by Marco Fulle
(written on 26 January 2012)
Africa, Africa ! Nyamuragira, Nyamuragira ! Two hours of racing through the bush towards Kimanura, the latest born - «the youngest mountain on Planet Earth» - on a narrow path worn on the lava by unfatigued sandals of the women of Rugari village, who come here every morning to gather wood with their children - what a shame to meet tens of them, wearing my new-bought expensive Asolo boots; racing never-ending miles on smooth ropy lava cracked by exuberant pluvial forest: in this way, Nyamuragira - «Who has the Power» - opens his doors to his unlimited kingdom. Finally, we reach the camp, on a smooth slab of lava covered by a thin mantle of ash, in the sunlit plain. Nyiragongo shines far away to the South, with its reddening crater in the night; to the East Mikeno, even nicer, taller and slimmer than our Matterhorn; and to the West we see her, Kimanura, the black fissure is singing to us with her roar of a new-born volcano.
We are the first to climb her tender flanks, to seat in the soft warm ash. «Wake-up, Marco!» - how is the ground vibrating! «Tom, do you feel it ?» «Here not» «Come here, here it vibrates like a cello» - like that house in Rugari. The day before, when we arrived in the village, the platoon of Congolese rangers was waiting to escort us with Kalashnikov and bayonets into this new adventure. There, a rhythmic deafening music is welcoming us. It seems like an entire village has closed itself inside a wood hut, where it is singing singing singing without end, exuberant rhythm of drums, voices of tens of children. Norbert is curious, approaches the house - «You cannot see inside», mystery, the harmonic house without windows is singing for us, is welcoming us, is suggesting us a way to enter into its world. Now in the camp on the slab of lava at dawn I listen to the same, never-ending rhythm in the song of invisible birds. Now, ditched in the warm ash of Kimanura I feel with my bottom the ground vibrating at that same rhythm. I find the link: will that vibrating house be still singing there ? Will it stop only when Kimanura stops ?
These three days given to us in this unlimited desert have passed away. We go back to our usual life. The fatigue of the race over lava blocks, mantled by a thick sponge of lichens, in the equatorial climate; the fatigue of never-ending tens of minutes on the smooth, ropy lavas suffocated by the luxuriant vegetation; the view of the women taking wood in the forest: all this makes me forget what I really am waiting for. But when Rugari suddenly appears far in the bush, in the silence of the forest, unexpected like dawn, miraculous in its non-human interminable essence, the music, that rhythmic, deafening global music rises above the woods. The vibrating house is still there. It will sing forever.