Friday, March 27, 2009

The Health Lesson and The Graduation

The past couple weeks have been pretty standard...pretty uneventful. My days are filled with language lessons, health tech sessions, and meetings about how to stay healthy and safe in our communities for the next two years. I have about three more weeks of training and then I begin my project in Rwamagana. I am very excited.

I have had some free time, but it has not been a lot lately. Though the last two weeks have been pretty tame, I have still been pretty busy. Yesterday, Thursday, myself and six of my fellow trainees visited an orphanage to conduct our first health Kinyarwanda. I had not visited this particular orphanage before. It was about an hour North of Butare; as always, the trip there and back was scenic.

(Pictured Above: A 'Muzungu' from America tries to speak Kinyarwanda to two and three-year olds. Also Pictured Above: Children laughing at the 'Muzungu' as he fumbles his Kinyarwanda.)

The seven of us arrived at about 10 am to begin our lessons; we were an hour late. This did not seem like it was too much of an issue to anyone because everyone knows how unreliable public transportation is in Rwanda. There are three main modes of public transport: 'imodoka' (small bus or car), 'imoto' (motorcycle...another word for motorcycle is 'ipikipiki'), or 'igare' (bike). The cars are really like very small busses...kind of like mini-vans, really. They pack these things FULL of people and do not leave until the car is COMPLETELY packed...sometimes this takes a while, at least that has been the case for every one of my experiences with an 'imodoka'; therefore, there is no bus schedule, really. This is the transportation I usually take for longer distances...for shorter distances, I do it the old fashion way and walk...walking is free, safe, and very healthy, so it wins.

Motorcycles are the quickest way to get around locally, I hear, but they are also the most dangerous. You wave an 'imoto taxi' to you, he gives you a helmut, and you jump on the back. (Special Note: Because riding motos is so dangerous, it is forbidden by Peace Corps to ride on one. I am not condoning this mode of transportation. Breaking Peace Corps policy, especially endangering yourself or others, is grounds for administrative seperation and, therefore, immediate termination of your Peace Corps service.)

Bikes are the same kind of concept as motorcycles, but you do not get a helmut and you travel slower. Therefore, they are generally used for shorter distances and are MUCH cheaper than riding a moto. Taking a bike looks like a pain for both the rider and 'pedal master', as I like to call him. Because Rwanda is so hilly, when you go up a hill, both the rider and the 'pedal master' get off and walk. Bikes and Motos are good to get to the hard to reach areas, I am told. The cars and busses drive on the main, paved roads only and the bikes and motos travel on both paved and unpaved (off-roading) roads. The government is trying to keep bikes and motos off of the main, paved roads because it is unsafe.

Anywaaaaaaaaaay, we had been preparing all week for these health lessons. We had three trainers with us; we were being graded on our language and presentation skills. The seven of us decided earlier in the week that we would divide the health topics and the classrooms between us so that we could maximize our time with the children and staff. This is how we divided the duties: Kate and Katie decided to work with the cooks to discuss the nutritional value of the meals at the facility; Edison and Sonia created a lesson that taught children about proper nutrition and educated them on how to say certain body parts in English; Meredith and Jessica prepared a lesson that demonstrated the importance of handwashing; being the 'odd man out', I presented a lesson by myself.

My lesson stressed the importance of oral hygiene; specifically, the children and I reviewed how to brush their teeth, what they need to use to brush their teeth, how often they should brush, AND what foods they should eat, and not eat, to keep their teeth, tounge, lips, and mouth healthy and clean.

Each lesson went very well. Personally, I did not realize that the children were going to be so young (2-4 years old), so I had to restructure my lesson on the spot. I had written my lesson in an advanced level of Kinyarwanda; the children were not at that level in their language skills, however. 'Childproofing' my presentation was not a problem; in fact, it made my lesson even easier for me to teach. Christine, one of the trainers, was with me and she gave me some advice on how to work with the children and tailor my lesson plan to their language level.

When we finished our health lessons we were able to play with the children in the schoolyard; there was about 30-40 of them total. This was my favorite part of the trip. The kids liked to be twirled, chased, tickled, ect. It TOTALLY reminded me of when I was in highschool and my youngest brother, Andrew, was very little. Playing with the kids on Thursday reminded me of the fun Andrew and I would have when we were younger.

