Kings Team Rwanda – Thursday 5th July – Mountain Gorillas
Written by Jane Hawkes
Wow, oh wow, oh wow! We’ve been to see the Mountain Gorillas!
After 2 rewarding days delivering ECT and ICT training in Musanze diocese, there was a real feeling of ‘being on holiday’ wafting through the Kings team today (even though the 5am wake up call might have taken the edge off that for some!).
Land Rovers. Hot Rwanda tea. A display of engaging and African dancing. The adventure had begun! Many of us made good use of the offered African style walking sticks and those of us who hired a local porter (such gentlemen) had no regrets. They certainly made the 1000+ metre climb up (and down) the mountain much less taxing!
It was probably a relief to most when a machete carrying park ranger, under the direction of our guide, led us off the main track into the depths of the undergrowth, but nothing could have prepared us for the magic of our first glimpse of a gorilla family! Each group had different tales to tell of their gorilla experiences but all were enchanted by the nestling family groups. Huge protective Silverback males, nurturing, nit picking, baby feeding females and curious, tumbling, spiked haired infants. Gorillas at play doing family life together only metres from where we stood, cameras poised and at the ready. We returned with hundreds of photos and several video clips between us. Evidence to share with each other of our individual experiences – rolling gorillas, loping gorillas, climbing gorillas and even mating gorillas! There was even a friendly gorilla that took ashine to Dr Tim’s ankle until a well aimed gumboot belonging to our guide broke the relationship! Huge human like hands and feet, penetrating eyes, large rubbery faces and glossy fur coats. Just amazing!
How blessed we are to have spent our final day together in a Bucket List location, enjoying magnificent views over the volcanic cones and the privilege of being that close to one of the most fascinating creatures in God’s creation!
We capped off the day with a generous and hospitable meal with Bishop Laurent and Chantal, who shared the history of the establishment of their ministry with New Hope Homes and thanked us for sharing our time, professional knowledge and resource or as another minister expressed it, ‘our treasure’.. But as we always have expected we have gained so much more than we have given and will always treasure our Rwandan experiences that have changed us in so many ways.