January 19, 2009 Kayna, Congo
We arrived. Five hours on a pothole-marked road a long drive through rebel held territory and the infamous Virunga National Park, we arrived in Kayna, just before dark.
I am in Kayna, the far northeast of Congo, a region recently in the news for Christmas-time fighting between the rebel troops of Nkunda and Congolese government troops of Kabila. The area has been off limits to NGOs. We are the first to arrive. The villagers, as always, were caught in the middle and are just now coming back from the forest where they hide when tensions rise.
We had a meal with the president of a local community group. Fresh tilapia and potatoes, both fried to perfection. We will stay in the Catholic Mission, outside of town on a hill, a brick cathedral and several buildings with dingy rooms, foam mats and generator power from 6-9pm. I am sharing two bathroom stalls and one shower with seven men. They buzz with flies when I enter. I'm almost glad I can't see a thing.