COLOURFUL AFRICA

IMG_2992I want to share my memories from my seventh trip to Africa. People are often making assumptions that Africa is a very dangerous, poor and unsafe place. Also, many people still think that Africa is like a one solid country but it is a continent which contains a 54 independent countries. It is a home to more than a billion people, there are many different peoples and tribes  who speak in different languages, has  different religions and their traditions are  very unique. Even the landscape changes from orange Namibian desert to rainforest and powerful waterfall. Serrated mountain peaks with snow caps and glaciers to the volcano with the lava lake on  the top of the volcano Erta Ale and colorful Danakil crater. There are about 2000 languages in Africa. They even have a monument for the African languages. African continent is so big it could fit United States, India, China and part of Europe.

I often ask myself: why Africa is so attractive to me. And I immediately answer: It is hard to describe the beauty of the landscape, wildlife and unlimited freedom. In Africa you don’t feel an age or nationality differences, you just become the part of it the way you were born. It is hard to describe Africa in words: It is so colourful, loud and melodious, it overwhelms all possible senses, because in every step you feel something unusual, unexpected, unimaginable. Everything that you already had read in books looks far from the real emotions you experience being there. No school is able to teach you the lesson of Africa.  Seems like all the crisis in the world – the accumulation of poverty, inequality, and spirituality in the minds of people is intrinsically understandable thing  and  is intended for higher powers and requires  to live in order to survive. The people of Africa are very poor but calmly equalizes with the rest of the world having so much._DSC7647

I used to travel to Africa on my own (accompanying local travel agencies), with friends or through Lithuanian travel agencies.Travel in a group is also  interesting but the next trip I would  prefer to travel alone  or with a smaller number of companions, accompanying by local travel agency.  This time our final destination was Central African states Uganda and Rwanda.27750154_1805713142773747_6353716363818702943_n

_DSC8066Equator passing through Uganda, divides our world into northern and southern hemisphere, where the sun descends perpendicularly to the horizon and equals day to night. Uganda is one of the three African countries surrounding Lake Victoria, the  largest  one in the  continent of Africa,  which I have already seen when  traveled across Kenya and Tanzania. _DSC7837 Our goal was to visit  the Murchison Falls in Uganda – (also known as Kabalegos or Kabaregos waterfall).Murchison  falls -  unique decoration of Nile.

_DSC7853 Waterfall was named after England's Royal  Geographer Society president Roderick  Murchison. This amazing place of nature discovered by Nile explorer Samuel White Baker about  in 1860’s. This waterfall can be seen from a ship sailing through the Nile River. On the shores you can also find hippopotamus, crocodiles and buffalos. We have finally heard  the roaring sound of water and only later saw  the   sparkling  water    falling from the  rocks. It is necessary to get off from the ship and walk up to the top of the hill, to see how the wide  river narrows up to  7 meters and powerful stream of water falling down from the gorge 49 meters height. People saying that sometimes you feel like the earth tremble under your  feet.IMG_2579 We did not feel that but we got the chance to see the wonderful rainbow.  Wildlife in Uganda is protected from extinction. There was a times when reckless were  killed rhinos, gorillas, elephants. In order to save, endangered populations of animals are established to some kind of shelters where they being observed, maintained or treated if necessary. _DSC7984

_DSC7677We walked around rhinoceros "shelter" at Ziva Rhino Reserve, which is currently home to more than a dozen of these huge animals.  Kibale National Park  takes place   and breeds around 13 species of monkeys. At   the park you can find about 70 species of mammals, a multitude different sizes and colours of butterflies and birds. It looks like a natural nature created book, full of differen  colours, vibrant,  surrounded by a variety of sounds. It is difficult to imagine the kingdom of birds at  Magombė swamps Any artist would fail to _DSC8070repeat them natural colour schemes which decorates the nature of his works.

IMG_2720We  moved towards the Rwanda – Congo – Uganda  tropical forests through dry savannah. Here, in this triangle, in  altitude of 1200-2700 meters  of Bwindi impenetrable thick  rainforest are   home to more than half of the world's mountain gorillas, whose life you watch  in their natural environment. Bwindi National Park primeval forest is strongly protected from any human activity in it. Especially Bwindy  impenetrable forest-residential for gorillas, the largest primates are the closest to humans in their appearance and their natural  behavior. Gorillas watching trip  takes about one hour and no more than  8 people can be in a group, you are not allowed to use a flash while making the pictures. Our guides were going first and ‘reaped’ the way using machetes so then we could get through the thorny bushes. We were ‘skiing’ by the gorilla’s nests, trying to find any hole to take a picture. In 1994   national park listed as a UNESCO world heritage as an important habitat of rare species. In the village IMG_2586near the park,IMG_2757 Batva pigmy tribes are living. These people lived in the forests, now expelled from the forest, but  still retains the old traditions and tribal way of life. We  were met  with drums and dances, local peoples  kindly showed their simple way of life._DSC8385

