Archive for July, 2008

Bethsaida Orphanage

July 13, 2008

This afternoon we went to an orphanage that is not too far from the house here in Goma.  It was a bit of an adventure getting there since we didn’t really know where it was other than that it was “beyond Hotel Karibu”.  The first place we ended up wasn’t an orphanage at all.  It was some sort of compound for the Seventh Day Adventist church here in Goma.  We didn’t know that at the time so we went in and were introduced to the man who ran the place.  He told us that it wasn’t an orphanage and gave us (incorrect) directions to the Bethsaida orphanage.  The kids were all happy to see us and the people in charge seemed happy to have us there too.

Except for when the whole bunch was playing some sort of keep-away game with the ball we brought, this boy wouldn’t let go of my hand the whole time we were there.  A lot of them were also fascinated by my arm hair and kept tugging at it.  I guess they don’t get up close to Mazungus too often. 

The adults said that they were in need of school supplies and clothes for the kids.  I think we will try to see what we can find locally, but if anyone knows of a bunch of kids clothing sitting around, let me know.


Classic Goma

July 12, 2008

Almost all of Goma is built on the lava flows that have come from the volcano at various times.  The latest flow in 2002 trapped some vehicles.  I took this picture on the way to the Air Serv office.  They are building right on top of the most recent flow.  I guess lava isn’t supposed to flow over the same place twice. 

These wooden scooter type things are all over the place here.  They come in various sizes and are usually carrying a very heavy load.  By the airport we usually see them cruising down the hill with hundreds of pounds of charcoal, wood, food, or a half dozen people. 

Here is another road through “downtown” Goma.  There are hundreds of these small motorbikes that take people around.  On the back you’ll usually see the passenger(s) (sometimes several people) carrying all sorts of things.  I wish I had a picture of the one I saw with a very large pig on the back that was squealing the whole way. 

Apparently, the helmet laws are even enforced in Goma (at least for the driver), but there doesn’t seem to be any regulation on the type or quality of helmet to be worn.  I’ve seen everything from a hockey helmet to a construction hard hat on the top of their heads.  The one below is split nearly in half.  At least it looks cool.

“Dry Season” and Vermin Abatement

July 10, 2008
It’s the dry season now which supposedly means it doesn’t rain much.  That’s mostly true.  You can see that it’s pretty hazy from the lack of rain and from people burning things.  The jungle almost looks like water when it’s obscured by the haze.  If you look closely below the wing, the little speck is a UN 1900 flying in the opposite direction 1000′ below.
Dry Season UN speck

While in Goma during an abnormally strong thunderstorm in the supposed dry season, I heard the cat making a strange sound.  I figured that she was scared of the rain and opened the door and saw this:
Vermin Abatement
It’s Air Serv Goma’s Vermin Abatement Program earning her keep.

Some parts of Congo are never completely dry.  This is on final approach to N’Dolo airport in Kinshasa:
Congo River on Final


Look how nice the pavement is:
Rough Runway