Life in Uganda and Rwanda

I just realized I never published this last group of photos.. better late than never, I guess.

The following photos are what I managed to capture with my little point and shoot.  Pictures of people, mostly children, villages and towns and life in them.  These first photos are in Kampala, Uganda where we began our journey.

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In all of the large cities I have seen in Africa there is always in some state of building, or tearing down buildings, homes in the middle of everything, some fairly well made all the way to mere shacks. 

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Guy selling sugar cane.

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This is a police station… really.

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You name it, people were selling it.

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Bicycles are used for everything besides just personal transportation.  They were used as taxis and to transport loads far too heavy to carry.  They were usually walked under the kind of load they might be carrying.  Bicycles were far more common for moving goods than carts.

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On the road to Kibale Forest National Park.

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We stopped at this market for fruit.  It was all so good!  My favorites were the little bananas and the avocados.

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This thing is gigantic!  I forget what it’s called.

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These teenagers were eager to talk to us.  I really enjoyed having so much access to the people of these two countries.

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More of the cattle with those giant horns!IMG_0138IMG_0141IMG_0148

My new friends bought pencils and paper to give the children whenever we stopped.  As children do in most third world countries, they always ask for money from tourists.  But this unexpected gift from some of those tourists was well received.

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Banana trees!

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Nice little town we stopped in..

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This is a VERY upscale version of the pit toilets that were pretty much the usual except at the camps and lodges we stayed.  In Kenya, I only encountered one of those the day I was out to see the orphan elephants at DSWT.

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The equator!  How cool is this!?!?

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There is so much color in these towns.

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The yellow containers were everywhere.  They carried their water in them.

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Long dirt roads that soon began to climb.

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These are Batwa (pygmies).  They were brought up to the lodge to perform some of their dances.  I had mixed feelings about this.  They waited and waited for us and it was quite cool and damp.  I suppose they are used to that actually.  And I know this is done to raise awareness of their situation, but still I felt somewhat uncomfortable sitting there while they performed.  Nevertheless,  the little guy in the long t shirt stole the show!

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The first gorilla hike… shrouded in mist… and plenty of rain.

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One of the trackers hacking away vines as we approached the gorillas.

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Very wet and very soggy.

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As you can see, I finally took off my glasses.  I could see better without them than I could with all the water and mist they collected.

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This is our group of trackers rangers and porters.  By this time, not even my little camera escaped the water.

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Just to show you how big some things grow in these forests!

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On to Rwanda.  I wish I could have taken pictures at the border crossing…. bad idea.  Besides having to go from building to building, we were entertained by a truck with a HUGE pile of mattresses.  Clearly, they were foam because they were stomping on them and folding them trying to get them back into the truck.

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We stopped at a restaurant on our way.  Great food and awesome masks.  Several of us walked out with a slightly heavier load.  But this contraption in the yard…. I took a picture of it because in one of the towns I saw young men riding them down the streets.  It was amazing to watch.

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Volcanoes National Park

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Every morning before the gorilla treks, everyone gathered here while the different treks were negotiated.  Meanwhile, there was a group of dancers that were there every morning.  All the dances had meaning and they provided explanations for all of them.

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Obviously, they were quite athletic.

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This was a large group of people all working together to till this field.

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This hike had us walking a fair distance through fields being prepared for planting and others with potatoes growing.. lots and lots of potatoes.

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You know when you hit the park boundary because it suddenly turns to dense forest… in this case, bamboo.

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The kids loved being in the middle of everything.

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This is the stone wall that indicates the park boundary.  It works fairly well at keeping the correct animals out and in.

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One of the trackers was sure that I’d want a picture of myself with a gorilla.  So I let him.  This is the little guy that was showing off for us while hanging from the vine AND then tried to approach me and touch my camera.

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Leaving after last hike..

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Beautiful climb to the lodge and the cabins, but when I looked at those after our day with the Suva group, that was the LAST thing I wanted to do.

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Everywhere in Rwanda there were people on the roads.  Everywhere.

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Kigali, Rwanda, our last stop as a group.

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This is the entrance to the genocide museum in Kigali.   All over the countryside, there are memorials, reminding people to never forget.  There are gardens everywhere within this memorial that are dedicated to those who died in the genocide.  Inside the museam itself, is room after room describing how the division between the Hutu’s and Tutsi’s began…unfortunately, by those who colonized the country.  The very last room pays homage to all the peoples that have died in genocidal wars over the last century.  When put in that context, the feeling of despair was overwhelming.  Do we ever learn…….?

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What was left of our group had lunch at the hotel where the incidents of the movie "Hotel Rwanda” actually took place (not the filming of the movie).IMG_0469IMG_0471

These motorcycles were the most common form of taxi service in the city.  And I actually rode one!  I’ve ridden plenty of motorcycles in my lifetime, but this was the most nerve wracking of all.  Still it was fun.

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On the way to Akagera National Park.  I’ve realized that as much as I thought I was tired of all the driving, I never would have experienced what these countries really feel like.

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Although you can really see it, this is a well.  People walk with their water jugs to these and pump water.

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Bicycles still providing one of their many services…IMG_0599

This is pretty much bus service in what I think is probably true in most cities in Africa.  I saw them in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Kampala and Kigali.  They were always crammed with people but most weren’t decorated so colorfully.

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Lunch with Stephen, Sula, and the ranger (whose name I have forgotten.. although I promised myself I wouldn’t!) at Akagera.

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Now this really is the end.  And I want to thank Stephen for putting together such a complicated trip (at least it seemed that way to me) and also Sula and Fred who drove us all the way.  They were patient, knowledgeable and quite entertaining.

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One thought on “Life in Uganda and Rwanda

  1. Wow, what a collection. You must have been snapping continuously. The fruit you are unsure of the name is Jack Fruit, not a very nice taste in my opinion.
    How neat that one of your new friends thought to take a photo of you with the young gorilla, I wish someone had done that for me.
    I cannot agree more, Rwanda and Uganda are very colourful countries and so green. Did you notice how much cleaner Rwanda is? We were told that Rwanda has 53 woman in parliament and also a woman running the country. I haven’t been able to confirm that yet but whoever is running the country is doing a great job.
    I like that the people of Rwanda are all Rwandans now, not divided into Hutus and Tutsis. The Genocide Musuem is certainly an eye opener. I talked with our guide who is Ugandan and living in Uganda at the time of the genocide. He was saying they heard about what was happening but they didn’t think it was as bad as what it was until they started finding bodies in the river that had washed down from Rwanda.

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