Last night week we slept in our own bed for the first time in two weeks. It is wonderful to be home. We have returned to Goma (on the condition that we are willing to leave again at a moment's notice).
Unfortunately this does not mean that the war in Eastern Congo is moving in the right direction.
The town of Goma has regained relative normalicy for the moment and so we are here. But the fighting continues in other areas, and all sides seem to be building up their forces.
At the edge of town is a refugee camp called Kitabi, housing 50,000 refugees. Nkunda's rebels hold the area just north of Kibati, putting the camp at the front lines between the government and rebels. Obviously this is an unstable situation. On Friday rebel soldiers at the front line fired their guns in the air, throwing government forces into a panic, and starting an exchange of gunfire and mortars. The population in the refugee camp picked up their stuff and began to run towards Goma. Inside Goma, everything shut down in an instant. All the shops in Birere (the comercial section of town) immediatly shut their doors, and everyone went running home. The fighting turned out to be a minor skirmish, but the difficulty of having a refugee camp on the front lines, and a major city only a step away, is abundantly clear. We go back to normal, but in a second, everything can change.
In the meantime, we are happy for the chance to be home, and for the opportunity for the Shona women to begin sewing again.