Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Saturday was strange. I had a long conversation with a friend about witch doctors. He told me a story about a man who stole a goat, and when he killed it for dinner, it turned into a snake. Witches transform into hippopotamuses and lions, he said. On the news, there was a story about a 5 year-old girl who was buried alive in Congo last week because it was thought that she was a sorceress. In exchange for his stories, I recounted the plot of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

We were later joined by a Serbian guy who has apparently lived here for 3 years, and has very pronounced opinions about the United States (he is convinced that Milosevic was a CIA agent). A large, jolly man who spoke in assured, but broken English, he favored the “F-word” and used it liberally.

After a long, heated, and often frustrating conversation about Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, historic empires and the like, we finally agreed that we both didn’t like Clinton and left it there.

Later, the Rwandan owner of Gisenyi’s nightclub came by. When I introduced myself, he said, “Morgan. What does that make me think of? Oh, Adams Morgan.” I was astonished. Apparently he had spent a month in Washington. I never thought anyone here would know about Washington’s neighborhoods.

Now that I know the owner of the nightclub, I don’t have to pay cover anymore. Go me.

For the rest of the evening, everyone was discussing ways to get me in and out of Goma (the city in Congo that’s just across the border) semi-legally. The whole area is on lock-down because Joseph Kabila (president of Congo) and Paul Kagame (president of Rwanda) are in the area. Whenever Paul Kagame travels near the Congolese border, the Rwandan army protection is almost suffocating, because the Congolese military is made up of many Interahamwe.

I’m getting the impression that anything goes in Congo. The Congolese military, composed of rebels, is supposed to be fighting against the rebels. Little wonder that insecurity remains so high and we receive 50 new refugees every week.


Blogger Raff said...

I believe the Germans are planning on sending soldiers into the Congo sometime soon (though, this may take a long time given the beaucracy involved). Anyway, why would you want to go there?

3/29/2006 11:18 AM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Apparently, it's a real city...buildings made of metal and everything :)

You can also get things much cheaper. I'm contemplating getting a television, as it's April, and every April, there are two weeks of nonstop genocide documentaries (to remind people of the past).I don't want to miss it.

BUT--the Rwandan customs reserves the right to tax you whatever they want on the goods you buy in Goma.

Good for the Germans. I know the EU is sending soldiers for the June elections. I hope they'll be better than the Indians. One Indian MONUC soldier was caught raping a 14 year old girl, and he was thrown into jail. Paul Kagame said that if another such incident occurs, MONUC soldiers will never again be allowed to enter Rwanda.

4/01/2006 9:25 AM  

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