ITINERARY FOR TRIP INTO BEAUTIFUL AFRICA – By Maribeth Shanley

Below is my long anticipated trip to Africa, in particular to Rwanda and Uganda.  As many of you know, this will be a working trip.

Invited by Edwin Sabuhoro, a young man who was a 2015 CNN Hero of the Year Nominee, I will begin writing Edwin’s autobiography.  Edwin was honored for saving the mountain gorillas from being poached, and, for teaching the poachers how to make a decent, and most importantly, a legal living. It was Edwin who transformed the ex-poachers’ lives. They now are the guardians of the same gorillas as they protect them from poaching and other nefarious activities.

When I first met Edwin, via Facebook, I mentioned I was a writer. He told me he was looking for someone to write his autobiography. Knowing any writer would love to take on such a wonderful project, many of the writers far more sophisticated, experienced and talented than me, I am proud, honored, excited and blown out of the water at my good fortune. With that said, below is my itinerary prepared by Edwin.

Day 1 (13th Feb 2018)
1:00pm: Arrival with Turkish Air
2:00-400pm: Trip Briefing and Resting
4:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Home Rwanda
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 2 (14th Feb 2018)
8-11:30AM: Take a Kigali City Tour visiting major parts of Kigali one the Africa’s leading clean cities
11:30-12:30pm: Have lunch at Bourbon Coffee
12:30-4:00pm: Traditional entertainment by former gorilla poachers at the Gorilla Guardians Village
5:00-6:00pm: Discussion with former poachers
7:00-8:00pm: Rwandan Traditional Dinner
9:00-11:00pm: Traditional campfire and songs of the gorillas
Overnight: Gorilla Guardian’s Village

Day 3 (15th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: African Breakfast
9:00-12pm: Visit Iteganyirize Women Crafts Cooperative
12-1:00pm: Participate in lunch cooking with Iteganyirize Women Cooperative
1:00-2:00pm: Lunch
2:00-3:00pm: Discussion with former poachers.
3:00-4:00pm: Traditional dancing experience at the Gorilla Guardians Village

4:00-6:00pm: Meeting Francois – The guide who worked with Dian Fossey. Longest serving employee (over 30 years working with the gorillas) in the Rwanda Park Service
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner and Resting
Overnight: Gorilla Guardians Village

Day 4 (16th Feb 2018)
5:30-6:00am: Breakfast at the Gorilla Guardians Village
6:00-3:00pm: Trekking Mountain Gorillas- a once in a lifetime experience
4:00-6:00pm: Relaxing and playing local games at the Gorilla Guardians Village
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Gorilla Guardians Village
Overnight: Gorilla Guardians Village

Day 5 (17th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at the Gorilla Guardians Village
9:00-10:00am: Transfer to Lake Kivu. One of the freshwater lakes in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Great place to unwind after trekking gorillas
10:00-6:00pm: Resting day at the beach
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
Overnight: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Day 6 (18th Feb 2018)
8:00-4:00pm: Transfer to Uganda Via Cyanika Via Nakivala refugee camp and later to Nyabuhikye, Ibanda via Mbarara. The route takes you through western Uganda-The Pearl of Africa. One of the most beautiful landscape in Africa
5:00-6:00pm: Check in at Nyabuhikye Resort

6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Nyabuhikye Resort
Overnight: Nyabuhikye Resort.

Day 7 (19th Feb 2018)
8:00-12:00am: Visit Nyabuhikye Village where Edwin Grew up, visit his primary, church, his his home where his family lived and talk to some neighbours and friends who grew up with him
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch Uncle Robert Rutehenda’s Home
1:00-3:00pm: Conversation with Auntie Victo and Uncle Robert about Edwin’s mum.
3:00-5:00pm: Visit Uncle Chris Tumwine, Edwin’s Baptism Father about Edwin and Edwin’s mum (The only one left of the 3)
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Uncle Chris’s Home
Overnight: Nyabuhikye Resort

Day 8 (20th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Nyabuhikye Resort
9:00-11:00am: Conversations with Uncle Emmanuel Kafuniza about Edwin and Edwin’s mum
11:00-1:00pm: Visit Karuhoko, Edwins mum best friend. Lunch at Karuhoko’s home
1:00-2:00pm: Visit Nyabuhikye Primary School where Edwin studied from and his local Church
2:00-4:00pm: Visit Ibanda Secondary School and talk to Karemera, Edwin’ s former teacher
4:00-7:00pm: Visit David Karumu, Edwin’s Uncle and best friend 8:00pm: Dinner at David’s home
Overnight: Nyabuhikye Resort

Day 9 (21st Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Nyabuhikye Resort
9:00-1:00pm: Visiting friends and interaction with Uncle Emanuel.
1:00-3:00pm: Transfer to Mbarara
3:00-4:00pm: Visit Igongo Cultural Center for a Western Uganda cultural experience
4:00-6:00pm: Uncle Dick’s House and interactions with Aunt Diana & Dinner
Overnight: Overnight at Aunt Diana’s Home

