by Travis Oltmann
Nyiragongo looms in the distance. There are beggars that look like scrap metal, children with yawning machete scars across their faces, and women that walk around sterilized and lifeless.
All while Nyiragongo chortles and coughs and spits out vaporous clouds of smoke.
Kevin stands on his balcony and examines the leftover damage from the last time it got agitated. Veins of charcoal stained ruts are apparent in the countryside. Bonte traces a path in the air with his finger. “When it erupted in two thousand two, the lava flow through the city and buildings disappear. Smoke was everywhere. We were running and running, people were screaming and falling because they choke. It causes a lot of damage, my uncle had a shop and it burn to the ground. He lost everything in less than one day,” he tells Kevin.
“How come you didn’t leave?” Kevin asks.
“This is my home. I never leave. I did not leave when CNDP fought the army in the streets and I will not leave when it happen again.” Bonte leaves some air in his lungs so his chest puffs out slightly.
“Well, let’s hope it doesn’t.”
“It will, it always does. The only people who can stop it make too much money from it.”
“They’re saying Achibe is going to make a move soon.”
“Yes, I hear the same things.”
“Do you think he can do it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. He will need a lot of guns. The Army has the UN and they help with helicopters and troops.”
Kevin nods and thinks for a moment. “Can we move the meeting with Osei to tomorrow? With him knocking at the gates I should probably speed this trip up.”
“I will check and see. I will call you in the morning.”
Bonte exits the room and the door shudders when it closes. Kevin locks it and pulls a satellite phone from his bag. Day fades as the sun eases itself into Lake Kivu. The remaining shreds of light creep through the windows and broken shutters, coating the back wall in streaks of apricot and umbra. Kevin squints as he dials. *** Read on! ***