After some time with the little ones we went into town to eat lunch. After lunch we returned to the orphanage to work with the older children. We want to return to the orphanage next week to give the older kids a lesson in reproductive health, so we thought we would use the afternoon to ask them a few questions and see what they already knew...we conducted a 'needs assessment' activity, if you will. It turns out they knew a lot...not everything, but a lot.

Anyway, before I leave 'The Health Lesson' portion of this blog entry, I want to tell you about something that made me laugh yesterday. Okay, remember a few entries before when I was talking about how people get some small amount of pleasure when I say 'hi', 'good morning', ect, ect in kinyarwanda. Well, when we arrived in the town that the orphanage was located, it was immediately clear that the people there were NOT used to seeing white people. Lots of stares...let me tell ya.

I was greeting people when I exited the bus, as usual, and I greeted this one young woman who responded by giving me a look of what I can only describe as terror...pure, honest terror. We could all tell that it really freaked her out that I said anything in Kinyarwanda. It sounds mean, but her face was PRICELESS. Hahahaha. I am laughing just thinking about it now. It gave us all a good laugh; I am sure I just caught her off guard.

THEN as we were walking up the road from the bus stop to the orphanage, we passed this elderly woman...very elderly...I mean you could tell this woman has seen it ALL. Anyway, I walk past her and I could tell she has seen a white person before...I could see it when our eyes met; she was not impressed...anyway, I greet her with a 'Muraho' (Hello) and she busts out laughing like it was the funniest thing she has EVER seen in her liiiiiiife. Hahahahaha. Seriously, she stopped walking and was doubled over with laughter. Hahahahaha. (Somehow her reaction was as equally hilarious to me as the woman I had scared with my perfect kinyarwanda skills.) I am sure I caught her off guard too. It was just really interesting to get such extremely different reactions from two different people in such a short period of time. Needless to say, the seven of us and the three trainers laughed all the way from the bus stop to the classrooms that morning.

Okay, back to business. We spent the entire day at the orphanage. (The staff and the facility were great; keep the staff and the children in your thoughts and prayers.) When we returned, I was EXHAUSTED. We had a health test as soon as we returned was rough. Once the test was over, we went out to celebrate Malcolm's birthday. Luckily for us, Rwandan night life is not very active, so bars and eateries are pretty empty. HOWEVER, because these places are not used to having people eat and drink this late (lunch is the main meal in Rwanda) and in such a big group, it takes FOREVER to order food...I mean, it takes like three to four hours, people. It was the same last night...meh, it was still fun. If my experiences are teaching me anything, it is to be patient.

Friday, today, we were invited to watch the graduation ceremony at the National University in Butare. Most of our trainers finished college a few months ago, but the ceremony was today. Our trainers are host country nationals and they are all in their mid/late twenties or very early thirties. It is NOT common for Rwandans to receive a college education; most people usually don't even finish secondary school (high school). When someone does graduate from college, however, they are generally in their late twenties or older. This is because there are a lot of breaks in their studies; these interuptions are caused by many things...mainly because of issues regarding money/tuition; needless to say, this ceremony was a big deal for everyone involved.

The ceremony itself was pretty ceremonies go. It was very similar to graduation ceremonies at colleges and universities in the U.S. The ceremony was outside in the soccer field, the graduates wore caps and gowns, the chairs were packed with proud family and friends, and there were about three to four hours worth of speakers. Seriously, the ceremony made me feel like I was back in the states; most of the speakers even presented in English. This fact did not surprise me at all because all of the courses are taught in either French or English and the government is making a big push towards phasing out French and becoming Anglophone.

There were some difference, however. I must admit this. Most of the differences centered on people's clothing; specifically, traditional Rwandan garb for females consists of colourful wraps and head-dresses. Many of the mothers were wearing this style of clothing at the graduation and it made the ceremony a joy...seriously. It was like our own little fashion show; 'people watching' is awesome, let me tell ya. I am coming to appreciate it more and more as each day passes. Anyway, the younger females were wearing dresses, scarves, and suits; pretty standard clothing from a Westerner's perspective.

The older men looked very Western in their clothing styles too. They were wearing suits, ties, shirts, etc that you would see in the states at any occasion. The younger men, however, had a different taste in clothing. They wore Western-styled cloths, this is true, but the style that was popular in the '80s and '70s. It was like going back in time, I'm tellin' ya. The ties were bright colors and were tied in full-windsor knots, so they looked very short. Shirts with flashy colours, big collars, and even bigger cuffs were all the rage at the was 'fresh', as they say here.

