So on the 8th of August, I moved from Bukavu to Goma. I will spend the last two weeks of my stay in Congo in this beautiful city.
Leaving Bukavu was more difficult than I had anticipated! I packed my present life in one big backpack, went for one last swim in the lake and said goodbye to my loving host and the house that I had lived in for the past 4 weeks. As the car drove away from the compound, I tried to hold back a stream of tears that ran down my cheeks and threatened to turn into a river. I had arrived here just four weeks ago flustered and scared. Everything seemed unfamiliar and strange. But now this felt like home. It’s always funny how fast that happens. Driving away from this place that gave me so much, not knowing when I would come back, if ever, made my heart heavy with grief.
The ride to the port was quiet. Once at the port, I had to rush a little bit to get my boat on time. I went from one desk to another dragging my bag around – first passport check, then weighing the bag and paying for the extra luggage, blah blah. Anyway, I made it onto the boat a few minutes before departure. This was a medium sized boat with about 60 people on board. I went inside but as all the seats were taken I came back out and found my self a place on the deck and that was the best decision I took that day! It takes three hours to get from Bukavu to Goma, three hours of scenic beauty of the magnificent lake! I couldn’t stop taking pictures! Everywhere I looked it was so beautiful it took my breath away – the beautiful blue lake surrounded by hills and palm trees. Small fishing boats on the water and the sun shinning brightly in the sky. It was pristine! I looked at this for three hours and even that wasn’t enough.
I met some new friends on the boat – two Chinese men, one Congolese girl and a man from Central Africa. We had very different but interesting conversations. The Chinese men and I spoke about food, with my Congolese friend I spoke about boys and with the man from Central Africa, we talked about war and racism. We were served sandwiches and beer on board – it was so nice. Zooming across the beautiful lake, sitting in the sun, with the wind in my hair, among funny, interesting people, with a sandwich and a cold beer – bliss! We clicked a lot of pictures and laughed a lot! I don’t know our paths will ever cross again but we enjoyed the few hours of our shared existence together.
Upon getting to Goma, my Greek friend who I had met when I first arrived in Bukavu, lets call her ‘I’, was waiting for me at the port. We were super happy to see each other and we drove home chatting away to glory. At her house I was greeted by her boyfriend ‘D’ and a sweet but shy doggie. I have a super pretty and comfy room with a yet another beautiful view, of course!
Goma is way more developed than Bukavu and looks like any other big city in the world – roads, streetlights, restaurants and all the works! The people here are also super fashionable! Everyone is so well dressed. That always struck me in Bukavu. No matter where I went everyone seemed dressed for an occasion – with beautifully tailored pagne suits in all the possible colors. Here it is similar. It seems like people really put lots of thought into their attire – from the headgear to the shoes. They don’t just throw something on. And all of it looks amazing! I’m always in awe when I go out!
So this is Goma, new place, just as beautiful. Keep watching this space for more stories from this part of the world.