Unpredictability - Good for your health

Our modern life is based on organising an environment free from the unexpected. The house needs to be as stable and reliable as possible. The job as safe as possible. Nothing should break down. Nothing but what we predict, should occur.
This is the life of the zoo animal. Let's explore the life of the Nomad. Let's live the life of the Nomad.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Rwanda - And Daily Life

Having lived in several different countries myself, I am aware that a couple of weeks is not really enough time to determine the measure of a daily life.  Perhaps six months might be a better period of time.  On the other hand, I was fortunate to have visited my partner's family and friends as well as Rwanda itself.  And so I did receive some insight.  And so I shall share these observances in this, my final post on Rwanda for this visit.

Rwanda and Medicine

The mattress on the bed, in the hotel, was quite firm.  I awoke the second morning with a tender cramped shoulder.  It did not improve much during the day.  Here in the UK we have the National Health Service.  It is free to the consumer, although it is paid for by everyone contributing part of their salary to a welfare tax. Rwanda is similar in that it follows a universal health care system. There are regional based health care organisation into which citizens pay insurance contributions.  This covers approximately 45% of the healthcare costs, the remainder coming from international donations and government funds.

There are a handful of national hospitals and hundreds of health centres.  I wondered about how I would get to visit one of these centres.  I decided to live with the shoulder pain.  Time was precious and the shoulder only pained when I lifted my arm.  My partner's brother however, on observing my discomfort - led me to one of the many street pharmacies in Kigali.  I described my condition to the pharmacist and he returned with some medication called diclofenac.  I thought this rather odd that I could simply purchase a medication without a Doctor's script.  I paid the fee and a couple of days later my shoulder was pain free.  I took advantage of this convenience to also purchase some asthma and indigestion medication - without the inconvenience of having to visit a doctor. Perhaps unwise - but while in Africa, might as well do it the African way.

Rwanda and Shopping

My partner's family are members of the mercantile class, owning several phone and material shops.  I spent a good amount of time in these shops observing the retail world in action in Kigali.  There are a couple of modern type shopping malls but mostly Rwandans buy their wares from independently run shops, or street vendors.  The government discourages individuals from selling goods from plate or a hat.  Officials often round them up and take them away for prosecution.

Foreign goods can be expensive.  Rwanda is land locked and thus goods from abroad need to be air lifted into the country.  Locally produced goods such as clothing are very good value.  I purchased some magnificent clothing and even some materials for my sister in the UK, who has a talent with the sewing machine.

A nomad's jewellery shop 
Shopping all hours

Be prepared when entering the shopping malls - they will usually be protected by guards and you will be required to place your metallic goods into a bowl and to step through a metal detector - not a lot different to the security in an airport. These type of things can be a bit disconcerting, however, I certainly had no reason to feel unsafe while in Kigali.

There are no regulated shopping hours.  In fact Kigali never appears to close down.  Even late at night shops can be seen doing business. And if you enjoy your shopping - don't forget to haggle for a good price.

Rwanda and Civic Pride

On every last Saturday of each month Rwandan citizens are obliged to take part in Umuganda. Each citizen participates in community work such as street cleaning and infrastructure repairs.  Rwandans are very proud of their country - and there is good reason.  It is a delight simply to drive through the streets of Kigali and observe how clean and orderly everything is.  You will not see discarded plastic bags.  They are not permitted.  I did not see any fly tipping.

I did see much development and economic activity.  Rwanda is like the Lazarus of Africa.  It is hard to believe that only 22 years ago this country was virtually destroyed by civil war.

To have visited Rwanda was indeed a great privilege.  I experienced nothing but the finest of hospitality.  I was able to witness a people blessed with an inner sanctum, in spite of the bitter past.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experiences of Rwanda in the last posts.  I am looking forward to a return to Rwanda, and hopefully this will not be too far away.

Peace To All