So, we had this awesome plan to go to the Nyriagongo volcano in the DRC and see real live lava. UNFORTUNATELY, some bad things happened.
|"To Fallen Soldiers"|
First, Katie was too sick to even travel to Kampala with us on Friday. Sooooo that was super sucky. Rwandair said they would refund her ticket, but they are not very good at doing what they say, as we shall find out.
Then, Jess and I go the Posta bus station (..the post office). Oh wait, the bus "had a problem." It's not coming today - the posta guy suggests going to Kla tomorrow. Well, that's not an option. So we start walking to the taxi park to find a matatu.
Cue me EATING IT right off a curb. I stepped off with my right foot, my sandal was not on tightly, and I came down with all my weight on the R side of my foot. Just like exactly a year ago. As soon as it happened I knew I most likely would not get to climb that volcano. "ARGHHHHH" was probably in my thought bubble.
So I was like, well I have to go to Kampala anyway to get a good xray, and I already have a ticket to Rwanda, so I might as well just complete this obviously doomed journey. So I get in a matatu, Jess makes an emergency run back to the lab to grab an ice pack, and we were off.
We eventually get to Kla and I don't have any new breaks, which is good. Gonna get a f/u tomorrow just to make sure, but hopefully this healing process will be much quicker than last time.
The next morning we head to the airport after eating leftover Chinese for breakfast, and Rwandair doesn't have a record of my or Jess' ticket. Maybe two Jessicas is one too many to ticket? Anyway, Rwandair now owes me 276$ because we had to pay for another ticket in cash, in the airport. SO MANY FAILS. Agnes' comment on our travails was that God did not want us to go on this trip. She was probably right.
I did get to ride in a wheelchair in the airport, which made Jeff's day. Forgot to take pictures, though.
When we get to Kigali after a plane ride that took a shorter amount of time than the arguing that we did to actually get ON the plane, we got some food. And it was delicious. Frogs' legs in garlic and butter? Are you serious? It was amazing. I didn't eat my soup because I didn't like it and they took it back and gave me a free dessert. I nearly fell out of my chair. Rwanda turns out to have pretty amazing customer service, not counting its airline.
Then we went to the genocide memorial (even though originally we were gonna go on our last day) because Jeff had been to Kigali 3 times and never been. I think what's so extremely disturbing about the Rwandan Genocide is how it was just so....personal. Yes, the govt played a huge role, but so many of the stories in the museum were about neighbors killing neighbors, friends killing friends, and even family killing family. It was just so horrifying. You can't say "oh, nobody knew what was going on, it was this remote thing where people were being shipped off and killed." It was mass murder in streets, in churches. Just horrible. The two quotes I remember are a woman saying "Not everyone was evil. I would say 5% were good, 5% were neutral, and the remaining 90% were evil." And an 11 year old girl "They killed all of my family, but they survived. I will never see my family again, but I will have to see the people who killed my family every day for the rest of my life."
I am not sure how you are supposed to deal with something like that. With believing that 90% of people are bad, or with living in a society full of people who previously tried to murder you and your family. Or with seeing babies and children murdered. These are horrors absolutely beyond my imagining.
Then we went to Gisenyi.
|That big building on the left is where we stayed. Right on the beach of Lake Kivu.|
I really thought I might be able to struggle up the volcano (against medical advice, but FOR awesomeness). But then Innocent, our tour guide, took one look at me and started shaking his head no. And Devan got that look on your face when you're about to tell a patient really bad news. So I excused myself and pouted on the beach all day while they climbed a volcano. =(
|Took a boat ride to a tiny island!|
|Wah wah. Again.|
What my friends were seeing:
|Sigh. Photo credits to Devan.|
So the next morning Innocent picked me up and we crossed the border into the DRC so at least my visa didn't go to waste!
Some background: Rwanda, post-genocide, is really an aberration in terms of East Africa. It's clean (plastic bags are actually outlawed, and will be removed from your person), boda drivers wear helmets and carry an extra one for the passenge, the roads are amazing, and it's generally more developed than its neighbors. If you talk to people in Uganda, they insist that the people of Rwanda are suffering because the economy is so restricted (so many rules - can't have kiosks, etc) and they may be right. On the surface, though, it's like a glossy coffee table book. Very pretty to look at.
The Congo is not like that at all. Crossing the border was dramatic: from hills to flat plains full of lava rubble, from kids in school to kids not in school, from perfect public transportation and roads to pickup trucks and crazy potholes. Night and day.
|Lava fields. Nyiragongo erupted in 2002 and killed over 100 people in Goma, |
and left huge fields of lava rock behind.
|Smoky smoky Nyiragongo|
|Not sure what's with all the bullet holes|
|Check out my sweet polio crutch|
The next day we pretty much relaxed in Kigali and ate MORE delicious foods. Then we went home to Uganda, where we made sure to buy cheese and lettuce at 1:30am because groceries are priority #1 if you live in Tororo.
|Kigali st: GORILLA in the middle, boda passing by.|
|Yes, Hope's finger is in my eye.|
|How am I going to live without Hope and Feen back in the US??|