steel guitar and settle down
I made it into Congo just fine. Hopefully my luggage will still be at the hotel when I get back; otherwise, this will be a short trip. Anyway, the border was no trouble at all since, unlike at the southern end of the lake, the border guards here are paid regular salaries. A customs guy wanted a bribe, but he asked my driver if I was English, driver said yes, I pretended not to speak any French or Swahili, and Mr. Customs kept pointing at my bag and saying, "Close, close." He meant "open," of course, but I just kept saying, "It is closed" and he gave up. My driver laughed all the way to the hotel over that one.
So, after heading to the Hotel Nyira and being shown to the exact same room I stayed in last summer, here I am in Goma. At the moment I'm sitting in a cyber cafe down the street from the "Dallas Super Dancing Club" which looks approximately like Dallas in Austin. Don't think I'll be stopping there any time soon.
Goma seems sadder this time. I don't know; maybe it's just me and just the weight of the last week of travel and being worn out. But I really do think there's something different in the air. The skies are clearer today, so the Nyira volcano is looming to the northeast, just threatening to erupt and destroy lives again like it did three years ago. On the other side of Nyira, there are 55,000 internally displaced persons (internal refugees) and who knows how many rebels and armies fighting. People look more frightened and worried than they did last summer. I don't know if it's just the people I see or if the recent disturbances have the city worried that it's all about to start up again.
Thanks so much for all your prayers and encouraging notes these last few days. The enormity of this task has really hit me this week and it's been a little discouraging. I am thankful to have so many good friends.
In other news, I cannot be-lieve that Kara is still in, but hooray for Chloe. Nick is a better designer than Kara and she just doesn't deserve to be in the final three. We'll see. Actually, Blogging Project Runway cheated by having spies at the Fashion Week shows last week, so you can probably figure it out yourself. Or by reading the NYT article. Except that they do a decoy show!
(Picture shamelessly stolen off the web, but this is what Nyira looks like. It's not smoking at the moment. You have to be careful about pulling out your camera on the streets here.)