Craaaasshh…!

Vase

Remember the beautiful, crystal vase that stood in our home?
It was such a pretty sight! It stood on a raised platform on the best-lit spot in the house. Everyone who visited our home saw it and complimented its beauty and grandeur. We all adored it and made a family goal to keep it well polished and shiny. We took it upon ourselves to keep it safe and warned anyone who danced near it. No one shook the raised platform that the vase stood on. Even our pets knew better than to play near that spot. And so, there stood a beautiful, delicate crystal vase in our home.

Mama, do you remember the vase, that you so proudly displayed to your friends and family? The one you made sure we all took turns polishing? It was your dignity and delight!

Papa, do you remember pointing it out to your colleagues when they visited and talking long and boastfully to everyone who could listen about it? Do you remember the threats you made to anyone who came too close to breaking it?

Brother, do you remember stopping on your tracks just in time to not touch the platform and shake the vase? Do you remember never banging the door in your anger, in case it rattled the walls and toppled the vase over?

Sister, do you remember your silence? Do you remember swallowing your screams when angry because you somehow feared that loud noises would shake the delicate vase? Do you remember when you stopped dancing because your merry lightness let you so close to the raised platform that you shook the vase?

Aunts, uncles, neighbors! Do you all remember our quiet household with no tantrums, no raised voices, no banged doors or dancing feet? Do you remember admiring the tranquility?

I remember taking turns with everyone in the family to polish the vase. I also remember covering my nose every time I stood close to the vase because it stank! That beautiful crystal smelled like lifelessness. From deep inside its soft, shiny mold came the smell of rot! The smell of an accumulation of decomposed matter. Only we who stood close enough could smell the stench, and it grew stronger, spread wider with time. I sensed that the neighbors and frequent visitors started smelling it too. But everyone ignored that dead-matter smell because it was coming from such a beautiful, delicate vase!

I remember one day standing next to the vase with my duster and polisher ready to give it a good shine. I started polishing with dread in my gut and my breath held. When I allowed myself a lungful of air, I inhaled a foul stench! This time the decay of so much had brewed into a marvelous lung-piercing stench. My gut couldn’t hold itself together; and so, I turned and watched you all going about your subtle activities with shallow breaths, I moved my hand to give the vase a mighty shove and watched it crash with a satisfying sound…
I expected your unbelieving, shocked faces… I didn’t expect the glorious relief in my belly.

We stand now staring at the shattered pieces as an ugly smell rises from the floor and spreads throughout the house:

Mama, that’s the smell of accumulated secrets. That’s the smell of the many times you warned your daughters to cover their legs while welcoming predators into your house. Smells of also the many times you swallowed dams of tears for the sake of keeping the family together.

Papa, that’s the smell of your dissatisfaction for marrying, for settling and shrinking your dreams into fatherhood. The smell of your resentment that reminded her she was never enough. That’s the smell of the pride you strapped so tightly around your core that you wouldn’t let your son be a mere boy.

Brother, that’s the smell of your lost childhood. That’s the smell of your anger and insecurities buried so deep that you will miss them when you finally let go. That’s the smell of your manliness that doesn’t allow you to cry or ask for help.

Sister, that’s the smell of your stifled sobs from the nights that you cried yourself to sleep because the burden your mothers asked you to bear wasn’t yours. That’s the smell of your confusion and sense of betrayal. It’s also a smell of your resolve to carry this burden to your children so you may finally sleep.

These dear family, are the smells of the secrets we kept even though everyone knew about them but chose to look away. This smell is the reality of our lives behind the mask of perfection and still waters. And as we stand looking down at the shattered hypocrisy on our feet, the smells rise and wisp towards every room in the house. It’s hard to breathe. Someone better open a window and let in some fresh air. And I’m pretty sure someone is about to scream at me for deciding to break this vase. This beautiful, delicate, crystal vase that stank of dead matter… Somebody is going to do something. And to that I say; let there be noise.

Blossoms.

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I lost a friend while on vacation. This sentence already sounds complicated, I realize, so I will explain. I was on a short holiday at a beautiful place when my friend died. No, she was not with me on vacation. She was thousands of kilometers back home. There I was on a beautiful place, supposed to have a break and enjoy myself after a whole year when the news got to me. I spent the following minutes in absolute disbelief and started reaching out to everyone I could. There’s an explainable emotion that resembles panic and it pulls at the stomach when one is trying to confirm or validate bad news. I went through that as I waited for answers, holding on to my phone and wishing it transferred more than just electromagnetic signals.

