Slow day in the Congo…

13.Oct.2010

Didn’t get too much done today, but I am now sitting at the sublime waterside bar of Le Chalet, a bar and restaurant in Goma. I could dive in the cool waters of Lake Kivu if the desire overtook me, though I think I’d look a bit funny sitting here all wet during the interview that is about to take place. To my right the sun breaks through the clouds in glorious rays, casting a glow over the mountains in the distance. It belies what I know is the crippling violence ongoing far below in so many places.

The interview went well, provided just the outside perspective of MONUSCO I was hoping for. And then Roger and Jet (Dobs’s nearly identical younger brother) and I had a yummy meal at Doga, becoming a favorite.

Roger gave me a lesson over dinner about the ethnic make up of Congo’s people. It’s not simple, as one can imagine. So I had him literally map it out for me. And I could see he was a highly successful teacher in his day. The people who settled here came from two migrations – the first from the Sahara, the Bantu people; the second from the Nile, the Niletiques in French, not sure the English translation. They in turn, through further migration east and west of Lake Kivu and the environs, as well as coupling, became the Bushi people (I think) and the Rwandan Tutsi and Tanzanian and Kenyan Masai. From there it gets more and more complicated. Suffice it to say, the populations of the Great Lakes region (and most of the world) all basically started out as the same people and / or share significant family lineages. Makes the many conflicts engulfing this region (and everywhere, globally) feel all the more useless, since we are all the same. Naïve? Perhaps. But true.

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