We arrived in Kigali at 6:00 AM Monday and promptly met our guide/driver, Francis, who took us to the Serena Hotel. Popped a half of an Ambien and slept for five hours. Today was a travel/recovery day. No plans except to sit by the pool, eat, and slug. Rwanda (Africa in general) is a modest country. I brought my bikini (no I am not attaching a link) and decided I needed to wear yoga pants AND my cover up to get to the pool. Well...as I was pulling off my yoga pants, I also pulled down my bikini bottom, giving the guy cleaning the pool and two lovely couples eating lunch my biggest, whitest vertical smile. Always fun!
|View of Kigali from the Kigali Genocide Museum|
I can not talk about Rwanda without discussing the genocide.
In 100 days, more than 1,000,000 people were murdered.
But the genocidaires did not kill a million people. They killed one, then another, then another...... day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute. Every minute of the day,
someone, somewhere, was being murdered, screaming for mercy.
And receiving none.
By the end of the genocide, 85% of the Tutsi population had been murdered.
I absolutely loved Rwanda. The people, the country, the gorillas were all beautiful. It is the cleanest country I have ever been to...No Trash. There is a 40% unemployment rate. However, this includes all farmers and families that support themselves. No government hand outs here. Minimal crime. No corrupt police. No beggars, no starving children. National clean up day once a week for trash. Three kids max then you have to pay a tax (hmm). These people work. I will no longer complain about going to the grocery store.
The farmers walk up to 5 miles one way to the market carrying 100lb bags of potatoes. Some even have two bags on a bike with two men pushing. They sell their produce, buy what they need, and then travel 5 miles back home. One way will be downhill, the other uphill.
There are people everywhere. Nonstop.
I do not take pictures of people without their permission so the previous pictures were all from various sources.
On Tuesday, we travelled three hours from Kigali to our "camp" Volcanoes Virunga Safari Lodge.
|One of seven volcanoes we could see from the lodge|
|View from our room|
|Yes, he was able to get out|
In the afternoon, all but my mother (very tired) decided to visit the school in the village that Volcanoes supports. The government will pay for the children to attend school through sixth grade. English is the language in which everything is taught. All the children wanted to talk to us.
|All the girls are in blue, boys in khaki. They are required to keep their heads shaved.|
|This little girl stayed with me from the moment I entered the village. I was afraid she would follow me back to the Lodge. When we came to the trail to head back, she let go of my hand and said goodbye.|
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this. I must admit, I kept waiting for them to ask for money. They never did. Because of the number of children, one group goes in the morning and the rest go in the afternoon.
That evening the Lodge had a special presentation for us.
|They invited us to dance at the end. There is my backside.|
|My father...always a ladies man.|
The day ended with a special guests from Gorilla Doctors.
Gorilla Doctors is dedicated to saving the mountain gorilla species one gorilla patient at a time. Our international veterinarian team provides hands-on medical care to sick and injured mountain gorillas living in the national parks of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world today, the health and well being of every individual gorilla is vital to the species’ survival.
What a great way to start our tour. Wednesday it is finally time to track the gorillas!