In Kinyarwanda we say (literally translating) that a bird that does not fly far away from its nest, will never know where the millet is being harvested.
Countrymen, a man of my age and status will not engage in boasting and childish bragging so when I say that I was born and raised in town it is the truth.
I never got the opportunity to visit my grandparents until I was 19 years because I was always on the move with my soldier father whenever he was posted to serve.
Immediately after his retirement from service, he dictated (against my wish of course loathing the village) that the entire family would visit his parents in the village over Christmas.
Off we went two days prior to Jesus’ birthday and received a hero’s welcome from the oldest couple that I had seen.
Partly they had never seen their youngest grand child and in no minute I had loved them too and the village as well.
I had been told by Gakuba, my elder brother who had been there, how village life was the best but I had never found any reasons to love it.
But given my adventurous life, I fell in love with both the village and the villagers, Kemunto being my focus.
Kenumto had completed school and was home helping her parents particularly with grazing the animals which produced her school fees.
I was so fascinated with cows from the word go and volunteered to go grazing with my grandparent’s herdsman.
In the farm far away from home where the village cows grazed I was the topic on everyone’s lips.
Topic because I would speak English and of course I had lived my entire life in the city so it was enough to intimidate the folks.
But Kemunto was the type of a girl never to crack under inferior complex and she kept her head high after all she had gone to school and spoke the so called English.
She was the tallest girl I had ever seen and she used this to beat off the Toms, Dicks and Harries who made advances.
She was the typical village girl with unequalled confidence and the approach was not as easy as I thought.
“Hi, kemunto? I am Shooter son to Bugingo and grandson to Ndamira,” I threw a poker at her.
“Good, but how did you know my name?”
“Uuhmm….you know…aahh…”, as I started fumbling with words she chipped in very fast, “Don’t bother yourself.
I know it’s your grandfather’s herdsman who told you.”
“How do you know I am his grandchild?” I knew this would nail her down and indeed it did. She had taken time to inquire about me.
Fine, let’s stop this at that she surrendered left off to attend to her animals and I did the same.
At 1:00 pm, we had another chance to meet at the water pond where animals gathered for a drink.
This time the mood was friendlier, “You are a strong lady! How do you manage to lift that bucket of water down there?” This sent her laughing as she could not believe how naïve I was.
When she laughed, I saw her whiter than snow teeth and went back to giving water to her cows. “Please, keep laughing,” I begged. “Why?” she asked with a stern face.
“Because you look like my grandmother when you laugh,” I defended myself. One by one makes a bundle but with love its calculated moves that make it for you.
I started asking her about cows, what they liked and their names and in return, she told and taught me the songs they liked being whistled to.
She also taught me how to milk and after a long battle of haggling about giving me her heart, she finally said yes.
But trust this cattle keeper she did not accept to you know what. I mean, yes, she never hanky pankied because “I don’t trust town boys!”
That is the only time I ever lost or calling it shooting off target. She convinced me how she loves me and many years later I still didn’t shoot sharp.