If it was not preceded by its fame, Goma at a glance could hardly be said a difficult place.
Lake Kivu is anachronistically calm, peaceful, surrounded by a hilly landscape, intensely green, that contrasts with the black lava ground on which forest proliferates with arrogance. The majestic volcano Nyiragongo is just as impressive as a volcano can be.
It is one of the most contradictory place I have ever seen: the land of the world’s richest mines, scene of a twenty-year war, where impassable streets lined with decaying buildings contrast with lakefront residences, hotels and restaurants that rivals the ones on the most touristic Italian lakes. And as soon as you step across the border with Rwanda, you find yourself in a real touristic area, where roads and buildings are brand new, housing and hotels are first class and war can be seen only on TV.
From the plane you see rain forest all around as far as the eye can go in any possible direction. The Congolese forest cover is incredibly dense: you can fly for hours without being able to observe any interruption, except for some groove strip of water. On the opposite in Rwanda, where the population density is tens of times higher, forest gives way to crops.
Almost two weeks after the capture of the city, today the M23 has left Goma, leaving us in the company of MONUSCO’s helicopters monitoring the situation, while waiting for the FARDC to resume possession of their territory.
It is the usual calm weekend of fear.