Day 10: (22nd Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Aunt Diana’s Home
9:00-12:00pm: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
12:00-6pm: Safari Game Drive-Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo national Park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Acadia Cottages Lake Mburo
Overnight: Acadia Cottages Lake Mburo

Day 11 (23rd Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast Acadia Cottages Lake Mburo
9:00-5:00pm: transfer to Akagera National Park
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Akagera Game Lodge
Overnight: Akagera Game Lodge

Day 12 (24th Feb 2018)
6:00-7:00am: Breakfast at Akagera Game Lodg
7:00-1:00pm: Safari Game Drive in Akagera National Park. Akagera National Park is central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda. Popular for its scenic beauty. The rolling highlands, vast plains and swamp-fringed lakes of this north-eastern territory contain a rich biodiversity and are home to a number of rare species, such as the shoebill stork. With more than 12,000 large mammals and 482 bird species, this breath-taking landscape is every nature lover’s wildest dream.
1:00- 4:00pm: Meet Patrick, to learn about Edwin’s dad and life as a refugee and in the refugee camp
5:00-6:00: Transfer to Kigali
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 13 (25th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00: breakfast at Home Rwanda
9:00-6:00pm: Resting, and lunch at Bourbon Coffee
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 14 (26th Feb 2018)
8:00-5:00pm: Transfer to Nyungwe National Park. Nyungwe National Park is an untouched natural rainforest that is filled with exciting biodiversity. Covering over 1000 square kilomtres, Nyungwe is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests. It’s believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age, which explains its diversity.Home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.

12:00-1:00pm: Visiting the King’s Palace in Nyanza (where the last King of Rwanda lived) and the National Museum of Rwanda in Butare.

1:00-2:00pm: Visit the National University of Rwanda where Edwin went for his Law School
Overnight: Gisakura Guest House

Day 15 (27th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Gisakura Guest House.
9:00-12:00pm: Canopy Walk or Nature Walk.
1:00-5:00pm: Transfer to Kigali
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 16 (28th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Home Rwanda
9:00-5:00pm: Relaxing and interaction with Edwin all day and later in 5:00-6:00pm: Dinner at the Marriot Hotel
7:00-10pm: Transfer to the airport

WOW!  I’m tired already from simply copying and pasting.  This is a trip and an opportunity of a lifetime.  I thank all the beings, here and on the other side for giving me this incredible gift.  Thanks mostly to Edwin, for putting his trust and his incredibly fascinating life story in my hands.  I promise to give this my entire being, including my heart, mind and soul.  Edwin deserves the very best work.  I will give nothing less than my absolute best effort.

 

 

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The State of Our Union

Indigo Sea Press Blog

As I consider the state of our Union, I think about the people who wish to come to the U.S. seeking the American Dream.

Recently our new President signed an executive order banning those who practice one of the oldest religions of the world, Islam, from entering the country.   The ban,  implemented this weekend,  victimizes individuals of the Islamic faith, including a small child.

Below is a photo of the five-year-old Syrian refugee child holding a small baggie in her mouth.  She’s unable to hold her baggie with her hands because her little arms and hands are bound behind her back with handcuffs.   What makes this photo more egregious is what Sean Spicer had to say at his press briefing after the weekend flurry of arrests, detentions, and people with visas turned away at their departing airports.

syrian-child

When asked about the little girl, Spicer commented that just because the child in handcuffs…

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Odd Times…

Well written blog from a first-time blogger. It’s well thought out, constructed and written. We are indeed living in odd times.

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Gratitude

Indigo Sea Press Blog

Gratitude.

A simple word that carries so much power. As the launch date for Root draws closer, as I tick down my to-do list to get ready, I can’t help but think about how grateful I am to all the folks who made releasing Dormant memorable. Of course, there are the folks I expected to be grateful to – my parents, my sister, my husband, my critique group – but it’s the surprises that come to mind today. From the woman at work who sent out an email blast on the day my book was published to the high school classmate who invited me to speak to her middle school students. The support I gotten from my old school mates almost makes me miss high school (almost…OK, not really).

I remember the sweet ladies in my mother’s book club who read Dormant and discussed it with me via Skype. I’m…

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Mother’s Day by John E. Stack

Exceptional blog worth the read and the suggestion to look into foster care.

Indigo Sea Press Blog

I casually walked toward the front of the auditorium and took an end seat about four rows from the front.  I have been attending church here for around twenty years and it was not unusual for me to be there alone.  Suzanne will often stay home if we have a baby or if one of ours is sick. I don’t sit with friends, because I have a tendency to talk and misbehave. I’m well over fifty, but for some reason I find sitting for long periods of time quite troublesome.