The worst was confirmed after a few minutes and my heart sank. There are two sides to this situation; the first is the sadness and frustration of being too far and not able to do anything. The second is the unreality of the situation as one follows the updates through the phone and social media. These two leave your chest empty, gasping for air and dry heaving before the tears arrive.

I cried that day. I cried harder than I had allowed myself to in years and for so many reasons. Regret; all the time lost! I wasn’t very close to the deceased, even though we had every reason to be. Questions like; why? were heavy on my mind. Loss; because that’s exactly what it is and how it feels. I felt the loss of a friend and all those that went before her. Helplessness; because I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t mourn with loved ones or friends in common being so far. I couldn’t relive the moments with the departed. I was too far and too late.

Well, time moved and within a few days she was laid to rest and I faced life again. The question is however, how does one resume life? Do I recommence the holiday with gusto and live my best life even though there’s a slight bitterness on my tongue? Do I stay indoors and let grief and sadness run its course? How do I honor somebody’s memory and live? Are those two that different?

But then, life has a way of directing and redirecting itself against all odds. While sight-seeing the next day I started noticing flowering plants. I found them everywhere! Little flowers growing under rocks. Big majestic flowers by a valley. Bright blossoms above thorny cacti. A rose shaped cactus. There were flowers everywhere, in every size, shape and color. Some grew on fertile soil on beautifully cultivated gardens and thrived on the nurturing environment. Others grew on rocky roads, on fallen pots and dry patches of land without any care but their own will to blossom. Some grew wanted and others not, but against all odds they grew. I noticed one clear thing about these plants; they all just grew and regardless of their reason to exist, or how long they will exist, they were all beautiful.

It now dawns on me that we are all like that. Our lives are just like the gorgeous, vulnerable, majestic, colorful, resistant, … flowers. Our lives are meant to just be lived, just as the flowers ARE. We grow from different places and face different challenges and opportunities. And just like flowers we blossom, we bloom, not knowing when we’ll wither and fall dry. We don’t know if we’ll fill some hearts with joy, put smiles on passive faces. We don’t know if our lives will continue on the earth that we grew upon or on decorative vases, dried herbs packets, on hair and clothes as decoration or pressed in a book. We don’t know for how long we grow and bloom. We are not entirely sure if our seeds will spread and grow to continue our lives or start new life. We just ARE, and that could be the whole point. When the time comes for our blossoms to dry, the only thing that matters is; Did we bloom? Did we grow? Did we live?

When I see it this way, maybe there’s more than just pain and regret in loss. There’s also gratitude for life and what it means to us. There’s growth and beauty in our memories and these make us who we are. We are blossoms.

We LOVE, and we learn…

We are born in love. We are born with love. We are born to love. We are love.

I believe love starts with life, or rather life starts with love. It starts from the moment we take our first breathe and we start reflecting the love inside our beings into the life around us. We learn the comfort of a parent’s touch and the satisfaction of milk filling our bellies. We recognize the swooning voices around us and cling to their warmth. This is what slowly accumulate into manifestations of love.  As we grow and make sense of our place in the world, we experience love in different ways. We receive love and learn to give it back. We like hugs and find them soothing, that’s why we learn to give hugs for comfort. We collect love from around us and make it our own. This is how we learn to portray love.
We learn to love so we can love others and love ourselves. We learn to love so we can teach others to love us, after we love ourselves. Because our reflection of love is useless if doesn’t seep into our very own beings and start from within. And thus, we love, and we learn, and we live. Each one of us loving at their own pace and way.

One day I met you, darling. I met you and saw love dripping from your being so thickly. You have loved and learned abundantly. You loved yourself as fiercely as a human possibly can. So, I love you so much. We decide to love together and share life. It is beautiful and easy. I find it easy to love you because you already love yourself enough to teach me. You take my hand and show me how to love you. But, alas…love! My heart is breaking.

I love you, I live you but my heart breaks with every love serving you poor into me. My heart breaks for you, because I do not love myself yet. I loved and learned to love everything but myself. I love the rain. I love my friends. I love trains. I love you. Everyone believes me to be a loving person! The expression is, “Having a big heart”. I may be having a big heart, and I fill it with love for everything but myself. I didn’t learn to love myself enough. I reflect my love to many parts of life but cannot find the same within my very own self. I left myself torn and exhausted while I loved others. And my big heart is hollow and pale.
This is why my heart breaks when I see you trying to love me. You may think you have enough love for the both, but this is never true. Having love and being love are different things. And we need them both. I see you trying, and I’m very thankful. But you can never love me enough or right because I never loved myself enough to teach you how to love me. And I love you enough to not allow you to fight an invisible wall.

