Ideas, Stories, and Profiles

Gratia recently travelled to the Western district of Karongi (widely known as Kibuye) as part of her work-schedule, where she also enjoyed views from the shores of Lake Kivu and her hotel room. Here she describes the experience.

While and if you’re in Karongi, the main subject of the photographs you will take, will be the lake no doubt. Shots from different angles, just to gather the most possible views of the lake. Just in case your eyes missed something, you might be able to get a chance to see it on examination. Or if something did catch your eye, you should document it for times you want to revisit it.

And by the lake, people sit. A little too quiet, zoned out from their usual thoughts and conversations. It appears no one feels the need to describe what they see. One explanation might be that they see this one thing differently. Or simply because entertaining language, logic and wordiness, when so much beauty lies in front of you, is a challenge you’d rather not indulge in at the moment. The vastness, the calmness, all a revelation that there’s something out there bigger and beyond ourselves. Both fortifying and humbling.

Conversations with the natives are very concise. They reveal very little, but just enough for you and for them to move on with their lives. There’s a mild vegetation on where the land disappears into the water, and if you look closely, you might see a mother digging and her toddler a few feet away.

As the day ages, observations get more conscious. Shades of blue and orange evolve in the sky uninterrupted, all so organised and literal.

In the night, it’s a different kind of spectacle. The water seems so still and in waves at the same time. If it’s the right time for the moon to be full, it so jokingly and teasingly hovers over the lake — appearing so close, as if it could touch the water if it pleased — and softly sets it ablaze.

There’s that far sound of the chanting fishermen in teams and the sight of the lamps they hold beside their boats and above the water. The chanting, I’m told, is to attract isambaza into their nets. They go about this almost all night and return at dawn.

There’s a number of things to see on Lake Kivu, just enough to birth a satisfaction of seeing very many things of one thing.

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