_DSC8366We also  visited  poor rural school  which is lacking books, pencils and also –  teachers. Only thing is not lacking : they’ve enough is a desire to teach. The children understands  that education is the only way from poverty. In our world, schools are open to everyone. We understand that education is our right, not the privilege. In Africa, most of the children don’t even have the opportunity to attend the school for any  reasons: as no money for tuition,  no time to attend school because kids has to work in their parents farm and schools are far  from residential areas. It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century you can still find the children who are not able to attend school. Those happy kids who go to school still have to do some farm work as bringing a tank of water home after classes because  only the school has water-bore._DSC7965_DSC7901

RWANDA

P1080814Clearing out the small border formalities we   found ourselves in the Thousand Hills Land – Rwanda. It is a very small state, three times smaller  than Lithuania, but population of people is three times bigger. Rwanda is considered to be the most densely populated state  in Africa – 1 sq. kilometer is home to about 230 people. Rwanda is  surrounded  by jagged Virunga mountain range. The glacier  on the top of the mountains fills the Nile basin with water. At the dormant   volcanic foothills lies the beautiful shaped lakes. Because of the  very steep shores, lakes in Rwanda has  no hippopotamus or crocodiles, people there do fishing, coasts equipped loggia with beautiful beaches and recreational areas. It is  the real kingdom of birds. In dense tropical forests of Virunga mountain, American scientist and researcher of gorillas D.Fossey lived here for 18 years. In almost 3 km altitude she build the house herself, laboratories and health shelter for gorillas. She changed her comfortable life in America to extreme living conditions in the jungle just for the love of these endangered primates

   IMG_2849 D. FossIMG_2850ey perseverance and determination helped keep  gorillas  from  poachers who were killing them. Due to important discoveries and researches about the primate species D. Fossey has  became  one of the most famous zoologist in the world. Unfortunately  in 1965 she was found murdered in her hut. There is a documentary film about this strong woman called – "Gorillas in the Mist."IMG_2832

It has became a real challenge for us to climb to  the  D. Fossey   remnants of the settlements and the tomb. We had to climb 3 km up to the steep slope. It was very slippery as well.IMG_2860

IMG_2804 We

 

climbed  via primeval tropical forest-covered mountain, which has  never saw  the sun, the earth slush, long spines bushes tore the hands,  high grass burned our hands. However, we achieved  the difficult  aim. D.Fossey must to be a very strong woman, she had to climb that slope far more times than we did. By the way, the descent was even heavier than climbing  up- we slid, our feet caught on the stones, we kept slipping and falling into the mud.   D.Fossey long and persistent work gave a visible results –  reduced  level of poaching and preserve the mountain gorilla species.

IMG_2948In 1994,  Rwanda survived painful genocide.  In just over 100 days, Hutu tribe extremists killed 800  thousand  Tutsi people,  as well as political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin. Today Rwanda is trying to forget this horrific period of  history.  Now it is forbidden to talk about ethnicity. We visited the Genocide Museum in Kigali. We saw the pictures –   innocent victims  of  meaningless murder. There we  have  understood  how unsettled, incomprehensible and inexplicable is the human life. When you talk with Rwandans, you can feel that they are aware of their gruesome history, but ready to  create  a pleasant future. 

_DSC0117Since 1978, Lithuanian missionary Hermann Schulz lives in Rwanda. He  established  an orphans caring homes, schools and houses for villagers to live. He  is  the Father and Mother for orphanage children, the priest takes care of genocide victims._DSC8581  We visited  the  Father’s Herman’s camp. We had a pleasure to meet this extraordinary Man. We all dropped the mask which was hiding our  hearts  We communicated with our hearts instead using the words. But I have a separate story  about  the Father Herman.

Our trip has ended and I started dreaming again about the new trips. We are forever passengers in our life, everything is changeable and incomprehensible but one thing always stays the same – life always has an interesting plan for us.  I believe that there is more of Africa in my plan because, I’m sure, this mysterious continent has an endless amount of adventures ready for me.

Leonarda Sarakauskiee

info@sarakauskiene.lt

The pictures below:

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