The world is a very small place

And you don’t start realizing just how lucky you are…

…Or how grateful you should be

Until you hear other people’s stories.

In the last week of September…

I met an amazing young woman

She’s 20 and of mixed Rwandan heritage.

Her name is Jovinne Chakhilla.

And when she told me her story…

I didn’t even know whether to laugh or cry.

It all started during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda

When the so-called world super powers sat back and watched …as over 1million people lost their lives.

A massacre of unimaginable proportions

But before things got really messy…

A number of Rwandans were lucky to have fled

To neighboring countries like Congo, Tanzania etc

Funny twist:

Prior fleeing to Congo

Jovinne’s parents had never met

Like…

They were strangers who didn’t even know each other

But fleeing the genocide brought them together

Then they fell in love…

And got married in Congo.

Weird fact:

Not something I’m particularly happy to state:

But as you probably already know…

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda was an ethnic cleansing targeted at Tutsis…

Jovinne’s Dad is Tutsi — her mom, Hutu

And the guy — her dad — would probably be long dead and gone — if he didn’t flee back then.

Weird stuff.

But whatever you do…

It is not a good idea to ask a Rwandan if they’re Hutu or Tutsi

Kinda brings back painful memories.

Many of them survived the bloodshed

Like, they saw loved ones — parents, siblings, relatives — matcheted to death

Dead bodies everywhere

PTSD and stuff.

Scars like that almost never heal

Best to avoid scratching the surface

The only reason I know Jovinne is mixed

…is because she mentioned it to me.

And she’s also the one who told me how Rwandans would rather be seen as …

Simply “Rwandan”

Not Hutu

Not Tutsi

Just Rwandan.

Which kinda makes sense…

Since it makes it easier to forgive & live with the pain

If you’ve never experienced a war or genocide

You have no idea how lucky you are…

Like…

Forget the pandemic

Forget the fear-mongering by the mainstream media

You’re actually living during one of the most peaceful periods in human history…

Anyway, moving on:

Here’s where this stuff gets a bit more interesting:

So Jovinne is like the first-child

But, before she was born…

Her mum lost 3 babies.

2 boys and a girl.

Almost lost her life in the process too

Imagine it:

The emotional trauma alone.

How this stuff would have screwed with her mental health

Insane.

So when Jovinne was conceived in the fall of 2001…

Her mom didn’t think much of it

Like… she really wanted a child of her own

But then… she’d already lost 3 babies…

So if this one didn’t pull through…

Life continued…

Fortunately — Jovinne survived.

And you’d think stuff like this makes a man love his wife even more deeply.

But by the time Jovinne was 6 or so

Her mom developed a sudden health challenge

Then her Dad abandoned them

At this point, there was another child — a boy

And since the age of six…

Up until 2021… (14-years)

Jovinne’s been working her ass off

Taking care of her mom and her brother

Now, she’s all grown up…

A big girl so to speak

Then suddenly… out of the blue…

Her Dad starts reaching out

To her and her mom

He’s sorry

He doesn’t know what came over him

He wants to come back

This doesn’t make any sense to Jovinne

She’s not comfortable with the whole thing

At first, her mom is on the same page with her

Both of them are angry

We don’t want you here — go away

All of which holds water in any court of law

But after a few weeks…

Her mom has a change of heart

I know he messed up

What he did was stupid — and wicked

I’m even angrier than you are

But he’s my husband, I still love him…

I want to give him a second chance

All of which skyrockets Jovinne’s anger to the moon

You’re making this too easy for him

He can’t just pop out of nowhere after 14-years

And come back into our lives just like that

Anyways, it’s your life, she says…

You can accept him back if you want

But he’s not spending a night in this house

I don’t want him here

I can’t live under the same roof with this man

If he’ll start living with us again

I’ll need some time to process all of this

And if I’m still not okay with it

He can’t stay

Or else…

I’ll have to leave and get my own place

So both of you can have the house to yourselves

The mom understands

So these days, rather than have him over

She visits her husband almost on a daily basis…

It’s like she just fell in love all over again

Most weekends, she’s over at his place lol

Much to Jovinne’s annoyance

She says — in all honesty —

That she’s never seen her mom this happy

Not once.

