In a taxi travelling to Rwamagana, a beautiful decently dressed lady probably in her mid 30s happily got out her boiled eggs and started eating.
She was holding a loud conversation with her immediate neighbour, capturing everyone’s attention. One could see the food in her mouth as she ate while talking.
As if that wasn’t disgusting enough, the ‘gentleman’ sitted right next to me kept on picking his nose and using his hands to blow his nose while rubbing it on his blue-white striped shirt.
At this point, I wanted to confront these two individuals displaying their uncouth behaviour in public.
The passengers kept on jeering and muttering to themselves but you could tell what was going on. I was burning with rage, gnashing my teeth.
I felt a strong urge to give these two fellows a piece of my mind but I was too enraged to do so. I did the next best thing, I kept calm.
Spitting in public, picking the nose, teeth or ears, littering rubbish anywhere, belching at the table, talking with food in the mouth and being late for an appointment are some of the things that show poor etiquette.
Apparently, we have all fallen victim at some point or encountered such incidents where people do things that are irritating to the eye and they go on with their business like nothing happened.
Etiquette used to be the bond that held society together. It enabled people to get on with friends and neighbours without causing offence or harm. Sadly, these days it is growing fainter by the day and vanishing out completely if not revived.
“One of the common ugly habits I have observed here is spitting. People do spit everywhere like it’s a normal thing. People say it’s a woman thing but it does cut across because I have seen men do it too and it is so disgusting.
The best thing to do in order to educate people about etiquette and mannerisms is to confront them because some people simply don’t know that some of the things they do are not society friendly until they are told,” Diana Uwimana,32, a business woman in Remera and mother of two said.
Uwimana adds that etiquette and mannerisms may not be subjects taught in school but it goes back to the individual’s upbringing and background.
A lot is revealed about one’s personality and reputation through their behaviour some of which may seem trivial but does say a lot.
“I once saw a man who looked so elegant and was corporately dressed.
He was holding a black berry, two other phones and a bottle of mineral water. One could mistake him for a bank Manager or a Lawyer. He walked to some posh car, opened and sat at the driver’s seat ready to drive off.
Just before he could start the car, he threw the empty mineral water bottle out through the car window .That is one thing I cant stand, people littering the street and I was so not amused.
I walked towards him, picked the bottle and threw it back into his car. He insulted me but am sure he got the point and will never do such a thing again,” Hellen Keza, 26, a human rights activist, said.
Keza noted that such behaviour has a lot to do with the schools one went to and most importantly upbringing.
Good manners and etiquette are instilled right from childhood and in school. She says that she actually began to think that this guy did not own this car but was someone’s driver.
However, she notes that along the way, she has met responsible and learned people who also lack good etiquette and has concluded that it is the parents’ role to bring up children with good behaviour acceptable in society.
“Like the old adage goes, Charity begins at home, is indeed tested and true.
The way old people behave now is most likely the way they were taught and brought up by there parents. Good and bad behaviour is both groomed at home.
The big men and women who belch at tables while dining with others, spit everywhere and pick their nose and teeth were ignored or never punished whenever they did the same in their childhood so the old habits have caught up with them and it is hard to let go of a habit one has grown up with,” explains Mrs. Joyce Habiyambere, 62, retired midwife and mother of six.
Habiyambere says family has the biggest part to play when it comes to issues of etiquette and mannerisms.
Children always stick to whatever their parents teach them and those are the manners they grow up with. The power of making and breaking a child’s character lies in the hands of the parents.
There are a few exceptions but in most cases, the etiquette and manners we have today were accepted or taught to us by our parents or guardians.