Please do not misinterpret me, though. I am in no way making a negative judgement on their style of clothing. The clothing is colourful and flashy, yes...maybe a bit dated for Western eyes, BUT it is conservative and respectful. There is NO flashy jewelry, everyone wears a belt, and no one is underdressed...EVER...unless you cannot afford fancy cloths.

Not to get off the topic here, but there are unwritten dress codes for men that can afford to dress least in the major is probably a bit different in the rural areas. Anyway, I have been told that: I cannot wear just a t-shirt ('umupira')...I have to wear a collared shirt ('ishati'); I cannot wear jeans with holes in them...I must wear nice, stainless jeans or dress pants (unless I am doing outdoor work); I cannot wear shorts...I must wear dress pants or jeans (unless I am doing something sportive).

Having a professional, respectable appearance is a big deal. If you are wearing anything less, you will get weird looks and those close to you WILL comment on your clothing (and/or the fact that you need to shave) me. Wearing these kinds of cloths, and taking care of yourself in general, shows that you respect who you are with, you respect the situation you are in or the event you are at, AND it shows that you respect YOURSELF. Honestly, this has been a big change for me; I am so used to wearing a t-shirt and shorts in this kind of weather AAAAAND a 5 o'clock shadow is no big deal in the states, right? Well, it is here. Anyway, I must admit that the fashion here is growing on me; I may come back to the states wearing some big cuffed dress shirts and some shinny (yes, shinny) jeans...who knows.

Back to the graduation...
The ceremony, a big event, is a time for picture taking and video taping, yes? Well, I did see SOME cameras and such, but not as many as I thought I would. This shouldn't surprise me, though. 'Electronic Stores' mostly sell only cell phones (and getting film developed here is VERY expensive). There may be a camera or two, even a television, in a shop/store, but they are VERY expensive. These items are the same price as they are in America, mind you, BUT people here are NOT making America money. Cell phones are very popular for those who can afford them, but other electronics are few and far between.

My host family has a television, but they keep it under lock and key; I have seen them bring it out ONCE. The director of the Health Clinic I will be working at in Rwamagana has a television. When I was staying with him at my site visit a couple weeks ago he had it out in the living room. His house was the largest house I have seen since I have been to Rwanda. Anyway, the television programming consisted of a few channels; RTV (Rwanda Television) is the most popular channel. The programming consisted of soccer matches, of course, and the news, which was shown three consecutive times in three different languages; first the news was reported in Kinyarwanda, then in French, then in English. It was the same stories and the same video feeds, just different reporters presenting the information in a different language. The news presentation style was very similar to that of BBC in that it was very world orientated, not just Rwanda.

Some of the other television channels programmed soccer matches (the most popular sport here) and volleyball games. There were some cartoons, but they are in French. There were a lot of public service announcements in Kinyarwandan too; these were scrolled down the screen and you could read about what was going on in each Province, District, Sector, and such; it was really neat. These announcements definetely made me feel like Rwanda sees itself as one large community working towards common goals; specifically, the goals of prosperity and solidarity.

There was also another channel from Cameroon and they loved it, which kind of threw me for a loop. I mean, the station itself wasn't anything spectacular, but it was just really cool to see that Rwandans have a genuine interest in what is going on in the world around them...not just in Africa, but the ENTIRE world. (Side Note: It is really cool how traveling opens your eyes to rest of the world. Countries stop becoming places you just hear about; you begin to attach people, events, and/or experiences to these places...the world becomes, somehow, more feel more connected.)

A final note on electronics and such...there are no IPods, computers are even less frequently seen then televisions, internet connections are almost exclusively found in cafes, television programming has a lot less comercials...and videogames...what are those?

Okay, I got off topic again. All-in-all, the graduation ceremony was great. There was even some traditional dancing, which is always fun to listen to and watch. It was great to be invited to such a special, meaningful event for our trainers. They are good people; I will miss them when I leave Butare in three weeks.

Saturday is going to be fun too. All the trainees are hosting their resource families at the convent/training center for a 'thank you brunch'. I have not been able to see my resource family much this week, but I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow and playing volleyball with them on Sunday.

Well, I better be on my way here. More to come soon...amahoro.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle (continued)

(Pictured here: The East Side Crew!)