Anyway, we had a sick little boy at home with a double ear infection and Suzanne refused to let me stay home and take care of him, so Allie and I took off to church to celebrate Mother’s Day. So, again, here I am singing during worship time and decided to look around the auditorium. I really wasn’t surprised by what I…

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Yellowstone National Park – The Perfect Ecosystem Storm – Part I, by Maribeth Shanley

thermal activity High among the Rocky Mountain tops lies a plateau area called Yellowstone National Park.  Known for its diverse wildlife, it boasts to be the most active geothermal habitat in the world.  The Park claims more than 10,000 thermal features,  including hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles.  Most famous are the geyser basins that provide daily entertainment for park goers as pools of heated water throw up gaseous steam and spray from the bowels of a volcanic earth.  Established in 1872, the Park was the first declared national park in the world.   For fifty years the park remained a perfect ecosystem.

Rocky Mtn wolf At the top of the food chain was an established sub-species of the gray wolf nicknamed Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves.  This wolf kept the entire ecosystem in check; that was until the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  It was during Theodore Roosevelt’s  presidency that a practice called Predator Control Campaigns began.

Roosevelt was an avid hunter.  He also considered himself a passionate naturalist and sought to understand the balance between establishing a wildlife reserve in Yellowstone, while allowing hunting and also seeking to understand the role of the predator.  Roosevelt sought to justify hunting by marrying all the components, wildlife preservation, hunting and predator conservation into one neat world view that was ultimately designed to benefit what he called in his book, The Wilderness Hunter,  “the free, self-reliant, adventurous life.”  Unfortunately, during that period of history, no one understood the importance of a healthy ecosystem and how all the parts, from the top to bottom were interdependent.

Considered a vicious predator, by the beginning of 1926, the last of the wolves were eliminated from the Park.  A seventy-year-wolf-drought ensued.  During that ecosystem famine, the entire park suffered devastating results.  Wildlife such as beaver, predatory birds, waterfowl and land birds began to disappear.  At the same time, coyotes and herds of elk began to proliferate.

Also during the same seventy-year period the study of science flourished, and scientists began to understand the importance of ecosystems.  During the same period, true conservation groups established themselves and began putting pressure on the Federal Government to fix the ecosystem of the Park.  All concerned groups recognized that the explosion of the elk populations was causing devastation to the park lands.  Thus, in the 1970’s an effort to recover wolves to the Park was proposed.  A twenty-five-year battle began.

Canadian Wolf Finally, in 1995, thirty-one adolescent Canadian wolves were tranquilized, delivered to the Park and released.  By January of 1996, an additional thirty-five wolves were released in another section of the Park.  For scientists and conservationists, it marked a last-ditched effort to save the wolf species from becoming extinct in the wild.  The release was not without controversy, however.  The opposition to the release claimed the wolves would devastate the grazing animal populations.  In fact, just the opposite happened.

Within a few years, the rivers dramatically improved.  Summer flows improved, fish spawning increased, and vast numbers of waterfowl began to return.  Also, beaver populations began to boom.  The Park became a microcosm study of just how critical a balanced ecosystem is for the survival of all species.

elk herd Before the wolf returned, the elk grazed in the open and were without fear.  Their natural behavior was to graze on the move, never staying in one place too long.  Without their number one threat, the wolf, their new behavior radically changed the landscape, especially along river banks where they grazed everything to the ground.  Trees and shrubbery couldn’t establish themselves. Thus, the river banks became weak resulting in erosion as silt poured into the rivers.  The trampling by the herds further decimated the river banks.  Silt buildup destroyed spawning pools decreasing fish populations.

Before the removal of the wolf, everyone worked in unison with each other from the top of the food chain to the bottom.  At the same time, everything natural from the forests to the rivers to the grasslands and wetlands thrived.  Without the wolves, it all went to hell.

beaver dam With the reintroduction of the wolf, fear of the wolf caused the elk to retreat to their natural habits.  That retreat enabled trees and shrubs to recolonize river banks.  The recolonization led to rivers going back to their natural flow.  The trees brought back the beaver population.  Trees are now culled naturally by this docile rodent as they build their dams and lodges.  Those beaver dams created spawning ponds for fish which fed bears and predatory birds.  The ponds created by the dams provided food and a habitat for aquatic insects which provided food for waterfowl and fish.  Enriched soil encouraged further growth of trees which provided for more nesting sites for birds and squirrels as non-aquatic insects proliferated.  The result, everyone, and everything once again flourished.  The prosperity restored balance and established a wealth of knowledge for science.

Where the intervention of humans had a devastating outcome, this new human intervention had a lasting benefit at all levels of biodiversity for Yellowstone.

So why is Yellowstone back in the news in 2016?

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I Don’t Think Death is the End

This is utterly beautiful! Please enjoy as I have.

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