Goma in Passing

I did not get to see much of Goma because I arrived after dark (around 9pm) and left early the next morning at 6am. My small experience was of the Maji Matulivu Guesthouse (meaning “still waters” in Swahili) that is situated on the edge of Lake Kivu. The guesthouse is beautiful but had a feeling of melancholy because there was hardly anyone there. I had missed dinner but fortunately found the cook and was given a plate of cold leftovers. While I was eating, an older European woman poked her head into the kitchen and we chatted for a bit. She had lived in South Kivu for a long time and was just passing through. I went to bed early because the lights in the living area were already off and I also had to wake up early the next morning. I had trouble getting to sleep however, because someone in the room next to me started singing opera between 10-11pm. I was a bit annoyed by it but somehow it added to the poetic intrigue of this place! The next morning I woke up to the beautiful view of lake Kivu and got to see the changing colours of the clouds as the sun began to rise. My driver came to pick me up, we picked up Jon (I saw Archip in passing on the way there and rolled down my window to shake his hand in greeting!), and then we headed to the airport. The process of checking in was a bit confusing because we had to pay two different taxes each in different locations. I was thankful to travel with Jon because he had an idea of the process. We were flying with UNHAS who allow 20kg of weight with any extra weight costing $1.5 per kg. I had to leave my guitar and my second suitcase with a colleague in Goma to be sent on a different flight a few days later. The plane was the smallest I have been on. We stopped in Bunia and had to get off the plane, go through a security point, to get back on the plane after they finished refuelling. Finally we arrived in Beni and my good friend Lauren was there to welcome us! It felt so strange and yet so good to be back!

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