I apologize for my delay in posting this entry and concluding my story; I had to leave in a bit of a rush last time. (Well, I am always playing 'beat the clock' whenever I'm in an internet cafe.) Anyway, I wanted to finish 'Welcome to the Jungle' last weekend, but the power went out in Butare for almost three straight days. It is not uncommon for cities in Rwanda, even major ones like Butare, to loose power for extended periods of time. Let's see how much I can get through today.

Special Note: Before I finish 'Welcome to the Jungle', I want to touch on my site visit.

'Ego Ko!' (Wow!) It was a big week here. I spent all of this past week visiting my project site. That's right, I found out where I am going to live, work, and play for the next two years. I have been stationed in the East Province of Rwanda in the district of Rwamagana. (Pictured Above: Some of us stationed in the Eastern Province are throwing up 'East Side' and celebrating the news of our placement.)

Province? District? What does this all mean, Emmett?! Let me break it down for you. Rwanda is divided into five 'provinces': North, South, East, West, and Kigali-as the nation's capital, it is its own province. Each 'province' contains, roughly, four to six 'districts'; each 'district' is then divided into 'sectors'; each 'sector' is divided into 'cells'; and each 'cell' is divided into 'villages'. Rwamagana is the Western part of the East Province...just two hours East of Kigali and two hours West of another Rwandan National Park, which I will visit soon (that's right, I'm going back into the jungle).

All 34 Peace Corps Rwanda Volunteers are spread out among the five provinces of Rwanda. We are working in schools, hospitals, and health clinics. I have been assigned to volunteer at a sector-level health clinic...I spent all of last week was great! The staff and the community members are kind, respectful, eager to learn English, and eager to teach me Kinyarwandan, French, AND Swahili.

Needless to say, the week was pretty packed. My time was divided between meeting neighbors and staff, touring of the sector, and working at the clinic. I was also able to get a better idea of my project and even see my house. Everything went really smooth; I am excited to begin next month. Today, however, I am back in Butare. I still have a few more weeks of training to go before I move to my site and begin my project.

I would LOVE to tell you more about the sector, the people, the health clinic, my project, and my house, BUT I am going to save those stories/descriptions for later blog entries. TODAY we are going back in time...back to what we started...back to the jungle...

'Here is the trail'
The begining of 'the trail' seemed open, but that was only because our new guide had some free time to cut more brush out of the way while he was waiting for us. After one minute of walking, we realized that the trail was pretty much being made as we were heading towards the family of Colobus. It was rough! The ground was covered with dead/decaying flora; it was very soft, a bit muddy, and very slick.

Rwanda is 'The Land of 1,000 Hills'. This is a very appropriate tag line for the country, especially in the West and North provinces. The hills there are more frequent and intense; this is mainly because these regions are volcanic. Anyway, the 'trail' we were on was straight down a relatively intense hill; I mean, this hill just kept going.

Because we were walking down-hill and on wet earth, naturally, a few people slipped, but no serious injuries were sustained. I sort of slipped...funny story, okay, so I am walking down the hill and the 'trail' carved out for us takes almost a 35° angle down; it was almost like a straight drop. Anyway, I get down and then I turn to help Bryna (she was the volunteer behind me). Well, as I am turning, I lose my balance for a bit. My body is trying to counter this fall, so I am flapping my arms and shifting my weight, BUT my pack is too heavy and it pulls me down on my back.

The scary part was I didn't know what I was going to fall onto; luckily for me it was a thick, low level of brush. The fall was painless, but I was stuck. The position I had ended up in and the weight on my back prevented me from getting up on my own. I tried to move side to side to get something going, but that was only digging me deeper into the brush. SOOOO, I was like a turtle stuck on its back until Bryna came down and righted me. Naturally, she was laughing pretty hard...not only at my slow-motion fall, but for my feeble attempt to right myself.

Anyway, after 30 minutes of walking or so, we finally came across the Colobus family. The guide started to tell everyone to hush as we approached the trees in which the Colobus had made their home. We were silent, except for the crunching of moist brush under our feet. He pointed up and through the mist and dark green of the jungle we saw a family of six to eight Colobus. I took alot of really cool pictures; not just of the Colobus, but of the jungle too...walking through the mist was just AMAZING. I took some cool video of the Colobus playing and jumping around. It is hard to see them through the mist, but hopefully the audio picked up their calls, which sound less like monkey calls and more like bushpig calls.

Anyway, we watched the Colobus for another 30 minutes or so and then the guide turned to the group and motioned that we should head back up the trail, take lunch, and call it a day. The walk back up the trail we had created was uneventful, BUT exhausting!

