In the days of the “sweet mighty crisp Clintons”, when we were virtually paid in the mighty green “pieces of paper” that you might now call “Obama dollars”, but which I prefer calling by Clinton because he was the guy occupying the White House.
In those days, Kigali was quite different from what it is now days.
Surely, the beast called “poverty” was more than often on its leash. We more than often got paid on a Friday basis. Fridays were party time.
Those were the days of MINUAR a.k.a UNAMIR, when getting some cash was not half as difficult as it is these days.
These days, it is like “milking a stone”; getting a few thousands of the elusive mafaranga has made life next to impossible.
We can look back to those days and only wish we could turn back the clock.
Grand PRIMUS went for as low as two hundred francs.
We used to consume the godamned stuff as if BRALIRWA would close the next day.
After all, who cared? The MINUAR dollars would always “rain” on Kigali, come Friday!
One fateful Friday, in the company of Gafaranga and his young brother, we left our posh residential area (Upper Kiyovu), just a few metres down the road that passed by the then Hotel Kiyovu.
In those days, living in Kiyovu was exclusively for the well to do, full stop; the likes of Kagugu or Nyarutarama had not even been “conceived”. Of course, today, Kiyovu is like an old slum! Where were we heading to?
Somewhere in Kicukiro, there was a joint known as Dream House, it was somewhere between the road to BRARILWA and the Auditor General’s office (on the opposite side of the road). Not that the beers were very good near there, but because there was a MINUAR staff residing in the vicinity.
He, who pays the piper, calls the tune. The good Alfred (the MINUAR guy) had invited Gafaranga and of course, where there is an elephant, there is likely to be some fleas in the sidelines.
This is how some of us found ourselves in the company of such “VIPs”.
We arrived in good time to do justice to the PRIMUSs, MUTZIG and of course the Carlsbergs, Holsteins, etc. These had to be washed down the throats accompanied by several sticks of “bullshit” (read brochettes).
We were allowed to guzzle as much as we could till the wee hours of the morning.
Never mind, in those days there wasn’t any POLICE or may I call it Traffic Police, you could drive as much as you wanted and could drive as fast as you could to anywhere you wished, hell inclusive!
After all, money was not a problem at all; the problem was how to spend it!
This time round, we drunk so much that towards morning, we lost our way home and ended up in Kacyiru where we spent the remaining part of the night as Gafaranga drove straight into an avocado tree and swerved off into a mini trench.