G Day

Trip Start Mar 20, 2012
1
12
30
Trip End Oct 16, 2013


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Flag of Rwanda  ,
Sunday, May 6, 2012

We said goodbye to Uganda and with a $30 visa along with a swerve to the otherside of the road we entered Rwanda.  Rwanda is known as 'land of a thousand hills' and there are hill as far as the eye can see which isn't very far because there are hills in the way.  There is a massive improvment in road quality compared to the pot hole striken roads of Uganda, but the flora and forna are very similar.Two hours were spent winding up and down the mountain roads waving to the smiling kids.  The kids in all the countries we have visited have 3 main things they scream out as you fly past.  'Mzungu' which means white person or traveller, 'how are you?' which is about as far as their english volcabulary goes other than 'give me money!' or 'give me sweets'  which makes you laugh.  If you do decide to throw sweets or even a plastic botle out to the kids, they turn into a swarm of locusts until someone emerges victorious with the goods.  Into Kigali we drove, the capital of Rwanda, where we headed to the genocide museum.In 1994 nearly 1 million people were murdered for being part of the tutsi people.  As well as this 2 million were made refugees as they fled to surrounding countries.  At the time the population was 7 million so was nearly halved.   When you enter the museum you get given an audio guide that you listen to as you wonder through the different rooms.  Its realy sad to see how something like this could happen especialy that it happened less than 20 years ago.  Its a super emotional experience as you see pictures and video of people being butchered with machetes.  One room has 2000 photos of victims of the genocide and its hard to belive that all these inocent faces that surround you are now dead.  Another room has clothes and belongings of victims and another has bones of people that were killed.  The section that gets to you the most is a part with beautiful pictures of young kids and babies and a description of their favorite music, food or hobbies and then how they were murdered.  Many of them were a similar age to me in 1994.  Outside is a garden with a mass grave for 25000 victims and a wall with all their names.  There are also rooms dedicated to other genocides that have happened in different countries over the years.  Its a realy well put together museum and memorial and a very moving place.To Ruhengeri we motored in anticipation of our gorilla treking adventure the following day.  We welcomed a break from the tents as we rested our heads and bodys in the dorm rooms.  Darkness still surrounded us as we rubbed our tired eyes and prepared ourselves for a 6.15am start.  A 4x4 bounced us along the road to the meeting point where we scoffed down sausage sandwiches we had prepared earlier.  Some natives in their cultural gear hit a drum or two, did some shuffling, well actualy some impressive traditional dancing and hair waving.  The do's and do not's were explained to us by our guide for the day and then we hit the road again.  40 minues followed as we manuvered our way along the dirt roads all the way up to 2500m above sea level.  Kids along this road don't only wave, but know how to do thumbs up too.  Through farm land we treked which was a bit of a climb as the top of the mountain, which is actually a volcano, got bigger.  An hour later and we were at the boarder of the volcanoes national park.  It was time to cover exposed arm and leg skin as stinging nettle is a very prodominant plant species in the jungle.  We couldn't go around it, had to go through it, squish squish squish went the mud as we followed a machete waving man infront of us chopping down any branch that dared to cross his path.  We marched in a line for about 20 minutes trying our best to avoid anything that looked like stinging nettle, but failing a couple times.  Our bags got left in a pile and we continued a little further into the vegetation and before we knew it a big, black, hairy gorilla was laying infront of us.  Our eyes lit up as her eyes checked us out and her belly moved slighty as she breathed in and out.  Its hard to explain the surreal feeling of having such a magnificent creature sitting in front of you.  A little further and we ran into the rest of the family of 12, a huge silverback sat with his arms crossed, while a super cute 7 month old did rolly pollys down the hill into his mother laying at the bottom.  The other young gorillas were pretending to be wrestlers as they played with each other.  The black apes were so close you could reach out and stroke them, but thats not allowed, although still really tempting.  Our camera clicked away and smiles reached from ear to ear as we watched their human like behaviour.  Before I knew it the fastest hour of my life had past and it was time to say goodbye.  As we went to leave so did the gorillas and we followed them back down the path for a bit before they wondered off into the dence wilderness.  Being with these beautiful animals for an hour was an amazing experience and definately a trip highlight.  Down, down, down we headed all still on a high from what we had seen.  Again we got into our ride and back down to the town we headed.  The other two groups from our trip were also just as sucessful on their treks.  We were treated to a local buffet to celebrate the days events, which was quite tasty.We got to sleep in the next day, get up to whatever tickled our fancy, which wasn't much at all as we were all a bit tired.  The days adventures included, fiddling on the internet while it worked, wondering into town for a look around and popping across the road to watch a bit of local football. Later we wraped up in blankets and fell asleep for the last time in Rwanda.  Another dark morning dawned on us as we had a long drive to Tanzania ahead of us.  This time we were all aboard the truck and off at 5am.
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