Saturday, July 25, 2009


I’ve been enjoying a great holiday! We have a three week break between the first and second terms and I’m making the most of it.

The term ended well. The students did relatively well on their exams, and grading papers didn’t drive me completely insane. I finished up early and headed for Kigali for a couples days of relaxing before Dad and Sara came. Their plane arrived at 2:00 am, but I met them at the airport anyway (the coffee shop was still open!) and had a great week!

The gorillas were amazing! It was an hour hike up the mountain, which would have been fun in of itself, but to see those creatures, and to be in the middle of their family was fantastic. The guides told us we were close and I looked up and saw a small gorilla sitting in a tree watching us. We then entered a small clearing and found the second in command silverback. The guides spoke to it in grunts to let it know that we were not a threat and it allowed us to stay. You could see them staring at us and you could see their intelligence in their eyes. They evaluated our presence and decided we weren’t a threat. We had an hour with them and we got so close! There was a young one that was totally hamming it up for the cameras, climbing on the silverback’s back and running by us. We got some amazing photos, a few of which are up know, and hopefully more will follow. It was an experience that I’m so glad I was able to have. Unfortunately these majestic creatures might not be around much longer.

Later we went to Akagera National Park, which was also great, except for the tsetse flies. We got really close to some giraffes, monkeys and buffalo, and saw all sorts of other animals as well. Still didn’t see the elephant though.

Nyakarambi was next, where we went to the falls (my 5th time), toured my school, bought some cow dung art and chilled at home. Had some bad experiences with restaurants (like how the entire town of Rusumo was out of food on a Tuesday afternoon) but overall it was fun! Pretty sure Dad and Sara enjoyed it, but I was very glad to show off my town and school and give them a taste of my everyday life.

We returned to Kigali for the last couple of days, went to the memorial and the Natural History Museum (which was interesting as we had to interpret the exhibits which were in a mix of English, French, Kinyarwanda, Latin and German). It was sad to see them off at the airport, but I had a great week!

Now I’m truly on vacation. Shepherding a couple of tourists around is tiring (no offensive guys) so I’ve been taking it easy the last couple days. I went up to Musanze to visit a friend and went spelunking (which is almost as fun as saying the word spelunking) and narrowly avoided getting guanoed on. I had some delicious burritos to celebrate St Burrito Day, and have been spending a lot of time in coffee shops. Tomorrow I’m heading down south to do who knows what. Plans are for the weak…


Camber Carpenter said...

Andy, you're in with the gorillas. Few have achieved this.

I agree with Mrs. Caitlin's mom Deidre--your life is art. Thanks for putting some of it on exhibit. I'm a loyal patron of your work.

Is it too late to send you books for the library?
I've finally finished reading some...

Deirdre said...

Camber and I are in agreement. Caitlin? Care to comment so Andy can be three for three?

Great posts Andy. You are an excellent writer. I love ready your bloggishness.