I shall retreat into a far place. I may have to leave you, darling. This may break both our hearts, mine twice for the both of us. Still, I will leave and go find myself. I am going to learn and love myself. I’m going to look into my darkest parts and secrets. I’m going to face my imperfections. I’m going to face the raw honesty of my ugly side. I’m going to learn to love my fears, regrets and shame. I’m going to love all of me. And when I finally have enough love for myself. I will come back to you. If you’ll have me, I’ll teach you how to love me. And learn how to love you some more. We’ll love and we’ll learn, Darling.


 

Pouring, and everything liquid…

               You used to walk around as a full being. Full of life, full of love, full of anger, full of yourself and full in any possible meaning of it, in your own way. Those near you felt it and walked next to you also full. Once in a while, someone would get a little empty, and your being would overflow and fill them up again. And you would get your fill from overflowing ones near you when it got empty. It is good and peaceful, and it is natural. So natural that you do not recognize the process. Just like the way you don’t recognize your own breathing or the beating of your heart. Or even the flow of your blood. You just lived and you were FULL.
The one day, you met empty souls. You met those whose beings missed something. Those who had unquenchable thirsts and hungers. Those whose needs are never really satisfied no matter how much they receive. There are people whose cups are never full, because somehow they accumulated holes under them and may never discover that. They keep tirelessly trying to fill their cups to no success. Some have empty cups simply because they never learned to fill them up. Or they don’t meet those who can walk with them and learn the fulfilling process together.
You met those souls. You who so naturally and unconsciously lived in pouring what was overflowing from yourself into others and receiving other’s overflow. So, you naturally poured your overflow onto the empty souls, and they rejoiced in it. They enjoyed it so much that they asked for more, and you poured just a little more. Suddenly you start tilting to pour from yourself. You are not overflowing anymore. You give all the overflow and receive nothing in return. Because empty souls don’t know how to share. They don’t have what to give back. They wouldn’t even know how to pour if they accumulate excess. Empty souls need refill, and you will never have enough to refill them when you don’t know why they are empty. So, you tilt and pour, bend a little more and pour, and before long you get down to your knees to pour…

You now have an almost empty being, and it’s taking a toll on you. You feel the pains of bending too low to pour. You feel the empty thirst in your chest and do not know what to do. You are almost flat on the ground trying to pour more into them, but you don’t have much left. They notice your diminishing flow, and ask for more. They wonder why you don’t pour that much anymore. They ask, and ask, ask. You have a few drops left and are flat on your tummy. That last pour may be your bridge to becoming an empty soul yourself.

You may pour to the last drop and start your life as another empty soul searching for drops from others. This may take a lifetime. You may hopefully meet an overflowing individual who is conscious of the process and take you through the journey to refill. You may even discover the meaning of it all and stop the last pour, and start the work on refilling yourself up again. You may go into all possible directions with your being! One thing is for sure, only you can refill that cup before anyone else can even try to do it. Nobody else can restart the flow for you.

               My dear readers, we have all been overflowing or empty souls at one point or another in life. We have met givers, receivers and users in life. Some of us ask for too much and feel deprived when those near us fail to deliver. We walk around hungry for more, attention, possessions, memories… this hunger preys on those near us. They feel the burden of never being enough, they feel our dissatisfaction. On the other hand, some of us give too much to those around us. It may be due to the need to feel irreplaceable, or accepted. It may be for many other reasons out of my limited understanding. However, giving without receiving (as is receiving without giving) is sad and unfulfilling. And those receiving from us get accustomed to it and may even start expecting or demanding more. Leading to a regrettable circle of disappointment and resentment.

No matter where you belong in this narrative at the moment, the answer to a more fulfilled life isn’t in everybody else around you. It is within yourself. Ask yourself why you don’t feel like you are ENOUGH. Ask yourself why you don’t feel like you get ENOUGH? Find yourself. Fill yourself. Do that before you overflow onto or drink from others.

How are you?

It has been a while, readers! This title seems appropriate after the long silence. I write today wondering how everyone is. How is 2018 looking so far? Are there any major changes in your life? Did anyone’s hair grow? New pet? Back pains? …?

