When thunder rolls, Sabe trembles

Sabe is a place located near “BNUB” Headquarters, on the road leading to Gatumba. During the rainy season, water makes its way inside houses, and renders roads impracticable. The population of Sabe is crying out for help without further ado.-By Joanna Nganda

A flooded road at Sabe. ©Iwacu

A flooded road at Sabe. ©Iwacu

Upon arrival, the situation is quite clear: cars cannot make their way in Sabe and we have to leave the car on the side of the road, before engaging ourselves in the flooded area. A man, seeing my disarray, looks at me with a mocking smile and yells “use the stones to cross the road!” Denis is his name. Indeed, the only way to cross that river of a road is by tiptoeing on small stones put along a fence. After 15 minutes of tedious gymnastics, Denis and I finally get ourselves on firm ground. “It’s always like this here” says Denis, “and this is not even the worst area. It takes weeks for the roads to go back to normal”. He then explains to me that he used to guard a construction site but left it few weeks ago due to the flood. “I spent 2 days inside the house with no way out; I had to wait for the water level to go down a bit. Living in this area of Sabe is risky, even the owner of the house doesn’t care anymore; he never comes here,” Denis adds. In fact, Sabe is an industrial area, even though few residential houses can be seen, and the population is mainly composed of guards and labor workers. According to Denis, this is the reason why authorities don’t shake a leg to find a solution. “Authorities don’t care. After all, we are just mere guards”, he sadly points out. Gilbert Nduwayo, the area Chief Officer, says that they are used to the situation and don’t think anything will be done unless the house owners do it themselves.

“I’ve been here for over 3 years now and as you can see, the situation has only gotten worse. Landowners should get together and build canals by themselves”, Gilbert Nduwayo states. Denis introduces me to his friend who is considered to be “the lucky man” of Sabe because of his knee-high latex boots. “From one side to the other, he throws his boots to you so that you can walk through the water. Of course, the service is not free, he charges you BiF 500. But sometimes the flooded area is too wide for him to throw the boots,” explains Denis, adding that only heavy-duty trucks and bicycles can cross flooded areas. Désiré Gahungu, Administrator of Ngagara Commune where Sabe is located, says that he is powerless and the problem has to be taken care of by urbanism services. He adds that the households that have been flooded will have to rely on good Samaritans and charitable associations. Apparently, all that is missing is a spokesperson of the population of Sabe to the higher authorities of urbanism services.