#Article (Archive)

My Uncle Mukunguu

Sep 16, 2010, 1:01 PM

Playing on our doorstep, I can see my uncle coming home with a new motor bike. The engine roars aloud and irritatingly as it nears our house. Our house is the poorest in the neighborhood because it has a patched-up window and door which has spirogyra growing around them. When it rains, our house isn't the best place to be.

It is always a nightmare when it rains at night; Uncle Mukunguu and I always spend the night placing buckets where the rain comes through the ceiling. It means no sleep even though Uncle Mukunguu forces me to. I would resist because the bed would be all soaked in rain water. My uncle took me a year ago from his parents to stay with him in Kigali after my parent's death. He never gave me any reason to miss them. He has a dimple on his left cheek and a wide gap between his front teeth which make him force a smile every now and then. He is proud of them and he reminds me of my father.

Uncle Mukunguu makes sure that we do not run out of food but the other day when the land lord came to claim the house rent, uncle Mukunguu already ran out of money. He promised the man that he would bring the money the following day after some negotiations with the furious man.

All I could do was gape at him and wonder where he was going to take the money from. But trust him to have a way out of every problem. The next day he sold our only gramophone in the house to pay him.

Now I cannot listen to music except faraway music brought by the wind from time to time. My stomach starts rumbling, reminding me that I haven't taken breakfast. I shift on one leg to the other and stare unconsciously at uncle Mukunguu. He looks at me and laughs when he recognizes the surprise on my face.

"My boy, we are now rich," he gives me one of his throaty laughs again, places the motor bike near the house, wipes dust off the mud flap and moves towards me. I only stand at the door staring at the new motorbike.

"How, how uncle?"

"I obtained a loan to buy this and it is going to bring us money, you and I will never complain," he gives me those tickles that makes me cry-laugh all the time he does it, "and you will go back to school again."

I do not know what loan is and how the motor bike was going to get us some money, but the "going back to school" sounds great to me. The corners of my mouth start turning up into a smile and I jump towards uncle Mukunguu to give me one of his warm hugs.

Well after that, our laughter can be heard a mile away.