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My Base in Goma

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The Ihusi Hotel, Goma
The Ihusi Hotel, nestled on the shores of Lake Kivu, is gradually emptying out. Those of you who may have been worried about my safety/comfort during my time here in Goma will be relieved to know that I have a lake view and have enjoyed omelette avec fromage et jambon each morning. Some interesting differences with hotels in Kenya, and the other former British colonies. The wine is French not your New World nonsense. A good thing. And the coffee is fresh - albeit rather bitter - rather than Nescafe. Also a good thing. However, the waiters are what can only be described as surly. Anyway people are heading home now. The world has moved on from the DRC I suspect. There are pirates off Somalia doing their thing and most news outlets can only cope with one Africa story at a time. The charities are launching a big appeal tomorrow but I suspect this will be a last headline before we let the country sink back into obscurity.


nuttycow | November 19, 2008 12:59 PM | Reply

Rub it in why don'tcha?!

Anonymous | November 19, 2008 1:04 PM | Reply


Rest assured that the rest of the town is in pretty bad shape and that I'm working like a dog.

Primal Sneeze | November 19, 2008 1:11 PM | Reply

... most news outlets can only cope with one Africa story at a time.

That has to be the quote of the year.

Anonymous | November 19, 2008 1:11 PM | Reply

Slumming it I see... So, who's picking up this tab :) Must be a bit of bind to head back to Nairobi. Mind you, hotel life starts to grind after a few days regardless of how nice the building.

Anonymous | November 19, 2008 1:16 PM | Reply

It is indeed grinding. And I should have mentioned that the other difference is no "English style fish and chips" on the menu.

Primal Sneeze, although actually the DRC story is hanging on alongside piracy today in my own papers. I may have spoken too soon.

Anonymous | November 19, 2008 1:34 PM | Reply

Shame you can't add the Goma chippy to the blog...

It is interesting how the DRC has kept the interest and I can't quite put my finger on why that is. I know it can't last, but... why?

I've put Somalia, Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq through the number crunchers



Bit tricky though as Congo is not the term always used. Regardless, despite my perception and maybe yours, DRC is still small beer, even this past month, when compared to other war zones.

Anonymous | November 19, 2008 3:08 PM | Reply

Oh yeah. This stuff has been going on for 5 years - plus the civil war before that - with vast death tolls that make Darfur and Somalia look like playgrounds and without attracting any attention. Why now? People really (mistakenly) thought Goma would fall and overspun the story. In the bar here fingers have been pointed at certain media houses for overhyping the whole thing, but I'm not going to share that

Shashank | November 20, 2008 11:56 AM | Reply

DRC never gets the coverage it deserves - it's far too complicated and most of the world has given it up for lost anyway - so while the news coverage of the past three weeks has been out of proportion to the actual changes on the ground, as we all know, news cycles (and newspaper editors) are fickle. We can't expect people to pay attention to DRC all the time, or even some of the time, but when they do, I'm grateful for it.

My former newspaper, The Kansas City Star of Kansas City, Missouri, population roughly 400,000, smack in the middle of a country with plenty of big domestic stories these days, made the humanitarian crisis in DRC its front-page centerpiece story a couple of Mondays back. And that was even before Ben Affleck showed up.

Anonymous | November 21, 2008 5:40 AM | Reply

The DRC on the front page has to be a good thing. It has made the international community stand up and do something... send 3000 more peacekeepers. Great. Problem solved!

What do you think?