I’m always curious about the people around me or those that interact with my life in one way or another. And even end up making up stories about them when I need entertainment. Like, the man I sat next to in the bus could be a primary school teacher with a wife and a little seven-year-old girl. Or the moto-guy could be trying to date the girl who tends to the grocery store in his neighborhood. Basically, I’m interested in people and have been meeting a lot of them recently after moving back to my old town.

I notice something every time I meet a new person these days. After the usual introduction, there’s a question that comes almost instantly. For example, after the initial: “Hi Dada. Pleasure meeting you” part, there’s a good chance that the next sentence is: “And what do you do, Dada”? Which I usually need a few seconds to answer. What do I do? Is it acceptable to say I cook? Or I wake up and use the bathroom? I crochet occasionally?

The person obviously wants to know what I do for a living aka my job or whatever project/source of income that pays my bills. If it is in a corporate event, that person wants to know what gives me the right or legitimacy to be there. And sometimes the answer would determine exactly how much attention or decency the person should invest in me. Am I an interesting contact, potential client, potential employer or investor? Our interaction will now be determined by that question. And this goes so far that even simple flirting or friendliness will depend on the answer to the ‘what do you do?’ question.

We are in societies and situations where, “what do you do?” has replaced, “how do you do?” and “who are you?” comes before “How are you?”. This is a sobering realization for me. It’s sad to think that I have to know who you are before how you are matters to me. And we try to explain it away with logical, practical reasons. “I obviously can’t care about everybody”. “It IS a corporate event! I’m not here to find a new best friend”.  “Eerm, hello! I have bills to pay and a job to do…”. “You save yourself a lot of time when you mind your own business”.
Those are all valid reasons, or not. I don’t write today asking people to walk around throwing rose petals and marshmallows. I don’t ask you to start robotic “how are you, today?” conversations with everyone you bump noses with. I am not telling you to throw away practical reasoning and go give free hugs at the town offices (which could actually be fun). I am writing today asking how you are.

Did you take a moment to think of how you really are? How does it feel being you today? How do you feel with your human interactions?  How is your neighbor? How is your sibling? How is your boss? How is your driver? How is the noisy kid in your street? How is your maid? It may be a good idea to look into yourself and around you and ask. Who knows? This could be the answer to keeping in touch with ourselves and being happy.

So, my dear readers, “HOW ARE YOU?”.

Festive Oddities

Happy new year everybody!! It’s 2018!! The year flew by so fast and before I could wrap my head around it, away it went. Like many people I know, the end of the year caught me in a haze. This is when people pause to reflect on milestones, memories and time. I had my good share of the festivities, including that blank space between Christmas and new year where everyone seems to lose sense of time. And occasionally, when my brain came back from all its festive occupations, I would get thoughtful (as Usual). I got quizzical about Christmas, for example. The lights, décor, the good cheer, the presents and the lights again. My sodded brain just wondered, why all that. Why the lights, Santa Claus, and all these oddities?

A quick and lazy search taught me that long ago in countries that experience winter, (which was severe due to the absence of electricity, heating systems and Netflix), plants and trees that retained their green color during winter were deemed special. People hung evergreen boughs in their homes, with the belief that they could drive away evil and illness.

In the northern hemisphere, they believed that the sun god would fall sick during winter. And by hanging green wreaths of hope and celebrating the summer, he would get well and shine again. Like the Egyptian belief of the sun god Ra.

And thus, through the years, the evergreen wreaths evolved into four feet long or even floor to ceiling decorated fir trees. And now, the size, color, and splendor of the Christmas tree is only limited to the imagination.

So, at last we have an explanation to that huge tree that pops up on the roundabout every December. I still don’t know where Santa came in, but I deducted that for children, he is symbol of giving. A desire to spread joy and good cheer. I didn’t until recently know that there is Santa Claus and Sinterklaas and maybe others. But that’s a whole new talk and my brain is on vacation.

When I was a child, Santa was the jolly plump guy with a white beard brought to realization by toys in stores, Coca-Cola adverts and watching movies like ‘Home Alone’. Christmas until recently comprised of going to church in brand new clothes (Or just your best clothes), singing to the joyful birth of Christ, then head back home for a special meal or visit friends, family or places.

Presently however, cultural diversity allows a mixture of all these in one. And trying to paint a simple picture of Christmas may cause a migraine. There are just so many ways, beliefs, cultures that all work together. Maybe that’s just it! Everyone should just do what they want.