Which is supposed to be a good thing…

But the fact the source of this sudden happiness is something she resents…

…is what makes it all the more annoying.

Basically, she just rants and I listen

Mostly, she wants to know what I think

I hardly have anything to say

But ocassionally… when she presses

I like to say something to the effect of…

— -

I can’t say what your dad did is good,

Or that you should do anything you don’t want

But sometimes, people really do change for good.

Although, we can’t know for sure if he’s genuinely sorry

Might take a while to figure that out… But it looks like your mom is happy he’s back. You said it yourself she was almost always depressed before now…But these days, it looks like she’s never been happier …isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?

— -

A smile crosses her lips.

I know, she says…

Then the script starts playing all over…

But 14-years…

14 fucking years!!!

Mom was sick when he left

It was just me and Ben (her younger brother)

Wherever he was, was he thinking about us?

Did he ever pause to think…

How’s my wife and kids?

At this point, I don’t even know what to say

Because the truth is…

Even though I can’t really say I know how she feels

I’m not sure I’ll be excited to have my father back

If he had abandoned me and my siblings when we were barely 7-years of age…

Leaving us and my mom to fend for ourselves

Luckily, we don’t die

We survive… and turn out very okay as adults

Then out of nowhere…

When it looks like we’re doing pretty okay without him

He just pops out and before anyone can say anything…

My mom is already opening her legs for him again

Lol…

Couldn’t find a better way to phrase this ^^

But the point is

If my pop did something like that…

The predominant feeling towards him

Would be one of deep-seated resentment

That’s me putting it mildly…

And simply saying “I’m sorry” wouldn’t cut it

I mean, if my mom wants….

She can sleep over at his place all she likes…

But the man will have a hard time getting through to me

So in a sense, I see why Jovinne is mad

Because in her case…

There was no support from relatives

Imagine it:

One girl, shouldering such enormous responsiblities

In a place like Kigali…

From the early age of six.

Taking all sorts of jobs

Just so they can pay rent, feed and also… put herself and her brother through school

Crazy.

Most of us were lucky.

Like, we never worried about stuff like this

And the funny thing is….

This babe is cute as fuck

So lots of men (especially foreigners)…

Tried to use money to “buy her into marriage”

Like, they’d come to their house

Tell the mom they really liked her daughter

And even try to make it look like they were doing them a favour…

Jovinne wasn’t having it

You can all fuck off, she would say

And in all the places she worked?

Even worse.

Employers wanted to use her as sex tool.

One place she worked — she wasn’t paid for 3-months.

Her last employer — a foreigner of Asian descent — to whom she refers as a pig…

Wanted to sleep with her at every turn

She didn’t budge.

As expected, he became very mean

Started treating her badly

Saying lots of demeaning stuff in front of customers

At some point, she got fed up.

Couldn’t take it anymore

So she quit.

Good riddance — she says.

I’ve known her for like 3-months and we’re pretty close now…

She tells me she wants to build her own thing

Even if it’s just a small biz where she sells nice office outfits to working class women in Kigali.

Then once that’s running effectively ….

Stuff around skincare can be upsold on the back-end

I find this pretty interesting.

Clearly, she’s been doing a lot of thinking

And the good thing is…

Ecommerce here is still an untapped goldmine.

So lots of room for rapid growth

She intends to start early next year

Probably mid-January or so

Not a lot of capital required to start.

I think she has some money saved up

But if there’s need for some extra cash

Or some help with stuff around strategy and marketing

It would be nice to support this kind of dream

In any little way I can.

Anyway, been a while I wrote you

A bunch of stuff on my plate this period

Just thought to share this…

Hopefully, it was a good read

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