Out of Rukungiri and Into the Forest

Morning of Sunday, July 8th

We departed from Rukungiri early yesterday morning, and said our final good byes and thank yous to the wonderful staff at Jim’s house, who had made our stay very comfortable. They were also a major part of our final dinner with our homestay families the night before; they had spent the whole day cooking delicious food and setting up to ensure that the dinner was a success. I really appreciate what they’ve done for us, including putting up with the messes we made around the house.

After a long, bumpy three hour drive we arrived at our next destination: chimpanzee tracking. Most of us weren’t optimistic about our chances of sighting some monkeys, but our walk turned out great. We did have to earn it though.  We had barely any time to stretch our legs before starting a steep, downhill path into a forest. About twenty minutes into our walk we saw a giant chimpanzee, and everybody got pumped. It was about thirty yards away, and once we stepped closer it swung off deeper into the forest. Within the next hour and half we saw black and white monkeys. But for the following two and a half hours, we trudged through the forest, over many hills and through many creeks which pulled some spirits down. Finally, after meeting up with the other half of our group, we emerged into a tea field which led us to the highway. From there we made it back to our starting point feeling dead tired. After thanking our guides, we set off to the Simba Hostel.

When we arrived, it was already pretty late. The other hostel residents were milling about speaking in funny accents and a few even said “hi”. After showers and a late supper we had our daily meeting, during which the host dinner was discussed. Everyone agreed that it went swimmingly as well as the farewell assembly at school. Before bed we actually encountered another new culture: Welsh. Our next door neighbors were also here to work with a school. We talked and learned about each other’s countries before going to bed. Three days left before we’re back in the States.

–          Jacob

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