Well, this was a lot of thinking for someone in a holiday I should say. And it wouldn’t matter that much if I crack my head thinking of it. So, finally I came to reconcile with this; it was indeed Christmas! And that was all that matters. Whether you were a Christian celebrating the birth of the savior, a descendant of the sun goddess believers, or a mere citizen just in need of holiday cheer, I said let’s all go for it! It was the end of the year. A time to sit back with our legs stretched. Look back at the year before. The good, the bad and the horrific parts of it. The struggles we have been through. The achievements, the losses, the tears and the joy. The simple moments that gave meaning to our entire lives. The critical moments that almost drained our last drop of faith. The stab that almost killed our will to live.

Then think of all that we could improve. And all those things we wouldn’t want to change. The festive season has been a long break. Like a tall drink of water after a long race. What does it matter how you celebrated it or who you celebrated is as? If lights work for you, decorate every part of your house, including the soup pans and gardening tools. If not, switch it all off. Or even better, skip your bill and let your energy provider cut the power for you and enjoy the dark my friend! Visit with loved ones or lock yourself in! Or just do the typical getting super wasted for half of the holiday. Just be your own kind of festive!

So, salute! Merry (Three weeks late) Christmas everybody! And a very happy new year! 2018, here we come!

Fear of Bad Breath

Self-reflection happened to me a few days ago. 2017 is almost gone, which gets me and maybe other people, thinking. I thought of different things; life, fruits, shoes, cockroaches, chewing gum—. Okay basically just random stuff. One of these was bad breath. I, like every other person I can think of, shudder at the thought of bad breath. I mean, it is already called bad! I don’t even need to explain that part. So, imagine me sitting there like a plump little guru and thinking of bad breath. It is ridiculous and not worth anyone’s attention. What made this topic stand out for me however was the realization that I fear my own bad breath.

I have been hit more times than I would care to admit by whiffs of death perfumes from humans. It’s a horrific experience. As a result of that, I take care not to assault anyone with my mouth. This has been very good for my dental hygiene actually, but it is quite an occupation. I mean, think of all the gum I have had to invest in, the struggle of not leaning in too close when speaking, avoiding whispering, the bloating that comes with long periods of chewing gum. I was honestly so afraid of my own bad breath that I took special pains to avoid it. The funny thing is, I never really noticed any threatening odors from most of the people I interacted with. Probably because my breath and theirs is just fine, or they have matching stink (One can never know!)
Before I totally confuse you with my breath talk, here is my take on this:

I think most people live like this, and I don’t mean in constant dental warfare. I mean, we hold our breaths too much. We worry about others way more than we do ourselves. We let our perception of what we think others think of us dictate our entire lives. I am guilty of that too. And recently, I decided to breath and let my sides relax. I cannot walk through life afraid of letting go, holding my head down and politely whispering my words as I purchase a pack of gum. I want to sing, I want to throw my head back and laugh. I want to blow kisses and give hugs.

Dear people, this life is short and good. We harden it by the expectations we weave around ourselves and each other. We deny ourselves freedom of being by overthinking and self-intimidation. It’s about time that we all breath and live. Say what we mean and our words will be received by the right people. Let us be free enough to act our true selves, instead of creating characters for ourselves. Pretense will only attract pretense and form hypocritical relationships. Let us just be real and the right moments, experiences and people for us will find us. There’s no point trying to blend in with ostriches if you are a flamingo or forcing a dolphin to adopt a tilapia. Dear people, let’s breath. It’s after all, only one life.

All metaphors aside though, if you have persistent bad breath despite your best efforts, please make it your new year’s resolution to see a doctor about that. We will all thank you for it. ?

A Moment of Silence

Loss is hard to explain, harder to accept and even harder to experience. No one is a stranger to loss, unfortunately. My earliest experience was with an old family dog named Bruce Lee despite being female. I still remember the look on my uncle’s face when he tried to explain to wailing kids why she had to be put down. I remember disbelief, anger and tears that didn’t dry even after treats. And I remember short moments of emptiness every time I ran outside and not see Bruce Lee.
Another instance was an accident announced during the morning assembly at my primary school. The headmistress asked for a moment of silence after a sad speech. I remember the bell ringing after the short moment, school bursting with activity again and me thinking; “Is that it?”

With life and growing up, I find a lot more loss. The more one grows, the losses get bigger, closer and deeper. From a favorite toy, a loved pet, to a close relation. Just like everyone around me, loss has not been easy especially when it is a dear one. What does one do after losing someone? How do we get back to life? Who do we entrust our sorrow with? How long do we grieve? So many questions that don’t have right answers.

