I have met several people on the streets suffering from unemployment. My message to them is that if they can’t stand the heat, they should leave the Kitchen and go back to school. I will give these guys a piece of my lifelong story. Once I was a tough and rich guy – but today? Ho!
During the mid 90s, Aggrey and I enjoyed the luxury of real dollars. That was the period when hundreds of NGOs had flooded Rwanda. As young men fresh from institutions across the borders, Aggrey and I discovered the job opportunities with ease.
All we needed to do at that stage was to curl our tongues so that when we spoke, you would mistaken us for some tough educated Americans all the way from Florida.
We also had to change our walking style so that when you met us on the streets, you would think that we were cousins of 50-cent himself.
Our first job application was successful. It was at the Gikondo NGO compound, where office buildings were not in form of houses. The offices were in form of canvas tents.
Our new boss was an expatriate who enjoyed smoking away at his pipe. This 63 year old boss of ours was very tall. That is why he had to bend so hard in order to enter his tent. The interviews were quite smooth.
As I mentioned before, the trick was to speak in a heavy American accent. Aggrey introduced himself as a serious law graduate. I introduced myself as an Engineer. The truth of the matter is that we were simple certificate holders in bookkeeping.
But this Gikondo compound was not in need for a lawyer or an engineer. That is why instead our new boss assigned us other duties. Aggrey became the new storekeeper whereas I became the man in charge of the vehicle fleet.
In addition to the attractive salary that we received in cash dollars, Aggrey and I enjoyed other free services. As the storekeeper, Aggrey ensured that our modest home in Kiyovu of the poor was always equipped with the right stuff.
Therefore, it would not surprise us when our store at home was bulging with sacks of wheat flour, rice, beans and cooking oil. And as for me, I had control over the drivers and I could select any 4x4 jeep for the weekend.
This kind of luxury meant that Aggrey and I could enjoy life to its fullest. So, every Friday evening we found ourselves burning cash like there was no tomorrow. The chicks praised and worshipped us during those hot days.
They were often seen fighting each other as they scrambled to have a piece of the riches that we were naively throwing around. Whenever we went out for a drinking spree, we always never could understand how and when we arrived back home the next day.
More often than never, we woke up the next morning without our shoes, belts and sometimes without our shirts. And of course, without our money purses!
But this never deterred us from enjoying life to its fullest. We knew for sure that the ladies surrounding us were the ones who would fleece us of our belongings. Instead of dodging them, we came back over and over again to guzzle the drinks at Cosmos bar in Nyamijos.
However, all good things usually come to an end. Time had come for most of the NGOs to pack up and leave. In a very short space of time, Aggrey and I found ourselves in hot soup. We were unemployed! Since we had never saved any cash, Aggrey and I soon found out that life was not a joy ride.
The very same guys that we used to help out with mini loans as well as several rounds of booze started to dodge us. Our visits to Cosmos in Nyamijos were miserable. Old friends distanced themselves away from us.
The barmaid also gave us an ultimatum. She advised us never to step at her bar since we were now poor. Well, as the old saying goes; if you cannot stand the heat, its better to leave the kitchen behind!
That is why I informed Aggrey that I could not stand it anymore. I told him that I had to leave for greener pastures. Aggrey did not approve of my plan. He instead decided to stay put and start from zero.
By the time I left for the Diaspora, Aggrey was busy searching for small time jobs in Kigali. In order to get the necessary promotions, Aggrey also enrolled for evening classes at the University!
After toiling so hard for several years, the returns started to flow in. As I write this story, Aggrey is one of the most successful chaps around.
When I came back, I realised that these guys had left me by far! That is why I enrolled for a mature entrance course at the SFB campus.
Aggrey, who has since accommodated me at his Nyarutarama villa, promised to support me with the tuition fees. So, dear unemployed friends of mine – wake up and start school all over again!