the volcano

i’m sitting listening to waves crashing on a sandy beach. no, i’m not in kenya (yet!). i’m in gisenyi, on the northern coast of lake kivu, treating myself to a few days of bliss after a hectic end-of-the-school-year, and getting a bit of a sunburn. i came up on a long, though scenic, bus ride yesterday evening with friend claude. as we were entering the city, my attention was caught by a pink glow in the dark sky to the northwest. nyiragongo volcano in congo, which four years ago blew its top and devastated the provincial capital of goma, home of runaway genocidaires from the war in 1994 and rwandan fighters trying to prevent them from coming back (or that’s what the rwandan government says- the more likely story is that they’re there stealing precious minerals from congo soil to finance big mansions for ministers in kigali). not sure how much news of congo makes it back home, but there’s been a lot of fighting there recently, not in goma precisely but in and around the national park 50 miles off, where the rwandese rebels (or soldiers or gold-miners depending on how you look at it) are hiding out. so much so that a handful of endangered mountain gorillas have been shot in the crossfire, and the rangers there to protect them have been evacuated. nearly 10,000 local villagers have crossed the border further north into uganda to escape the fighting.

as i was staring at the eery glow of the volcano last night, the darkness to either side was lit up with flashes of lightning, as if the tensions of a war never fully resolved had exploded into the sky, were boiling up out of the earth in the form of molten lava, evil materializing before my eyes.

quite a contrast to the paradise before them now. palm trees. lapping waves. children splashing happily in the surf. claude’s run off to goma (something about getting his passport stamped) and left me to my writing. vso forbids us to cross the border, understandably, so i’ll just sit and enjoy my sun and sand while the war bubbles in the distance.

lake front at the kivu sun hotel we didn’t actually stay here - just used their private beach spent the entire day here at the price of two coffees.  i feel like a bum sorta.

~ by aliciawolcott on October 31, 2007.

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