Monday, 2 August 2010

Meet the Team # 2: Corporate Retreat at Lake Kivu

BBOXX is a hard-working team. But after a busy last week, with the company successfully registered in Rwanda, and with our shipment of parts finally delivered (Friday night at 10 PM) after several hours spent waiting at customs, we decided it was time for a break. 
And besides, what better way to launch our blog than with pictures of the BBOXX team at its most happy and relaxed, amidst Lake Kivu's gorgeous sceneries? 

On Saturday morning at 9 all five of us crammed into the company car, and set off to the West, towards Kibuye, one of the two main towns on Lake Kivu's long Rwandan shore. The first question on everyone's mind: would the car - a 1994 Rav4, which you could easily mistake for a large, moving piece of scrap metal - make it to Kibuye, and back? 
After a few minor scares, involving reckless overtaking, getting lost, unnatural noises from the wheels and motor, and randomly blinking indicators, we are happy to say that we did indeed make it safely to the lake and back. 
The Team Arrives in Kibuye: From Left to Right, Fabien, Laurent, Mansoor and Chris

Lake Kivu is, as Mansoor poetically put it, "Heaven on Earth": at more than 1400 meters of altitude, it is a seemingly endless stretch of water, lined on each side by rust-colored hills, all the way to an empty horizon over which lies the Democratic Republic of Congo. The charming hotel in which we spent the night offered an unbeatable view of the lake and of the dozens of islands - sharp outbursts of rocky land - scattered over what we could see of the water.

Our two days of freedom were spent traveling (very, very slowly) by boat from one island to the next, diving from time to time in the lake's deep and clear water, and enjoying Kibuye's local specialties. The tilapia fish from the lake, for example, was judged delicious by those of us who are not vegetarians. 

From Right to Left: William, Laurent, Mansoor, Chris and Fabien

 Lazy Boat Ride

Fishing Boats Resting Before Nightfall
There was some debate amongst the team, however, over the weekend's highlight. For William, Laurent and Fabien, Napoleon Island - also known as "Bat Island" - was without a doubt a summit of excitement: after a steep, slippery climb, the view from the top of the island was breathtaking, and the way down, through clouds of screeching fruit bats, was memorable. 

For Mansoor and Chris, who had already experienced Bat Island on a previous expedition, Peace Island's quiet beach bar and lovely lagoon beat everything else on Lake Kivu. It is difficult to disagree... 

 Enjoying the Sunset on Peace Island

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