"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

4.17.2006

easter Weekend, part trois: i'll say my prayers closer to the sky

After lunch, Gorilla Ben, Sam, Suzy, Oliver, Allie, and I decided to go out to visit the volcano fissure, which is just outside of Goma. Totally wild. See, when the volcano erupted in Goma in 2002, lava didn’t come spewing out the top of the cone like you'd expect. Instead, it opened a second crater on its side, which caused some damage, and, elsewhere, split open the earth. The fissure we visited is the main source of the huge lava flow that ran through the center of Goma.

It is surreal. The landscape looks like the moon, and the lava rocks crumble beneath your feet when you walk. There are huge cracks in the ground, and then this big hill where the lava shot up.

This all happened on property belonging to my friend Eva's family. Imagine that for a minute – you're sitting on your porch one day, and all of a sudden the earth opens up and starts spewing lava into the sky. You can get a sense of how high it was from this picture of Sam.

At first, there were only two children following us around, but of course they multiplied like crazy, as children always do when you are a foreigner doing something strange in Africa. The guys climbed to the top of the lava hill and got the kids to dance and goof off, while Allie and I talked to this little guy, whose name is Justin. He was cute and polite and very curious as to why we wanted to climb all over the rocks. Most of the children out there spoke Kinyarwanda, which is very interesting - that makes them outsiders in the DRC, even though they were probably born here.

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