Monday, February 1, 2010

Super Bowl, Homesickness, and a Safari

(Pictured Here: A giraffe chillin' and some buffalo grazin'.)

Saints 31, Colts 17

How do I know this score?!

Because I saw the game, baby! That's right, son! A few PCVs and I found a bar in Kigali that was showing the game.
Watching this game, however, was a labor of love. Because the game was on ESPN Live, we didn't get to see the commercials. Also, the kickoff was at like 1:30am and the game didn't end until like 5am! AND I had to get up at 7am in order to get to the Peace Corps office in time for my mid-service physical exam. Meh. I regret nothing.

The game was awesome, though I totally spoiled it for everyone at the bar by totally calling Manning's interception that, as you know, decided the fate of Super Bowl XLIV. Take THAT for stealing the Super Bowl from the Bears three years ago, Manning!

On another note...I know that in my last entry I said I would get some reflections posted, but January was not the right month for me to be writing reflections. I had my first real bout of homesickness in January...well...not so much in January, but ALL of January. With that said, I really didn't feel like writing anything.

I did force myself to write one evening, but I wasn't happy with the reflections I wrote. I really wouldn't expect reflections from me any time soon. Talk to me when I get back to the states; I'm sure I'll have some good stuff for you then.

I will admit that watching the Super Bowl cheered me up, though. Going to Akagera National Park last weekend, however, really cheered me up. This was a trip I had been wanting to go on for some time now and when we got back from Zanzibar, we decided to make it happen.
Soon after our return from Tanzania, a handful of us got together and thought it would be a good idea to celebrate our official 'One Year in Rwanda' anniversary by doing some camping and going on safari. On Saturday, January 30th we camped out at the park and the next day we went on a six hour safari. We saw:
African Buffalo
Plains Zebra
Antelope (Sable or Roan? I couldn't get a good look.)
Vervet Monkey (This guy had BLUE genitals...what is the evolutionary advantage there?)
Fish Eagle
Marabou Stork (Ugly as sin.)
a bunch of other Storks, Ibises, Spoonbills, Rollers, and Weaver Birds (I'll spare you the full list.)
Giraffe (Maasai or Rothschild's? The jury is still out on this one too.)

We didn't see any lions, leopards, hyenas, or elephants; the carnivores are more active in the evening and the elephants were farther North in the park. If we had another day or two, we could have easily seen these animals. The way I figure it, I have a good reason to go back to the park. Who am I kidding?! Even if I saw all the animals in the park twice, I would still totally go back to camp again. an African Big Game Park?!...Um?!...Yes!
Everything was great. The only bad part was that we were getting chewed up by horse flies, and what we think were tsetse flies, toward the end of the safari. Horse flies don't scare me much, but tsetse flies, carriers of East African Trypanosomiasis (African Sleeping Sickness), are another story.
I do not know the exact risk of contracting this illness from exposure to tsetse fly bites in Akagera Park, but it does exist. It was still an awesome trip. I regret nothing.