We woke up in Cyangugu at 5am. Time to trek chimpanzees. I have a fear of monkeys so I was terrified. I was put in a trekking group with three other from our group (they had enough excitement for all of us), and we had a few people from Sweden and France. Our guide, Claude, was absolutely amazing. I stayed by his side and he held my hand for most of the trip because I was so scared.
Chimpanzees are huge and scary looking. The mountain monkeys we also saw (much too close for my comfort) are smaller, but still look like they can eat you.
I can live a satisfied life even if I never see a monkey again.
After we trekked, we had breakfast, and my group (the first to leave and get back) walked down the road. We saw bricks being made, a group practicing traditional dance, and some cute little kids who were eating fruits.
We departed for Huye once the whole group was together (more hills), and visited the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda in Huye (Butare). It was very interesting to see the history of the people, and to read of and see pictures of the effects of colonization.
We took a group photo and as we were walking back to the bus there appeared a whole group of.....MONKEYS. Thankfully my roommate Tierra (my personal hero) chased them away so I could run with her to the bus.
We arrived very late into Kigali. My stomach wasn't feeling too good so I stayed back at St. Paul and didn't go to dinner.
I am honored to have been given this opportunity to go to Rwanda and look forward to growing from this experience, both professionally and personally. The Great Lakes region in Africa is of great interest to me, especially as a resident of the Great Lakes region in the United States. I currently work as a refugee resettlement case worker at a local agency in Buffalo. Conflict resolution and community building are two topics that are crucial in my work, and I am eager to both share my stories on those subjects and learn from the stories of others. Ultimately, through our collective stories, I hope to witness and engage in the solidarity that has developed in Rwanda since the mid-nineties. My hope is to bring that knowledge back to my work in Buffalo. The lessons learned can then be put into action by aiding in the development of programs that will have a positive effect on the families and communities that I serve.