“Rwandan Men Are Boring, We Need More Men Here”- Tomiwa’s Abroad Life

November 20, 2020

The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.

Today’s subject on Abroad Life is a woman who moved to Rwanda for school four years ago. She talks about how different Rwanda is from Nigeria, how Rwandans take their precious time to do everything, and how the men are so boring, she’s given up on dating.


First things first, where are you right now?

I live in Kigali, Rwanda. It’s a nice country in Eastern Africa.

What’s happening in Kigali?

I’m here for school. I study International Business And Trade at the African Leadership University (ALU), and I’m in my final year. 

Is that a university or a leadership school?

It’s a 21st-century university, so we don’t do things the traditional way where lecturers lecture you. We do more peer and self learning. So yeah, it’s a normal university with a different module, and on the side, we focus on being leaders of Africa. 

Cool. How did you find out about this university?

Long story. ALA, African Leadership Academy, was the wave in my secondary school. Everyone wanted to go there and everyone applied. But they picked only three students from each school, and I didn’t get in. Then I heard that my mum’s friend’s daughter applied for the African Leadership College in Mauritius. It was hard to convince my mum to let me apply, but after a lot of back and forth, she agreed. 

So I was supposed to go to the campus in Mauritius, but due to the Nigerian system not working for anyone, I was delayed by a lot of things: visa application and sending of application fee. 

At that point, I’d already missed the first week of school, which was super important so it was either I waited at home for another year or joined the Rwandan campus. I decided to join the Rwandan campus. 

That’s a lot of African leadership schools I’ve never heard about. How easy was the Rwandan process?

It was easy. I did it overnight. Rwanda has a visa on arrival policy, so that was sorted. I was also given the option of paying my school fees when I got here.

How quickly did you make up your mind on Rwanda? 

I didn’t give up on the Mauritius idea until the end of my first year. The admissions officer told me that I could go to Rwanda for a year and then transfer to Mauritius, which was why I chose to go. I haven’t been to Mauritius but I hear it’s fun and beautiful, so I really wanted to go there. 

It took a year for me to realise that I didn’t need to go to Mauritius. I had built solid relationships here, and I didn’t want to leave after that. I haven’t regretted that decision. 

What were your expectations of Rwanda? 

All I can say is that it wasn’t what I expected in my wildest dreams. Before leaving, I did a bit of research and the closest country to Rwanda was Kenya, so I expected it to be like Kenya. 

From what I found out, Kenya is like Lagos, so I expected it to be chill and easy for me to make both international and local friends. 

What I got was the complete opposite. It’s a landlocked country, so that means there’s no ocean anywhere, which determines the kind of food available here. In Lagos, I was used to having seafood and snails in my diet, but it has reduced significantly to just eating titus fish over here. 

It’s also very cold here in comparison to Lagos because there are lots of hills here. 

Then it’s really safe. I can walk around at midnight while I’m drunk, and I know nothing will happen to me. Means of transportation here is very different, there are public buses, but people mainly own and ride motorcycles.

What about the people?

People are very sluggish here. On average, it takes two hours to get your food when you order at a restaurant — the quickest it’s going to come is in an hour. If it’s good food, three hours.

If you complain at the restaurant, you’ll look crazy because nobody thinks two hours is too long to wait for food. Oh, and it’s not like they act quicker when you complain. They’ll just look at you like you’re crazy and continue what they are doing. 

This is not limited to restaurants; it’s just how Rwandans are. As a Nigerian, the way they behave will make you almost go crazy. 

Why do you think they are like this?

Honestly, I don’t know. They’re just very nonchalant about things. It seems like nothing is important to them.

It’s hard to not get frustrated living here, but it’s also hard to not get too used to living like this. You have to constantly remind yourself that you’re only living somewhere like this for a while and that once you leave, you have to get used to normal again.

I plan on going back to Lagos, and I don’t want to return with that attitude of everything being easy. 

Do you relate well with Rwandans?

