All right chaps, I know this is all happening too fast!
Skyscrapers, 4G Internet, Mobile money and now: Car free zones?
Huh? And you who were just adjusting to ATM machines, smartphones and Bourbon coffee… It’s baffling to say the least!
Now having heard your trauma, here is a piece to help you swiftly transition into 21st century-Kigali without people even noticing your homesickness.
But more seriously: Rwanda is a true melting pot. We have people who lived and worked in all parts of the world, did all sorts of jobs; speak all sorts of languages and have had extraordinary experiences.
Now some of you are capable of traveling, but I doubt one person today can live the experiences of three Rwandans I know; one who taught in an IVY league; a waitress in a bar in Cancun and an astronomer-sailor on high seas.
Anyway, all that to say that there are Rwandans who’s stories will blow your mind. And only in Rwanda can you find such a diverse range of people, all reconverted and reinvented into something that our country currently needs. Not all Rwandans will have the opportunity to travel the world, and that’s ok. But we have a unique chance to bring the world to Rwanda!
One of the ways of doing that is by interacting. Harnessing all these rare experiences to build a true cosmopolitan society. Now, humans are social beings and I know you tend to dwell in circles where you feel more confortable. But with this car free zone, and more of them to come, we have an opportunity to wonder farther afield and ‘hunt outside the pack’ – and your kill will be even more rewarding because you can show it off to your pack, later; in other words, your experience outside your group will only enrich your group’s conversation.
Now take a risk, talk to the next person. CBD is for transactions; transact! Interact, exchange! I hope there are many more spaces like that to come! In the meantime, I am waiting to see how kids from my old hood Nyarutarama will blend in with the kids from my new hood Nyamijos! ‘Ni Danger!’
For all that to happen without any fuss though, here are the rules to be observed in the carefree zone at all times:
- DON’T STRARE: If you see me walking: Smile, wave, come and talk to me, introduce yourself, offer something, I’ll offer something in return, but for crying out loud: DON’T FREAKIN STARE!
- DON’T WEAR YOUR CAR KEYS LIKE A WEDDING RING! Look it’s a car free zone. At this point your car keys are as redundant as a remote control in a cinema. You have a car? Oh, everyone here has or can pretend to have one, so keep them in your damn pocket!
- GET YOUR HANDS OUTTA YOUR POCKETS! Boss, we know you are a very important person. But right here you are just a pedestrian like the rest of us. Key word to the Car-free zone is: FREE; try it sometime.
And you, do you have any more rules to add to these guidelines?