As noted before, the security situation in Bukavu itself is relatively good. The International Rescue Committee, however, does not take risks.
Going to work.
Simon and I each have a strong, two-way radio, which we should always carry with us. In the morning we call the radio room (that is we ask for “ROMEO Base” on Channel 1; ROMEO is the codeword for "r"). We ask a car for "12.5" and "12.8" for "GOLF 5". In normal words, "GOLF 5" - GOLF is the codeword for "g" - is gate 5; the gate that leads to our house. "12.5" and "12.8" are respectivelly the code letters for Simon and me, but we are better known as "les deux visiteurs". Anyhow, we call a car and a 4x4 is dispatched from the base. That is, the car leaves the base and calls the radio room that he is leaving "GOLF 6" (the main gate leading to the base) and that he is heading towards GOLF 5. Less than 8 minutes later the car is in front of our gate and calls the security officer that guards GOLF 5. The gate opens, we get in the car, and the car calls the radio room that he is leaving GOLF 5 with 12.5 and 12.8. A minute before the car arrives at the base, the car calls GOLF 6 and the gate is opened. Once we are in, GOLF 6 calls ROMEO base that 12.5 and 12.8 have arrived.
Going for a swim.
The ritual is conducted when we go for lunch at home in the afternoon, when we go back home in the evening, and even when we go for a short walk. For example. About hundred meters away from our house there is this place called “the Orchid”. The Orchid - not Dharma-initiative for the Lost-watchers - is a gorgeous restaurant with an amazing view and a great place to go for a swim in Lake Kivu (see pictures in the previous post). It is one of those real expat-places; actually quite horrible knowing the state this country is in. Anyhow, on a Saturday afternoon, when the sun shines, we like to walk there. There we go: We first tell the security guard where we are going. He calls the radio room and says that 12.5 and 12.6 leave GOLF 5 to the Orchid. Then when we arrive we call ROMEO base telling that we arrived safely. And we go through the same again when we leave the Orchid to go back home. Stupid radios.