I often think it interesting how conservative our culture is. I mean, anyone who wouldn’t recognize that would not be a good observer, really.
But one thing that still shocks me till today is the disgusting habit of spitting any where one might be. It surely isn’t and was never a part of our culture, and yet sadly many Rwandan visitors are forced to believe it probably was or even still is.
I was one day reading an article about Rwanda in the Sunday magazine, a publication of the New Vision. The article discussed the treasure that Rwanda is regarding its beauty, hospitality, admirable culture and so forth.
I was smiling as I read along. I even made sure whoever was behind me, or in reasonable reading distance could see the articles headline and figure out that I was reading something interesting about my beloved country.
However, my smile faded when I got to the writer’s criticism of Rwanda. The only negative thing the author had to say was the disgusting spitting habit.
The author mentioned that it was common for people to spit and added that without public spitting, the image of Rwanda would be complete. As I read, I thought “how absolutely true.”
Lets be very honest with each other, this habit is common within our community. As a matter of fact even our family members and friends do it.
That said, it should be everyone’s responsibility to denounce this degrading habit whenever we can. If you see someone spit in public, condemn them, irrespective of who they are.
Spitting does not only portray a bad image of Rwanda, but also is also a health hazard.
I call upon our leaders to take this issue more seriously since in Rwanda the majority of the people take something seriously if the leaders take it serious.
If you must spit, use the bathroom or disposable tissue. If that’s not possible, go somewhere private. Don’t spit anywhere people can see. Imagine how many tourists or visitors take back the image that Rwanda is a place where people spit in public.
Besides the image talk, it is basic etiquette and a sign of self-respect.
The author is a Senior 5 student at Riviera High School