IN KIGALI, RWANDA
Cases of bribery scarce
Unlike in Kenya where traffic police officers are a common fixture on roads and sometimes have claims of taking bribes levelled against them, here it appears that such occurrences are rare. A citizen told me a bribe taker or receiver may get an immediate five-year jail term, and a fine consisting almost three times the amount of bribe. Twice, during my stay here, my driver has been flagged down by police for traffic related offences. On one occasion, he was charged on the spot and fined about Sh3000 that he had to pay within 48 hours. The second time, he got away with a slap on the wrist after begging the police woman for leniency - in Kinyarwanda.
Water shortage problems
Like in most sub-Saharan Africa cities I have been to, Kigali appears to also face a water shortage challenge. Thrice in as many days at my hotel in Kigali, I have opened up the taps or flushed the toilet with little returns. In some streets, vendors transporting water cans can be spotted, especially in the estates. This is interesting to note especially considering Kigali is a city of a million people, roughly 10 per cent of Nairobi’s population. Perhaps in solidarity, the challenges of accessing clean water in Nairobi are well documented. Most homes have to live within rationing conditions or purchase from vendors.
Misconceptions on Kenya
It’s interesting what some Rwandans who have never been to Kenya think about the country. My 25-year-old driver, opted to pick my mind about a few things the other day. And I also asked him what he’s heard or read about Kenya (he’s never travelled out of Rwanda). He shared with me the harrowing tales from his friends who visited Kenya. He’s been told there are very many ‘thieves' in Nairobi and you better watch out all your belongings in the streets, including the shoes you are wearing and your phone. He also claims to have been told that all discussions involving a Kenyan "must be directed towards or end with making money." Could this be true?
Potential dangers of confusing bathroom signs
In Kenya, washrooms meant for use by men, women and even children are clearly spelt out with signage on the doors.
Things seem a little different here as I recently visited a washroom clearly marked "men and women" on the door.
I didn’t know what to make of that, but didn’t need to wait long to find out.
I stepped in was welcomed with the sight of men and women sprucing up at the water sink and mirror probably after finalising their calls of nature, almost unbothered.