age, people joined together to welcome 2008, with many resolutions made and lots of unpleasant acts left behind.
In Kibuye, they believed that whatever one engaged in towards midnight of New Year’s Eve, determined ones’ fate in the New Year.
“I chose to come here [Church], and show God my 2008 plans and resolutions,” said Emile Gatsinzi, while unfolding a piece of paper.
Like the rest of others estimated at 2000, he spent the New Year’s Eve at the Kibuye Catholic Church.
It emerged that not all the people who went to the church were Christians, some of them just felt that beginning the year in church would automatically qualify them for enormous blessings through 2008.
“I am a Moslem but who needs a cursed year?” asked Isa Nkurunziza. The large enthusiastic congregation sang praising melodies. And when midnight approached, they shouted on top of their voices thanking the creator.
Then in a single file matched to Holy Mary’s monument in Kibuye town to as is the tradition of Catholics to thank her for helping them start the New Year.
To them, the actions of the previous year were not a bother, their concern was how they begun the new one.
For others, work remained their concern.
“I wish I had time I would go to Restoration church but am at work,” said Ange Nyirabugingo a known prostitute. But she also felt disturbed that 2008 would end when she is still on the Cyumbati streets selling her body for money.
For criminals, snatching big as the year approached would determine their success. “I just make sure I steal big money or something valuable on New Years Eve,” said Fauste Habyarimana, a notorious criminal.
In all the years he has been a thief, he says, his success has always been determined by what he steals at midnight on January 1.
“Last year I was caught stealing household property by the police but I have spent most of this year in prison,” he explains.
As the bell sounded at midnight, the light skinned muscular youth watched keenly to see Habyarimana’s actions.
Indeed, to residents, emphasis is put on ones’ New Year resolutions believed to be determined on New Year’s Eve. The locals have developed a saying that “if the New Year bell rings when you’re asleep, one would sleep on, that not even God would wake him up.”
This belief tends to shape people’s activities that for non church goers, drinking joints would be their destination to drink themselves silly. After all it’s far better than sleeping forever.
For low income earners, who couldn’t afford the cost at Golf Hotel for a night, they enjoyed brands that suit their income.
“I always stock ‘Ye muntu and Urwagwa’local brews in large quantities because I can’t stand the chaos of my customers incase its finished before they are tired,” says mama Mutoni a local bar owner.
These local bars earn handsomely at times charging exorbitantly on New Year’s Eve. Most dealers claim they make big returns which they save for Easter holidays.
Meanwhile, most New Year church messages also rotated around what one does during the first days of the year as having a significant impact on the rest of the days of the year.