“The Sauna discovery”

The VillagerLife is a long learning process. When you think you have learnt something, a new discovery pops up just like that! 

When you think you have learnt something, a new discovery pops up just like that! 

The English say, “Life will never be the same again,” which is very true, if I imagine the advent of saunas, internet and the mobile phone era.

I have tried hard or can I say, more than hard, to shed the villager in me but alas! I’ve failed.  As the adage goes, “you can take a villager out of the village, but you will never take the village out of him!” 

I have come to believe this saying and will continue honouring it, come rain or shine!

Before I take you to the sauna discovery, I have a few examples of village mannerisms that stick into some people for life.

The other day, we went out to enjoy the “so called” roast chicken in one of Kigali’s top spots. With me was none other than the Diaspoman. What a match!!

As the sweltering chicken was brought, we forgot that they had brought us some cutlery; we simply attacked the “dead bird” with our bare hands or is it fingers!

Surely, in a modern and civilised society, people no longer attack food with bare fingers, but what to do? 

These are the animal instincts inside us, however much we try to change them, the harder the stick, the more we manifest them (brother, no offence intended)!

This is just an illustration of the many problems we encounter trying to be some one else! Surely, if we had been in Buja, the “Bajumbura” would have surely got disgusted with our behaviour.

The Bajumbura are such an “advanced” people that, they may even take tea with a straw and drink water with a spoon.

Not us, I first encountered the use of a fork while at St. Leo’s College (the only College), because it was mandatory to use one. If you were caught “attacking” food with bare hands, it was punishable by an hour’s booking (if booked 12 hours, you were liable for a month’s suspension.

We now have a big problem; many villagers have been transformed (so they think) into town or city dwellers (Abanyamugi).

They want to shed the village in them faster than is accepted. The end result is they are bound to falter in a bid to pretend that they are not what they are and that, they actually are what they are not eh!

I remember my old folks used to apply a certain technology when I was suffering from malaria.

They would boil water and add a cocktail of plants therein and I would sit next to the hot pot and granny would proceed to cover me with a mat so that, the steam from the pot would make me sweat like a pig! That way, the malaria parasites would get frightened and run away (that’s what they used to tell us), leaving me sound and strong!

Several decades later, here I am being subjected to the same procedure, only refined and expanded into what they now call a “Sauna” According to the Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, the sauna was invented by the Finnish as a substantial part of their culture.

There are several millions of inhabitants and over two million saunas in Finland - an average of one per household. For Finnish people the sauna is a place for easing with friends and family, and a place for physical and mental relaxation.

The Finnish think of saunas not as a luxury, but a necessity. Before the rise of public health care and nursery facilities, almost all Finnish mothers gave birth in saunas.

Now you can figure out what a sauna is and where the concept came from.

  This therefore is yet another Endeavour to eliminate the village in me.

Who am I to resist the so called “majyambere” (not the man but development).  I better get going, may be next time I will tell you more about the sauna!


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