Bukavu, Once Upon a Time

I was dancing in the rain, following the rhythm of African music and sing along with the singer once a while.

“Sawa sawa sawa ne,” my colleague was singing next to me, precisely screaming next to my ear.  In  addition, I did the same to her face. It was my farewell party. It was great and ending my times in DR Congo all at once.

It was hard to believe, finally after living here for a long time, the time to say Good Bye has come. Congo was being my second house in the last six years. And now, It’s over.

After three years working in Kinshasa, I was shifted to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province. The city was small, with one boulevard in the middle of city, covered by asphalted road with many pot holes everywhere. It does not have so many to offer to be enjoyed during my free time. However, the climate was good, 22 degree during the day and 16 degree in the night. I could sleep without AC which was almost impossible to do in Kinshasa.

Bukavu, South Kivu, DR Congo

Bukavu, South Kivu, DR Congo

Beside of wonderful climate, nature is the other thing that I loved from Bukavu. Lake Kivu dominates most of the area of Bukavu. DR Congo and its neighbor country Rwanda share this fresh water lake, which is also well known as a Great African lake. It is one of lakes that experience limnic eruption. Around the lake, geologist found evidence of massive biologist extinction about every thousand years caused by out-gassing events. For more information, you can find it here.

Bukavu and Lake Kivu Seen from Above

Bukavu and Lake Kivu Seen from Above

In Bukavu, people speak French, of course, and Swahilli as the second language. I knew some words in Swahili, such as Jambo, Karibu, Muzuri, Kesyo, Haraka, Pole, and Ndiyo, Assante, ohh that’s all. And I am not proud of myself.

In the first year during my stay in Bukavu, I was placed at Kavumu airport., 37 km from the city where I lived in.  It was exhausted year, when I must leave Bukavu at 7 am (people were still sleeping at this time), drove on the road to arrive on time at the airport. Actually, my colleague was the one who drove. I just sat on passenger seat. Fortunately, road condition to the airport is good.

Road to Kavumu Airport

Road to Kavumu Airport

What I like from my daily journey from Bukavu to Kavumu is breathtaking scenery. It is so green, peace, and beautiful. Seeing all those thing, it’s hard to believe that Bukavu is one of conflict areas in DRC. Lake, hills, mountains, trees and wild flowers accompanied my journey everyday. In the morning, it could be very misty, and you couldn’t see anything after the lake. But when the sun starts to shine, it seems everything come out from the hidden places.

Lake Kivu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lake Kivu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

If i was lucky, I could watch a tradition for new born baby. When the baby born and ready to be brought home, this baby will be paraded by many women. They will sing and dance for the baby along the way. I never got bored to see them.

A Shepherd with his cows, view on the way to Kavumu Airport

A Shepherd with his cows, view on the way to Kavumu Airport

Mamas of Congo, Dancing and Singing to Welcome new Born Baby

Mamas of Congo, Dancing and Singing to Welcome new Born Baby

Living in small city as Bukavu offering not so many activities during my free time. When I was not so lazy to be out from my house, which has large garden where I could watch Lake Kivu from there, I came to Orchid Hotels. I could say that it was the best hotel in town, with lovely garden surrounding and Lake Kivu in few steps from the hotel. Kayaking and swimming could be the options to spend the day there. Or just sitting by the lake, enjoying breeze on my face and watching the sun went down slowly.

Lake Kivu. View is Seen from Orchid Hotel

Lake Kivu. View is Seen from Orchid Hotel

Lake Kivu Before the Sun Went Down

Lake Kivu Before the Sun Went Down

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