Goma: The last outpost
Flashes of lightning illuminate Lake Kivu as thunder crackles above. The storm causes the lights to trip and disrupts the internet connection at our place of rest, the Ihusi Hotel.
The hotel, which overlooks the lake, is a meeting place – or hunting ground – for UN types, election observers, haughty journalists, as well as certain undesirables.
UN cars line the parking lot. French-speaking receptionists ignore requests made in Queen’s English and poll monitors insist on parading around in their election observer vests (Can sipping cocktails at the bar could ever be free or fair?
The road from the Rwandan border into Goma is bustling with activity and the construction sites lining it suggest the city is undergoing a facelift.
But when the neatly tarmacked road ends, another Goma presents itself in the form of the gigantic BDGL roundabout. On the scarred island in the middle, children kick a football around in the dirt, while others loiter about looking utterly bored.
A donkey wrapped in the flag of a local candidate running in the legislative elections is taunted and petted by passers-by.
Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, and Goma lies only 13 to 18 km due south of the crater of the active Nyiragongo Volcano. The recent history of Goma has been dominated by the volcano and the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fuelled the First and Second Congo Wars. The aftermath of these events was still having effects on the city and its surroundings in 2010.
Goma is capital of North Kivu province, ethnically and geographically similar to South Kivu (capital Bukavu); the two provinces are known as “the Kivus”.
i like to keep an eye on places like this..there is ususally a good reason why they are danger spots..this is no different..africa the last bastion..