When we reached the top of the hill and came out of the trail and onto the main, paved road, we pretty much flopped down, opened our packs, and started eating ravenously. It wasn't a couple minutes into our lunch that we noticed we had a 'follower'. One of the more brave L'Hoest's monkeys followed us back up the hill, smelled the food, and tried to rob us!

It rushed at a pack that was on the ground, but the main guide was on the spot and put himself between the monkey and the group of us. Threatened and a bit scared, the monkey retreated to a tree just out of the guide's reach, but close enough that we could get some AWESOME pictures and video of it.

Another funny story...I saw the monkey, dropped my lunch, and ran for my camera. I started taking mad photos of this thing and getting some good video. As I am videotaping this monkey, I totally lose track of were I was in relation to my pack. Well, the monkey, as smart as it is, saw that I had dropped my lunch and that I was busy taping him; so this monkey, as I am taping mind you, makes a run at my food! Out of complete and total reflex, I picked up my walking stick and started making very caveman-like noises...not on purpose, mind you, it was just my first reaction to regress to my animal instincts and defend my food...I was starving too, so that monkey wasn't getting anything, let me tell you. Anyway, my cave-man grunt/babble and my stick waving sent the monkey into the forest for good...unharmed, but with an empty stomach, I am sure. Everyone thought my reaction was a big joke, BUT I totally saved everyone from the monkey trying to steal our lunches. They wouldn't have thought it was so funny if the monkey was sucessful, right? Hahahaha!

Anyway, it was obviously an awesome time and I would totally do it again...and I plan on doing so. I still have two more Rwandan jungles I want to visit and several more throughout Africa, so I am sure there will be more jungle adventures to come.

Just a couple of quick notes before I sign out:

Quick Note: I bought a 'Go Phone'. Cell phones are popular here and I thought I should get one in case of emergencies. Moreover, I may need to hear your voice once or twice each month or so...

Quick Note: I have learned from my family that some packages, letters, and such were sent to Kigali. I have yet to receive them, but it sounds like it takes a month for things to reach here. At any rate, be aware of that. Also, I will be moving to my site soon and my mailing address may change, so check my blog for updated mailing information.

Quick Note: I received a Rwandan name! Impressed with my social nature and my ability to assimilate into the culture, the language instructors in Butare have named me 'Ngirinshuti' ... 'I have many friends' or 'the friendmaker'.

Quick Note: Thank you, everyone, for your emails, facebook messages, and blog comments. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Amahoro! (Peace!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle

(Pictured Here: The Jungle! [Picture added to blog entry on 11/19/2009])
I have a couple pieces of information to pass along, then I would like to talk about my three hours in an African Jungle (in Southwestern Rwanda).

Piece: I met with the Peace Corps Rwanda Training Director this week. He calculates that my language skills are considered 'middle intermediate'. I need to be at 'high intermediate' (one level up) in about five weeks in order to be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and begin my project. Neither of us thinks this is going to be a problem, so we agreed that I should shoot to obtain the level of 'high advanced' before training is complete. He also thinks that I am having no problems assimilating to the culture; I agree. Good stuff; very encouraging.

Piece: Speaking of beginning my assignment, I find out where I am going to be placed and what I will be doing at my site on Friday. Needless to say, I am very excited. I don't have much information about this now, BUT I find out on Friday and they send me out to the site next week...for the whole week. At site I will meet my new coworkers, find out where I am going to live, and get a tour of the 'umudugudu' (village). Again, I am very excited.

Piece: I visited an HIV and AIDS health clinic today. The clinic, though small in size, provides a multitude of services for its patients. The site provides professional therapy, prevention and education programming, and it even has a testing laboratory. This clinic is right down the street from the health clinic I visited last week. Please keep the staff and patients of these clinics in your thoughts and prayers.

Piece: I also visited an orphanage today. Much like the community health clinic and the HIV and AIDS health clinic I visited, the orphanage is a great facility full of caring staff. HOWEVER, just like the clinics, the staff of the orphanage is very small in number. There are six orphanages in Rwanda that are run by a specific order of nuns. There may be more facilities, but I was only told of these six; each of these facilities accomodates over 100 children. There are obviously more orphans than that in the country; I have already met a few on the street. Please keep the staff and children of these facilities in your thoughts and prayers.

The Jungle: In a word...beautiful...

