The streets are empty. The shops are shut. The power has been ON for 2 days straight.
What on earth could be going on in Goma?
The President is coming to visit. He is rumored to be driving in on the road from Butembo. The road that the CNDP took control of in October. The road that since it reopened has been the scene of robberies and killing. He is apparently on a driving tour, reclaiming the East with his own vehicle.
To what do we owe this honor? Perhaps women's Day? That was Sunday. No, today has been declared a National Holiday for an entirely different reason. The Congo football (soccer) team won the African Nations Championship last night.
My husband and I didn't watch the game, but we marked it's progress quite effectively. We live in a noisy part of town, next to bars and nightclubs. But this noise was unmistakable. The sudden roar of cheering that swells up in the night air, and dies down just as quickly, is the tell-tale sign that Congo has scored a goal. After the game our neighborhood quickly began to sound like one large bar room, mixed with a circus. There were motorcycles celebrating with their horns, street kids celebrating by getting wildly drunk, and the whole world out in the streets celebrating in any way they could. We were sure that gunfire and looting would break out at any second, but it didn't.
So today there is no work. Shops and offices are required to shut. The streets are strangely quiet. Except in front of our apartment where they are lining up cars with flags to welcome the president. And I have the best electricity that I have had in three years.
Kabila is coming to town.