After numerous occasions of loss, I still don’t know what comes after the moment of silence. Even though it is respectful to the departed and soothes those left behind, it is just too little. Or too short. Or just too silent. The thought that we will one day be just a moment of silence seems insufficient to me. There should be more!

I reflect on this as time goes by and I thought it a good idea to decide to be more. Sing an extra song in the shower for example. Give longer hugs and go for walks with those I care about. I realize that it is a precious but fleeting life. We all have no idea when we will be voids and short moments of silence. The essence of those we love only stays alive within us while the world goes on unfazed. I pray that we keep these flames alive and that we create enough warmth ourselves for those who love us to keep our flame alive when we are gone. I pray that we don’t hold back our love, tears or joy. I pray that we live and that those we lost live through us.
I write today for those we lost; those we miss desperately and wonder how life could continue without them, those we wish to share simple parts of life and meaning with but can’t. I pray that they rest in peace.
I write today for those of us who have lost; I pray that we live so fully through the loss, I pray that we celebrate the lives we encountered and remember them with love and happiness.
I write today for those we will lose and those who will lose us; I pray that we live and love now so, so fiercely that when we go, it is not a loss anymore but a celebration of life well spent. I pray that when we go, it is a sigh of contentment that waves us away, or a beautiful melody.
As I said, maybe a moment of silence is just not enough—

The Art of the Dress

When going through fashion magazines or even adverts, shopping for women is a mega glamorous venture. We see pictures of smiling girls, in high heels and perfect make up, shopping in spacious air conditioned malls or elegant shops. Oh! And on a very good day, holding the occasional champagne flute!

This highly sophisticated shopping is almost a dream to the females in my neighborhood. I would personally take you on a trip through the typical cloth shopping day in Kigali.

On an average wallet, a girl would opt for a second-hand market. Where contrary to the women you’d expect to serve you in the beautiful boutiques, you’d meet a sea of sellers trying to get your attention. Some would even physically be pulling you if your facial expression allows it. After a short fussy moment of hesitation, you follow one of them. That is if you manage to untangle yourself from the one glued to your elbow or the two others behind your back. Better yet, head to your common seller if you are a frequent buyer. Getting there, state the type of clothes you want and wait as the seller sorts them. That being done, head to the impossibly squeezed fitting space. Which mostly comprises of a curtained sheet of cloth. And try to squeeze into the clothes.

A few things will result from that:

  • Some clothes will magically fit you. Perfect!
  • Some of the few you really like will not, either being too big (then you opt to take them to a local tailor for reduction and hope to the goddess of fashion that they don’t get completely ruined). Or they can also be too tight, but because you are a female for one, (or just a holder of endless faith), you decide to take them. Your final verdict being either the hope of losing some weight or adding to the tailor heap.

That being sorted, find a place to sit or support yourself and start bargaining. That seller who knows the minimum price, will name double or triple the price and let you bargain for 30 healthy minutes. All that without even a re-conciliatory glass of water, leave alone the champagne flute.

Almost there! You reach what you decide is a reasonable price, (this is usually after developing a slight headache or voice loss) and ready to leave. The summary of your state of being now is;

Extremely dehydrated, stiff-tongued, uncomfortably hot and if you happen to have a sensitive nasal passage, you would be sneezing out a few cells from your lungs. Only to reach home to find that you picked all the wrong clothes. All because those you liked did not fit or were too expensive. Or that you picked the right trousers but they don’t match the coat you had in the wardrobe! So finally, you are in bad clothes, a bad mood and a bad wallet situation.

All is not lost, however, more sophisticated options can be looked upon. Some boutiques offer better choice for those willing to stretch the clothes budget. You could get smart and befriend a designer or owner of a fashion shop and get the good friends-only service. Without forgetting the occasional clothes you might fall upon on a street hawker on the road. Chances are they might fit and be torn or damaged somehow, or if heaven is on your side, then they do fit! Eureka! life is worth living.

With all this, if anyone (and by anyone, I literally mean everyone) would dare to say shopping is not a sport for women, a woman might fight. And hopefully, she could lose a little weight in that fight and fit in those new very tight jeans. I personally salute the Kigali females. Just for the mere fact that they look good. Also, simply because they still manage to match those pieces and not look like clowns or out of season Christmas trees! Honestly, looking decent out here is an art and it requires skill and endurance. It’s a wonder we don’t have that many female managers around here.