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.




About maribeth shanley

Maribeth is the author of the novel, Crack in the World, published by Indigo Sea Press, Winston-Salem, NC. In February of 2016, her second novel, A View to the Unknown, the stand-alone sequel to Crack in the World, was published by Indigo Sea Publishing. Please visit Maribeth's website, where you can read the first chapter of both novels, as well as four short stories and three poems. Maribeth is married. She loves and advocates for animals. She knows that we are all the authors of our own lives. Maribeth lives life like she means it through kindness, love and shear determination to never waste one minute of her life so that when she crosses over, people who knew her will consider her life a best seller.
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