The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love...Kenya

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Gorillas And The Misty

Rwanda...Awesome!  OK, here is a jumble of thoughts about how great Rwanda is: indescribably beautiful, roller coaster hills, roads so good they make you cry, cheese cheese and more cheese that is delightful, affordable safe and enjoyable local transport, unbelievably stunning women, fabrics to die for, killer lollipops, and super nice folks.  It was a great time and despite some last minute disappointments (I'll miss you Mr. $200, but I hope we will meet again, and the sketch bastard who took you I hope he likes that $200, cuz I sure could have used it myself). 
So, our trip began with a somber dip into the recent past.  We visited a few of the genocide memorials and the genocide museum.  I have been a little consumed with the subject since I joined Peace Corps.  I've read probably 7 or 8 books on the subject, including Romeo Dalliar's "Shake Hands With The Devil".  He was the UN Force Commander and his book has the best logistical and outsider observations.  It is hard to wrap my head around.  The first memorial we went to was a church where 5000 men, women and children who had sought refuge on holy ground were slaughtered in a matter of hours.  Being there and seeing the remains of horror has shaken my faith in human kind.  The genocide museum is an amazing testament to truth.  It was an amazing and difficult experience that I am happy was balanced by roving the countryside and seeing what Rwanda is like today.
Yes, I am now undertaking a campaign to have a baby gorilla named Misty.  They have a naming ceremony in June and I can think of no better name.  Seriously, it is misty as hell in the Volcanoes National Park (hence, the name of the movie and the book, "Gorillas in the Mist").  It was an amazing experience.  Me and my three great pals Devin, Meg and Kirsten got to hang with the Hirwa (Lucky) group for an hour.  It is a group of 10: 1 silver back, 1 black back, 4 adult females and 4 babies (1 under 9 months!).  This was a great group to see, and they weren't even noticing us, until that is, the silver back CHARGED us full on.  Our instructions were "DON'T RUN" and to look down.  What did we do, what any natural human would do, turn and try to run.  But, when you are in a far corner of the jungle, off trail completely, THERE IS NO PLACE TO RUN.  He was just playing with us, but I tell you what, it seemed real enough.  I hope to have pictures up in the next week or two, so go over to Flickr and you can see them.  I'll let you know when they are up.
Overall we agree that maybe Peace Corps Rwanda (which was there until like 1993 I think) would have been a great experience (though I still love Kenya kabisa!).  It is truly the land of a 1000 hills, each of them more beautiful than the last.  It was a great week and I plan to return sometime soon.  The bus ride was long, but because the roads of Uganda and Rwanda are not nearly as disastrous as Kenya, not as bone crushingly awful as a trip from one part of Kenya to the other.  Considering that both countries are poorer than Kenya, it makes you understand how pervasive money mismanagement really is.


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