Day Two: Spending the Night in Bukavu

We had no idea where we were going to spend the night in Bukavu. As it turned out, Flory’s cousin had a house in Bukavu and he had arranged for us to spend the night there. The house was nice in Bukavu standards. It overlooked Lake Kivu and was next door to the General’s house. From here, Bukavu looked like a town on the Mediterranean.

We found out the next morning that we are guarded by the army because of the proximity to the General. Some of the men let us take their picture.

The view of the lake was so beautiful. It actually made me sad to know that because of the location most people in the world would never consider coming to see it:

We were to spend a few nights in Bukavu because Flory needed to take an American pastor back to Burundi to speak. The pastor was with Flory’s cousin and was on his way to the house. We waited, and waited until Flory even got impatient. Seems on their way meant they were at church and stopping for dinner before coming home. Flory and Amina had been a little later than they said while we were in Bujumbura, but this was our first real introduction to Congo time.

When they finally arrived we found out it was a whole team from a church in the US who were working at the clinic in Nayngezi. Several of them had come into the town for the day. They started telling us about the work at the clinic; how much help they needed with techniques and got our first bits of information about the center we would be staying at.

We quickly turned our attention to business, paid Flory’s cousin for the use of his center and gave Flory the money for food and other arrangements he was making. THe group from the US left with the cousin except the pastor who would be staing the night and leaving in the morning with Flory: by this time it was too late to leave because the boarder would be closed.

We sensed some agitation in Flory, we assumed was from the lateness and his inability to prepare us for it. He wanted us fed and the only way to do hat was to go out to eat since the markets would all be closed. The pastor went with us to be sociable. After we got to know him we began to wish he had not come. I don’t think the man stopped talking for two minutes the whole time. He also had a very different understanding of Africa than anyone we would have ever called Christian. He described the serving culture and how white people were celebrities and honored guests, but in such a way as to say it was OK not to care at the poor treatment of others. We listened to his stories and were glad he was leaving before we woke up.

I love trying new foods, and was excited to be at what is considered a good restaurant. We had stopped at a travelers restaurant on the road from Uvira where we ate basically a bite of goat meat and nothing else. We got laughed at for not eating the fat and they explained Congolese love to eat the fat. We were allowed to only try a small bit of the Fufu because Flory did not want us sick. So this was going to be a great opportunity to try something new. Flory was very worried about everything I chose to try, so I finally agreed to have him pick out something I couldn’t get in the US that he felt comfortable with me eating. After two minutes of looking trough the menu, he looked at me and very desperately asked “can’t you just eat the rice.” So I ordered plain white rice and what they called a steak.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)