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



We are hearing that men dressed as soldiers were in the Birere neighborhood of Goma last night executing people with machetes. This comes from the head housekeeper, who lives there. Apparently, the residents of Birere stayed up in the night to guard their homes and families. No official word on this yet, but E heard screaming close to us during the night. She was surprised that I didn't hear it. She said it was really strong for a few minutes, then went away. I don't even want to say what that sounds like.

Again, rumors are currency here, so you never know what to believe and what to ignore. There are a lot of soldiers out, though, and the helicopter traffic seems higher than normal.

I am headed to do an interview, then P and I are going to Sake to visit the pygmy families my church helped last year. Sake was attacked by Nkunda's troops last August and there has been further instability in the town. I am interested to see how things have changed in these families' lives, and what's still difficult.


Blogger Kirstin said...

at what point do you decide it's not worth it to stay in the congo? is there a magic number of interviews you have to complete first? :) i don't know how your parents deal with this - my mother would be freaking out, whether all of this stuff is rumor or not.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 10:08:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

That's a good question, and I'm thinking that maybe I should stop writing about this stuff to spare y'all worry, because 98% of the time, it's nothing. I think most of what we heard this morning, for example, didn't actually happen (that is, the executions were rumors. I'm quite sure the housekeeper stayed up all night to protect their homes.). That said, there's definitely a stronger presence of soldiers out and about (and many fewer hanging out in the barracks down the street as they normally do).

The point at which I would leave would be the point at which someone decides that non-essential personnell expats at the humanitarian aid agencies need to be evacuated. I'd want to get out before the Rwandans close the border and before it became necessary for the Marines to come and get me and the other Americans here.

I have a friend who got caught in Bukavu when Nkunda took the town for a week in May 2004. My impression is that she didn't really have the opportunity to leave. Her dissertation is all the more interesting for staying. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 11:41:00 AM


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