...the second most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. Yeah, and I almost didn't even go. Hahahaha. The night before was our mid-service training party. It took place in the form of a talent show. What did I do for my talent? Malcolm, another trainee, and I decided to do some spoken word...'Def Poetry Jam' style. We had to follow this AMAZING song and dance show some other trainees organized. Seriously, they were awesome. Our act was not meant to be a follower to that, more of an opener. At any rate, we performed, it went well, and it turned out to be a laaaaaate night at the bar for everyone.

Anway, I woke up the next morning to knocking at my door. It was Brandon, another trainee.
'Emmett, get up. It's time to go to the jungle.'
Hahahaha. I was funny to me. I was REALLY going to an African jungle today. Anyway, I got up, dressed, ate a quick breakfast, and met everyone at the bus.

As soon as the bus started moving I immediately thanked myself for responding to Brandon's knock and forcing myself to get up. The bus ride to the national park was two hours. It was a beautiful drive AND Kate (thanks, Kate) let me listen to her IPod all the way there. I hadn't heard American music for more than five minutes at a time since I have been to Rwanda. It was awesome...I pretty much listened to 'Say It Ain't So' by Weezer for like an hour. Hahaha. I reflected...almost cried...good song...good memories.

So we showed up to the park and I could tell right away that we were no longer driving through the country side, but that we were driving in the jungle. The road in the jungle was paved and gave great evidence that man existed, but the view told a different story; specifically, the view stated that man was no longer in charge once he left the road.

We exited the bus and paid our fees. It took a little while to get things started, but we soon met with our guide. He gave us a brief overview about the flora and fauna of the jungle, then we set off. (There were just over twenty of us; we were worried that we would scare everything off...we soon learned that this was not the case.)

The guide was a tall, dark skinned man. He spoke English very well, but with a notable African accent.
'We take the main road to the trail. On the trail we see the Colobus monkeys.'
His voice was deep. He wore black boots and a dark green uniform, just as dark as the jungle itself. We began walking on the main, paved road. A few minutes after being on the road we ran into our first African creature; specifically, an earthworm over one foot long. I got a picture to prove it. It had rained earlier in the day and had forced the worm out of the ground. Luckily it survived the long stretch of road and we were able to witness this jungle creature on our journey.

Anyway, taking pictures of the worm took us a little while. We did it until the guide was getting noticably anxious; he wanted to move up the road, which meant it was time to continue. We kept walking up the main road, stopping briefly to take pictures of the jungle and the mist that covered it. This mist is no joke, is very real and very thick.

The view was awesome. In fact, at one point the guide pointed out that we could see Lake Kivu from where we were standing; it was just past the mist covered hill to our right. Could a more general statement ever be made in 'the land of 1,000 hills'...I don't know? Anyway, we looked past the mist covered forest and saw the glimmer of a vast body of water...Lake Kivu...past Lake Kivu, we saw the DRC...that's right...Congo. I didn't realize that we had gone that far West to get to the park, but we did.

At any rate, we continue walking for about 20 minutes or so and we start asking ourselves:
'Okay, where is this 'trail'? When do we actually get to go into the jungle?'
I tried to stay as close to the guide as possible. He kept talking to someone through his walkie-talkie in Kinyarwandan and I was trying to pick a few things up...just a few words to figure out what was going on without having to actually ask him. Just as I was about to ask him where the trail was located, another guide came out of the jungle onto the main road. Seriously, he came out of nowhere. The jungle moved a bit and then he appeared; it was pretty cool.

As he came from the jungle, I noticed that he was wearing the same uniform as our guide. So I put two and two together...this guy was on the other end of our guide's walkie-talkie. He was sent into the jungle earlier in the day to find us a Colobus monkey family to observe; machete in hand, this new guide waved us over.
'Here is the trail.'

Hahahahaha. There was no trail in the 'formal' sense of the word. This new guide was our trail. A more correct statement would be that he was our 'trail-maker'. I thought to myself, 'AWESOME. This is really happening. Welcome to the Jungle.'

I hate to leave you all at this point in the story, but I have to go eat dinner and I am running out of time. I have so much more to tell you all about...and not just about the jungle. Please do keep commenting on my entries. Let me know what you would like to learn and I'll pull my notes together to create and/or expand upon some more Cultural Notes. The conclusion of 'Welcome to the Jungle' is coming soon. Until then...'Amahoro' (Peace).