My Rwanda Diary, Day 6: The wait for Eba is Over!

Like the old saying, anything that has a beginning has an end, my 6-day search for eba (or swallow as it is sometimes referred to) in Kigali ended yesterday.

Interestingly, I did not bargain for it; neither did I pay a dime to feast on this delicacy that had eluded me since I arrived the Rwandan capital in the early hours of Tuesday, 19 January. 

It didn’t come to me as much of a surprise because before I left the Hotel for Amahoro Stadium to see the game between hosts; Rwanda and Morocco, Kisu Sulola of the had hinted that the ‘jinx’ could be broken that evening as plans were being made to prepare soup. I was definitely not the only one missing eba.

Kisu said we would contribute some money to be able to achieve that dream of eba in Kigali. Uncertainty about the prices of the soup condiments meant she couldn’t collect the monies. So, I wasn’t expecting to come back to meet garri and vegetable soup.

I had left the hotel for the stadium around 2pm local time (1pm Nigerian Time) for the final Group A encounter between the Amavubi and Atlas Lions of Morroco. Kisu had disclosed that Nigeria’s acting High Commissioner in Rwanda, Mr. kingsley Nwonye was to visit us by 1pm.

As at 2pm, the High Commissioner was nowhere to be found and I decided to head to Amahoro stadium to secure my accreditation tickets for the match. I asked the guys to notify me when the Commissioner finally comes so I can dash down to the hotel and be part of the meeting. You never can tell, something fit nak our body.

After securing accreditation for the game, I got calls that the Commissioner has come. So, I quickly returned to the Hotel to meet the Enugu-born diplomat.

Kingsley Nwoye

Out of his magnanimity, Mr. Nwonye promised to provide a bus that will convey the entire Nigerian Journalists for the CHAN to-and-fro Rubavu; where the Super Eagles will face Guinea tomorrow. In fact, by the time you are reading this, we could be in Rubavu.

He also spoke extensively about Nigeria’s performance so far in the competition and promised to treat us to some Nigerian cuisine before the end of the tournament.

After a photo section with the High Commissioner, I went back to the stadium for the business of the day.

Moments before I entered the stadium, I stopped bye at a restaurant to take lunch. As usual, it was rice but this time a bit more garnished with green beans, chips, banana and beef with water to flush it down. That meal cost 2000 Rwandan Franc(N527).

Even the presence of President Paul Kagame in the stands could not stop Rwanda from losing their first game in the tournament. Morocco thrashed the hosts 4-1; a result that turned out to be inconsequential as the North Africans failed to qualify for the quarter final.

The Amavubi already secured top spot in Group A and rested 8 players from the side that started against Gabon in their last encounter.

At the post-match press conference, Head coach of the Amavubi, Johnathan McKinstry blamed the defeat on some mistakes made by his players but remained positive they can make further progress in the competition.

”Obviously we are disappointed with the result of the game. Today was more than about just winning the game,” the 30-year old said at the presser.

He continued: “we’ve made 8 changes in the game because coming into today we obviously knew that we were guaranteed first place. So, it was about giving a bit of a rest to some key players. Make sure those on yellow cards didn’t pick up other yellow cards and get suspended.

“But also to give opportunity to some of the players who have been on the bench in the opening two games.

“To do well in a tournament like this, it’s not just about the eleven players. You have to reach into your squad. If we had to reach into our squad in the knockout stages without those players having had good competitive match just like they had today, it would be more difficult for them.

”I think we made some basic mistakes and we have to fix them, “ Mckinstry noted.

The young coach has captured my admiration and I won’t be surprise if he becomes a successful coach in African football. I had to take a short with him after the presser.



On my way home, I stopped by to buy banana and shave in a nearby saloon. Looking good they say is also good business.

After eating the bananas, I went into Room 6; where reporters; Julius Okorie of Sporting Life, Gongnews’ Olayinka Elebute and Saheed Abass are housed to have a chat with them; only for me to discover two covered plates on the table.

Lo and behold,  the garri I gave up hope on eating was right there before me on a platter of gold.

Isn’t this a testimony? Kudos to Kisu for making it happen. What a relief!

Them say e get as food go take hungry you so tay, if them bring am, you no go fit chop am again.  That was just the case with me as I couldn’t finish the small eba I was served.

Perhaps, it was because, in my own rating, the excess pepper in the vegetable soup. I hope it won’t take another week before I eat garri again.

I can now look forward to a two-day spell in Rubavu.

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  1. Now that the gods have been pacified with eba & vegetable soup, we can now live happily ever after shey?

    Wait o! This man sef...u still dey complain about the food again? Hian!

    I hope to read ur report on the Eagles! Stay safe man!

    *Ghanaman signing out*