The rain and the gorillas

Bwindi brings rain. It brings gorillas but it also brings rain. Almost every day it rains here. Sometimes twice a day. Some of the rain is light sprinkles, or rock sized drops. Sometimes the thunder and lightening is so loud that you cant hear anything else. And you can even see the lightening bolts sometimes. It makes me think about when I was younger sitting on the porch at grandmas house with grandpa during a thunderstorm. We would watch for lightening and count how far away it is while grandma brought us cookies. The rain here is not like Ireland. It is very unpredictable. You can see the clouds coming over the mountain tops but sometimes it doesnt rain. The color of the clouds could be so light but then its a thunderstorm, or so dark and only a little sprinkling happens. But it usually rains. At first I didnt mind the rain because its the forest that brings the rain. And the forest brings the gorillas. Because of the rain, they have lush plants everywhere, and rich soil for crops like casava, irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, green beans, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, tea, coffee, maize, and more. But when it rains so much, there isnt enough sun to charge the solar panels and I cant do work. I have started meeting new people in town because of the energy deficiency. And we sit around and play cards, or talk, or play pool. Of course I still am working but its nice to meet more people other than the staff. What do they always ask? Are you married? Do you have children? I politely answer no, and no. I have a boyfriend but in my culture I dont have to be married yet. There are more younger people who are not married these days then 10 years ago. But there is still a big issue with young weddings, and lots of babies. The culture here is you are not a man unless you have many children. And the wife has no choice. Even today, a 24 year old boy told me he wanted a girl friend to have someone to take care of him, and to have a baby. He said he wants to move away from his parents. Even if the boy has a job, he usually stays with his parents. Its very different here, needless to say. I am lucky that I am allowed to have a boyfriend, and not be married or have children at my age. I am lucky that I can live in an apartment without parents or a man.

Back to the rain. I went tracking gorillas on Wednesday morning for my research. These gorillas are very close by so it wasnt hard to reach them. In fact, you could hear them outside of the park. But it was raining a steady medium rain and I was pretty soaked before I even got to them. I went with the advance team to find them, and then find the night nest. How do you find gorillas? Well they usually dont go to far from where they were the night before, and years of experience told our tracker that they were close by. The plants are pushed down, and some branches are usually pulled down and absent of leaves since the gorillas just pluck the leaves off. You can hear them in the trees above sometimes. Gorillas also have a distinctive smell that they leave behind on their trails. Its not very nice… but its very strong to follow. Once you find the gorillas, you can find the nest by backtracking. The gorillas are not gentle to the plants. They flatten whole trailes 4ft wide sometimes and its easy to follow. So I am telling you this story because I tracked the gorillas, and what I found was two sad gorillas in the rain. Apparently gorillas dont like the rain!!! They sit their with their arms crossed, and head down. I felt their pain. Thats also why the pictures are so blurry because you cant use a flash and the rain was distorting the motion. So on any given day it could be raining in Bwindi and you might only find sad gorillas. But to me they are still gorillas. I will go back and see them every wednesday until I leave now to collect samples. I am very happy about that. There are over 10 gorilla groups, and the main picture is their locations. I am at Buhoma, with Rushegura, and Mubare. My other group that I get samples from is in Ruhija, called Kyagurilo.

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One thought on “The rain and the gorillas

  1. I like the map. Is there any concerns about the national park not being big enough as the population increases? Maybe I should first ask is the population increasing? Or is disease and poachers offsetting the increase from new births? Tell us bit more about the history of the gorilla conservation project and how successful the efforts are in a future blog ?


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