“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak carries with it seeds of equal or greater benefit,” said the American Oliver Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1974). Alas, this self-help author did get many repeated benefits but repeatedly squandered them all, to earn the title: “the most famous conman you’ve probably never heard of.”
That, however, is neither here nor there. Ours is to look at our own times of adversity, what with this corona virus pandemic, and wonder. Who would have thought we’d have ‘talking and walking toys’ helping out to tread where our health professionals fear to tread?
It’s not that actually our medical mavens fear, brave souls, but that for our own sake, we want them safe and sound so as to confine more of their time on taking care of us. Especially that they have their hands full, trying to be equal to this far-from-easy task.
“Talking and walking toys”? You guessed right. I refer to robots. Remember, to reduce the risk of contamination among health officials, this country deployed robots. Today, these human-size ‘humanoids’ make it possible to minimize the time medics spend with confirmed COVID-19-positve cases, where they risk exposure.
The robots perform temperature screening, take readings of vitals and deliver video messages to our professionals.
In these treatment centres as at the airport, when a ‘humanoid’ confronts you and politely requests you to adjust your face mask and keep social distance, you’ll not dare play tricks as you would, with fellow humans.
Remember, too, our modern-day ‘pigeons’ that’ve been delivering vital blood to patients in far-flung reaches of our land?
Who’d have guessed they’d rise to the occasion and lend a hand, when it came to mobilizing the populace on respecting COVID-19 guidelines? Where in our neighborhood they resorted to walloping the daylights out of offenders, here our offenders receive the message from ‘on-high’, delivered by graceful airborne drones (our ‘pigeons’).
All the above which is not so much of a wonder as to how we are here, considering the place we are coming from. The place which was right at the basket-case bottom, in the mid-1990s.
There we were, then, as citizens all thinking beans and maize and nothing but, but then with us was a leadership that seemed for many to rather fly off at a tangent. Filling our stomachs, yes, the leadership said, but we must think computers. Tell me, many asked, who’d eat computers?
It was as well, then, many prayed, that there was news of what was known as Y2K looming. Come the year 2000, all computers of the world would screech to a halt. The Millennium Bug may have been said to be a threat to the world but, to many among us, it was an answer to our prayers. We’d go back to our comfort zone of life with good old potatoes and cassava that this so-called ICT threatened!
Year 2000 came and we waited. The bug was nowhere. Computers breathed even better!
That ICT (Information and Communication Technology) was said to be issuing from a web that connected all the computers of the world, in what was called a “worldwide web”. This cobweb, “www”, amazingly made these computers and their owners share everything on earth.
Within no time, the whole citizenry was sharing all the information and wisdom that citizens of the world had. And learning from them, as they offered their own knowledge and wisdom to whoever desired them. Citizens could tell where to sell their excess crop, tell impending diseases and take necessary precautions, tell where to buy what, when, anything.
In fact, they started to ask themselves how they had managed to live without this ICT know-all! Say it, it knew it! Moreover, gadgets were beginning to be smarter than humans, in what was known as “artificial intelligence”. And thus, “our talking and walking toys” – the robots.
Who will forget our Saudi guest last year, Sophia, and the interesting conversation we had?
How she bemoaned the fact that she’d come in a suitcase and vowing to demand a window seat on her flight back. And didn’t she look smart, donning made-in-Rwanda attire?
It was mean of us, though, that we did not offer to grow Rwandan hair on her bare head, as our parting gift.
After teasing us with her different expressions of happiness, sadness, anger and others, she assured us that she and her cousins would not take our jobs, not to worry. Rather, they’d be assisting us in doing jobs we couldn’t do or work in places that were too dangerous for us.
And indeed, good sorts, here her cousins are, helping our professionals in these chancy corona confines. It’s in great part thanks to them that this COVID-19 has not totally devastated us.
The immeasurable adversities of yore, failures, heartbreaks as Rwandans all, these are only some of the benefits they carried.
When you remember how we took computers for toys, what a belly laugh!
Good people of this land, it behooves us all to hold on to, protect and augment our benefits.