Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rutshuru: Where the kids turn in their guns

I haven't written in a bit since I've been down with a short but violent case of Nyiragongo's revenge. On Sunday we had a great day on the boat-- the area really is much safer now, so we went down the coast a little. There are some beautiful cliffs that hang over the water, and we pulled up to them to go exploring. Me and Nelson climbed up a wall and were oblivious to the fact that the rocks we were on were completely detached, as our boatmates directly below were glad to tell us. Then I climbed around a small island outcropping to get picked up on the other side... gripping the side of the rock face and scooting along little ledges, I was upset to see a large human turd on my next handhold... then another... then another and another... it was the local fishermans' poop rock, apparently. After that, lured by the sounds of cheering crowds, we were nearly boarded by a youth soccer team that waved us in to shore and didn't want us to go...

I just came back from a day trip to Rutshuru, north of Goma at the foot of Virunga National Park, where we attended an arms handover ceremony at a forward operating base presided by the MONUC and the Congolese FARDC. It was an amazing ride in a convoy of Indian MONUC soldiers... the country is so beautiful... the Indians are fun guys... I don't know what to say; it was a little overwhelming. It was my personal Vietnam movie. We were there because after last week's big offensive, about 350 Mayi-mayi militiamen demobilized, and this was a ceremony to congratulate them. I finally got to see the rebels up close. About half couldn't be older than 13. Their guns are a median of 20 years old. Uniforms in tatters. Rubber fishing boots. Girls. The best part was hearing their martial songs as the line of children filed up to the blue helmets, laid down their guns, and marched back. There were helicopters. There were tanks. We got great, hassle free footage of soldiers. A great day in my book.

1 purrs/hisses:

At 11:53 AM, Blogger karthik said...

first off, let's address these hordes of young indian men you are hanging out with. wait, we'd better leave that alone. just don't get any ideas about karthik v.17.0.

second, poop rock? now, i know in our globalized world, our congolese friends have just about killed screamo and mathrock. but, poop rock? i thought i was just about to drop the first poop rock single.

leave it to those africans. first they invent life, civilization, penis sheaths and now, poop rock. let's just see who brings it to lupo's first.


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