Lately, I have been seeing so many omnibuses, vans, special hire taxis and even personal vehicles displaying a ‘Rwanda is You and Me’ sticker.
Each time I see such a sticker, I really feel proud to be Rwandan. Who-ever is making those stickers and who-ever came up with such an idea, deserves an award. I believe it’s only by being proud of our nation that we’ll fully contribute to its reconstruction.
On Saturday, Barrack Obama presented to the United States’ electorate, Joe Biden as his running mate. I won’t dwell much on who Joe Biden is or the political weight he offers to Obama.
I’ll just say that his acceptance speech made me reflect a lot on the ‘Rwanda is You and Me’ stickers.
Biden mentioned his grandparent’s struggle to attain a piece of the American dream. In a touching speech Biden gave a most compassionate review of Obama’s challenging upbringing; raised by a struggling single mother , always making him believe that if he worked hard enough and believed in himself, the sky was the limit.
Obama deconstructed myths on the limitations of class, tribe and race for all of us. And he’s now running for President!
Not everyone can run for president but I believe in our small worlds and ways we can each achieve our goals and dreams contributing to our nation’s growth.
Now back to us here home, some people tend to wallow in self pity. They feel the world owes them much. The question should be, how can we prove that Rwanda is you and me?
On my computer desk-top, there is a very ironic or should I call it satirical cartoon. I found it there. And somehow, I decided to keep it there. It depicts Sudan’s Bashir addressing the masses.
He says,”…sorry for all the injustices. Soon you’ll have schools, water, electricity, roads…to give you a new life!” Unfortunately, the masses were skeletons. Neither water nor any promise would really give them a new life!
A country is first and foremost made up of people. Rwanda suffered a Genocide that claimed over a million lives.
This has however not stopped this small nation from achieving great heights. I give it to the leadership that thinks Big. I give it to the people that healed and moved on.
Today, our small nation boasts the highest female representation in parliament in the world. It’s not just about numbers but quality as well.
Rwanda is now seen as the light of Africa. She has risen from the ashes and rebuilt herself. Beating all odds she has said, I shall not only survive but prosper as well.
Credit goes mainly to a focused leadership there to serve the people, a leadership that believes in its people having a sense of ownership in all national plans.
So, how can a lay Rwandan contribute to this new Rwanda? How can those ‘Rwanda is You and Me’ stickers be a reality? The Bashir cartoon says one simple thing, a nation is its people. It’s not mere buildings and roads.
Let’s not just look in awe at the ‘American Dream”. Let’s create the Rwandan dream. Let’s look for ways of contributing to our nation’s growth. It’s only then that we shall realize the truth in the saying, “You only reap what you sow”!
So, how can one contribute? I believe that knowledge is power. Let’s cultivate a culture of being as informed as possible. It’s only then that we shall know the government’s plans and see how we can make them a reality. Rwanda has a vision; the Vision 2020.
It has a strategy which will guide it in attaining this vision; it’s the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy. With such a strategy Rwanda hopes to attain the global Millennium Development Goals.
Let’s not be passive but active players. If you know something about smoking, you will realize that usually, the passive smoker is more affected.
Am not saying go out there and puff your lungs dead. Just saying, opportunity will pass you by when you are indifferent to what goes on around you.
The EDPRS mentions education, health, infrastructure and a lot more as some of the areas to be addressed if we are to achieve our Vision 2020. Family Planning is emphasised.
It’s only through Family Planning that we shall be able to take care of our children; educate, feed, treat, cloth and shelter them.
We can contribute to our nation’s growth through basic stuff like Family Planning, joining the medical scheme locally known as mutuell de sante, educating our children and making them believe they have an equal chance to enjoy the Rwandan Dream.
Someone once rightly said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!” My advice is, don’t dare try ignorance. It’s education that has put Obama where he is.
Let’s transform this small nation of a thousand hills into one of a million smiles.
Let’s go for the Parliamentary elections and vote for those whom we believe will steer us in the direction of the Rwandan Dream, a dream of prosperity, unity and reconstruction.
Don’t feel too big to be bothered by who is elected in office, just aim at being part of a greater Rwanda and go vote.
In a famous speech, former American President, John F. Kennedy, once said this to the Americans, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”
If we can only ask what we can do for Rwanda, it’s only then that those ‘Rwanda is You and Me’ stickers will have true meaning.