Not really, no. They keep to themselves a lot.  It’s been a few years now and I haven’t had a single Rwandan friend, talk less of a boyfriend. Even when they relate with foreigners, they keep us at an arm’s length.

Do you think they’re being discriminatory?

I don’t think so. I think they’re used to their own space. If you’re around a group of Rwandans, they don’t actively try to involve you in their conversations or activities. For example, instead of speaking English, they speak their language. It’s just like being a Yoruba person in the midst of Igbo people, and they intentionally speak only Igbo. After some time, you don’t really want to join these groups because you realise that you will always be an outsider. 

Take parties for instance. Unlike how in Nigeria where everyone gets invited to a party, Rwandans invite only Rwandans for parties, and they don’t come if we invite them to ours. We don’t know our neighbours. We might know that this person has a kid because the kid cries or something, but it’s not like we ever speak with them. We come out and they stare at us in a certain way. And they stare a lot. When I first came, I thought they wanted to fight because I didn’t understand why they were staring so much. 

But everyone is Black. How do they know you’re not from there just by looking?

They just know. I realise people look different based on where they come from because now, I can recognise a Nigerian anywhere I find myself. They look a certain type of way and that makes it easy for them to spot us. 

Do you live on campus? 

The campuses are non-residential, so if you come here, you have to get your own house. Rwanda doesn’t have a lot of apartments. They have actual houses with bedrooms, and you can’t live in a house by yourself, so I moved into a house with four of my girlfriends. 

One time, we had an altercation with our neighbours, and they started calling us slay queens. When a woman is called a slay queen in that context, it’s an insult. We took the name, turned it around and started calling ourselves Kabeza Slay Queens. 

But how can we be “slay queens” when there are no men here?

Energy! What do you mean no men?

Remember how I said the people keep to themselves? That’s the first challenge. You can’t date someone you don’t know. 

Let’s say you get through that and actually begin to talk to a man here, you’ll get bored to death. Rwandan men are extremely boring. Coming from someone who knows how eccentric and interesting Nigerian men are, the men here don’t know how to move to a woman, they have no game and they’re stingy as hell.   

My girlfriends and I have gone out so many times, and not once has a man sent a drink or tried to talk to one of us. I’m not saying we are entitled to it, but in Nigeria, things like that happen. So they can’t approach, and they can’t have conversations. It translates to not being able to have sex with them because holding conversations is the most important step to building a sexual relationship for me. 

That’s painful to hear. 

I’ve cancelled dating in Rwanda. I’ll have to go to another country where I can spread my wings. Nigerian men here are also not it, so there’s no hope. I’m not actively looking anymore.

Do people talk about the genocide?

There’s a memorial every year in the whole month of April. The people go to the memorial ground and openly talk about it. It’s a sensitive topic, but that doesn’t stop them from addressing it. One of the tourist centres in Rwanda is the Memorial Park where people were shot and killed.

It sounds like you need a new shipment of men in Rwanda.

Yes! We need tech bros and Paystack daddies shipped into Rwanda. It’s an open market because there are a lot of single and intellectual women looking for companionship. 

This is an open call: the visa is $30, there’s good internet, life is peaceful. Rwanda is the place to be. 

LOL. Is it true that you can go to prison for littering?

I’m not really sure about the rules against littering. Rwanda is a very clean country. When I first got here, it’s one of the first things I noticed. The gutters are so clean, you can walk in them.  The drainage system works, and there’s no stagnant water. If you litter, you pay a fine. But no one litters. There are dustbins almost everywhere. It’s too clean to consider littering.

You can’t pluck the leaves on the trees on the road. If you do, you’ll pay a fine. If you have a car accident and you hit a tree, you’ll pay a fine. 

There’s a lot of effort being put into making the country as clean as it is now, and if you come here, you wouldn’t want to ruin it. Nobody wants to ruin something so nice. 

What’s the cost of living there compared to living in Nigeria? 

