It is my first trip to Rwanda and although subsequent blog entries will go on to describe our work & that of our Local Partners, I’m eager to share my first impressions with you in the hope that you can get a flavour of the beautiful country we are working in.
Rwanda, or ‘the land of a thousand hills’ is stunningly beautiful. I was immediately struck by the colours Ã¢â¬â the fertile red brown soil against the green landscape comprising either succulent banana trees, tea plantations or as we drove further south, dense patches of entangled trees, the gateway to one Africa’s oldest rainforests. We enticed scuttling Colobus monkeys with bananas & managed to see their wizened old expressions close up. ‘Chirps’ and ‘hoots’ provided the soundtrack from further within the forest and whilst these exotic sounds echoed all around us, we were left wondering Ã¢â¬â and secretly hopingÃ¢â¬â that we are hearing the far off calls of a community of chimpanzees which roam around Nyungwe Forest .
All this against a backdrop of mountains, hazy from the sun, shapes forever changing and sometimes difficult to see where the mountains stop and the clouds begin. The landscape changes throughout the day. Hot sunny days settle into dusk and more often or not nightfall brings the most dramatic thunderstorms & heavy rain I have ever experienced. Closed windows cannot provide a barrier against the force and rain literally pours through every crack. We have been left with our very own small estuaries on each floor of the house we’re staying in but amazingly this dries by the following morning. I cannot believe I am actually here! The word ‘privileged’ repeatedly comes to mind and this sets the theme for the following days...