July 31 – Taking the Ferry to Goma

July 31 – Taking the Ferry to Goma

Today, we are taking the ferry, Miss Rafiki, to Goma. The ferry takes about 6 hours and my first class ticket including a breakfast of eggs and coffee was $25. Goma was developed as a strategic city on Lake Kivu by the Belgium’s in response to the German presence in the boarder town of Gisenyi, now in Rwanda. In 1977 a major volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo destroyed the city and killed 2000 people. Mount Nyiragongo erupted again in 2002 — the lava flow came right down the center of the city. The city has changed hands many times during the war, especially from 1998-2003. The rebel leader, Laurant Nkunda, has been a major source of terror in the area over the years. MONUC, the French term for the UN mission in DRC, has provided relative stability in the city for the past few years — with the airport open and people returning to more normal life. The town is also close to the Virunga volcanoes and the national park where many mountain gorillas are found. I was able to go to the park and see the mountain gorillas in 1991– not sure I will have time on this trip as we only have 6 days for the research before I need to be in Uganda for our Gates project.

Work will start tomorrow morning!

More soon…

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