Safe journey

At exactly 7:00 a.m our bus comes to a halt. Suddenly there is commotion.‘Va munzira,’ an angry and rather pale looking woman shouts at a young man o get out of the way, as they scramble to descend the bus stairs.

At exactly 7:00 a.m our bus comes to a halt. Suddenly there is commotion.

‘Va munzira,’ an angry and rather pale looking woman shouts at a young man o get out of the way, as they scramble to descend the bus stairs.

“We have reached the boarder,” my sister says in an excited melodramatic voice.

“Zana emifuka yachu ndori,” a mother tells her half-asleep son in the seats opposites ours to carry their bags. We are the last to come out of the Jaguar bus.

Thank God for breathing in the fresh uncontaminated air. I did not know who to give merit for the air I breathed. Uganda or Rwanda; but given that I was at the boarder I guess it was Uga-Rwanda air.

It was my first time to come to Rwanda. Twenty years of separation from my home country. At last, here I was anxious, eager and overwhelmingly expectant to see what lay beyond this imaginary line they called a boarder.

“Prepare your documents,” my sister whispers as we approach the Ugandan authorities. I xerograph what those before me are doing and hand in my passport, after I follow in pursuit of my sister through ‘no man’s land’ to the Rwandan side.

“Wiliwe,” the man behind the glass shielded counter greets me. I respond as he hands back my stamped passport. Fuelled with happiness, my adrenaline drives me past the check point to the bus.

Back in the bus all is not well. Two old men are engaged in verbal assault.

The heated argument was because one thought they were not in Rwanda until they got to Kigali while, the other thought otherwise.

As the bus accelerates, I forget whatever is happening and I am spell bound by the beauty of the green scenery that passes by, the distinction between these two sister countries is inevitable and I certainly see why they call it the land of a thousand hills.

The hills stand proud beside each other and the trees swing from side to side waving welcome. In the distance, a herd of cattle grazes unconcerned about the cars driving past.

“Matimba” the conductor shouts “matimba!” he shouts louder this time breaking me from my trance.

“Ndasigara,” a young man replies and a woman speaks for herself and her kids before they leave the bus. We continue our journey and certainly reach a beautifully situated, gently flowing lake called ‘Muhazi’ which meanders and disappears in the distance.

Flowers line its shores and a large plantation of rice sits overlooking its basin.

“We are almost there,” my sister assures me. The bus then pulls up in front of a row of buildings besides the road. Kayonza, the poster read. People start hassling out, others curse as they take a short break. Some purchased items to take home before the bus sets off gain.

Hours later, my sister hits me hard on the shoulders sending my sweet dreams out the window.

“We have reached Remera.”  And as we descend the stairs we wish the others a safe journey and step down to be received by a rather hectic Remera.

karmaham@yahoo.com

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