Sunday 17th November 2013
There is no killer like Mother Nature when She gets a mind to it. Lucky are those that haven’t met Her wrath, but who knows whom She’ll strike next? Because if it was the Philippines last 8th November and the USA a few days later, soon it may be any country.
We diminutive humans of this globe are at the mercy of Mother Nature and I doubt any technology can ever free us from Her fits of rage, so help us God.
However, you as a Rwandan have a lot to thank God for. First of all, He placed you far from the oceans, even if it is a small consolation when you consider being land-locked. He provided you with thousands of hills – not your false notion of 1000 only – which ensure reasonable drainage. And He rendered your volcanoes dormant. Of course, once in a while neighbouring Mt. Nyiragongo spits fiery lava on our neighbour and across but, yes, it’s once in a while.
Still, times haven’t always been as calm as today in Rwanda. I remember the 1950s when I used to roam the northern ridges, looking like ‘umuhini’ (a fat-headed club). Imagine tiny Ingina: head as fat as ‘nyamaturi’ (know the swollen thing?); limbs so tiny and short as to compete with a rat’s; and dressed in a long shirt that opened at the neck and had two slits at the sides. In effect, the shirt was neither a shirt nor a ‘kanzu’.
We used to live in an executive ‘nyakatsi’ (grass-thatched hut) that looked like the one in Rukari (been to Nyanza in the south?) – which means the walls, too, were grass-thatched.
One day I was perched on the branch of a tree, gathering firewood, when suddenly I was viciously shaken and almost lost grip. On looking down, I saw a violent river churning all sorts of debris just bellow me, barely touching me. I hardened my grip and clang on the branch for dear life, as I understood what’d happened. I was praying that I’d be able to wait it out. It was the first time the water was so high but otherwise it always happened.
You see, we lived at the foot of Mt. Muhabura. And there, sometimes it used to rain at its summit without raining around its foot. At such times the Crater Lake on Mt. Muhabura would overflow and water comes down in murderous torrents. For their regularity, the torrents had formed gullies in which they flowed but when the rains were intense, the gullies’d overflow too and water comes with such force that it’d destroy anything in its path.
That’s how, when finally I went home after waiting the torrent out, I found our house gone. Fortunately, I was told, no one’d been washed away. My parents and siblings had been working on higher ground that was not affected. Still, much property was destroyed and hardly any house was left standing. So much for ‘nyakatsi’, as all houses were grass-thatched.
All of which means that as you thank the Almighty, so should you, yourselves.
‘Uti’ why? First, for caring about environmental protection, as it needs the involvement of all countries. Then, for standing your ground and abolishing ‘nyakatsi’, when the naysayers were denouncing the programme as aimed at sidelining some people. And, most of all, for your ‘Agaciro’
Now I hear the naysayers snort: “These Banyarwanda! How on this blinking earth does their much touted Agaciro see them through severe storms?”
Interestingly, though, it does, in many ways. For instance, when Diaspora Philippinos fundraised to send funds to rebuild their homeland after the recent nasty storm, they could not send the funds through their state institutions, because, as they said: “We’d like every cent to reach those poor people rather than getting waylaid.” They sent the money through Red Cross!
If there is any deplorable negation of Agaciro, this was elephantine it!
Now, remember Agaciro Development Fund? In the wildest of their imaginations, can any Rwandan think of ‘eating’ the littlest morsel of a cent of that money?
That’s the meaning of ‘Agaciro’. With even stronger resolve, all funds meant for road-construction, house-construction, hospital-construction, anything, will be used for its designated purpose. Then swift evacuation, strong resistance to collapse, immediate treatment, et al, will be possible.
With the grace of God re-enforcing Agaciro, the effect of Mother Nature’s rage can be minimised.