A barmaid in Gikondo, on Wednesday threw a party after her daughter completed her primary six leaving examinations.
Most people don’t consider it an achievement when their children complete primary school at a reasonable school but for this particular barmaid who is in her mid 30s was not taking it for granted.
The lady threw a mighty bash complete with roast meat and booze at the local joint where her mates and old pals gave lofty speeches.
I thought she was crazy, till she came to my table. “You see, it’s practically impossible for someone like me to see a child through school. My salary is 35,000 frw.
But most times, patrons disappear without paying their bills and the money is deducted from my meagre salary,” she hissed.
I know that only too well, having witnessed countless fights over unpaid bills over the past I have been a patron at the otherwise esteemed establishment.
“My rent is 15,000 frw so you can imagine the difficulty of raising a child and supporting my siblings and aged mother,” she explained. I had no quarrel with that. I earn lots more yet I still struggle to meet my financial obligations.
“If it weren’t for the tips I get here, and the goodwill of my daughter’s headmaster, she would never have finished school…”
Such are the tales that loosen the heart - and wallet. “Barman! An Amstel for Monique,” I announced a teardrop in my left eye.
And I was thinking, isn’t it amazing how people pay tithe in different ways? A devoted Christian diligently deposits a tenth of his or her earnings with the church each month.
But what does the charismatic preacher do with the money? He buys a big house, expensive suits and clothes for his wife and children and a bigger trumpet for the choir.
Like a trade union, money goes in, but never out. If a member of the congregation were to fall sick, or die, the church calls a fundraiser.
When the pastor needs a new car, another fundraiser is called. Tithe simply disappears into a bottomless pit in the preacher’s stomach.
But when drunks tithe at the bar with their tips, poor barmaids whose men vanished into thin air place a hot meal on the table and send little babies to school.