Housing is cheaper here, there are more houses than apartments and some of the houses come fully furnished and if taken to account, it makes them cheaper than houses in Nigeria, but the cost of living is expensive. You should be ready to spend.

What are the best parts about living in Rwanda?

Safety and peace of mind. 

That’s great. Do you plan on coming back to Nigeria?

Thankfully the government extended our visas by two years, so I have some time to figure out my life. I’m thinking of getting a second degree in psychology or doing my masters or working. I want to visit Nigeria, but the political climate is not so great right now, so I might stay here or just go to whatever school that accepts me. 

How is Nigerian pop culture perceived there?

Only a couple of Nigerian musicians are popular here, but we hear the major hits. People embrace the popular songs. Since I came here, Runtown, Davido, Johnny Drille, Burna Boy, Joeboy and Mr Eazi have been here to perform. I’ve gone for their shows. 

Burna Boy’s concert was great, but for the rest of the musicians, the concerts were kinda weird because nobody really knew the songs. 

In total though, I don’t mind living here. 

Editor’s Note: We made some edits to the genocide question for its sensitivity.


Want more Abroad Life? Check in every Friday at 12 PM (WAT) for a new episode. Until then, read every story of the series here.

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

David Odunlami

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Nigerian travel destinations
February 24, 2020

If you think about it, Nigerian travel destinations are like that child in secondary school that had all the promise in the world but somehow got mixed up with drugs and now sleeps on the side of the street begging for alms from anyone kind enough. The only thing is, this child didn’t do anything […]

August 18, 2020

On Sunday, Bishop David Oyedepo, the President of Living Faith Church Worldwide, while preaching , kicked against the application of a section of the recently passed into law Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (“CAMA”), stating that such a section of the law was due to the jealousy of the government to the growth of […]

Local government in Nigeria
November 16, 2020

A local government is an important part of governance in Nigeria. Local governments supplement the work of the federal government and the 36 state governments by administering a particular area. However, many Nigerians always complain about the federal government and state governments while ignoring that there is also a local government. In fact, if many […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

April 14, 2021

Quick-fire camera flashes, hot stilettos and distinct music characterized the cool ambience at the venue of Desperados’ celebrity influencer showcase. The beer brand, which was first launched in Nigeria last December is known to be the charm of celebrities who dared to stand out from the crowd. It was no surprise that Mercy Eke, Timini […]

April 14, 2021

If you could transform your love for music into a full-blown career, which would it be? Let’s give you some pointers. Take this quiz. A career in music means you’ll most likely work to bring amazing stuff like Jameson’s Confluence Project, curated by Mainland Block Party. Go here to stream and enjoy the mashup vibes. […]

April 14, 2021

For the average African man, the assumption is that there’s marriage somewhere on the horizon once they are in the twilight of their late twenties. Playful jests of “when will you marry” start to chime in from all angles. However, not all men believe in for better for worse, nor in death doing them part. […]

9 People That Need To Cut Soap For Us
April 14, 2021

“Cut soap for me” does not mean they should divide bathing soap for you. It can mean telling your friends about job opportunities, introducing them to things that benefit them. It can also be a casual way to beg for good luck or a portion of someone’s destiny, like Jacob. If something good has never happened […]

Recommended Quizzes

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

November 1, 2019

Twitter is buzzing right now, bringing a new conversation to the concept of cool vs not-so-cool, especially in relationships. If you’ve been thinking about how much of a red flag you are, why don’t you let this quiz help you decide once and for all?

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

More from Citizen

April 2, 2021

Today’s subject on Abroad Life started her process to leave Nigeria for the USA for school in 2017 and didn’t leave until two months ago. She talks about how money, COVID and visa problems delayed her travel plans. She also talks about arriving in the USA in the middle of a polar vortex and having […]

March 22, 2021

Victor Emmanuel is a queer Nigerian YouTuber with simple demands: He wants the Nigerian Government to repeal the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA). On March 20, 2021, Victor published a video on Twitter, explaining the reason for his decision. He made it clear that he was going on a hunger strike until the SSMPA […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X