Chasing Gorillas in Rwanda

There are many great destinations around the globe in which travelers can get up close and personal with animals in their natural habitat. You can travel to the Serengeti and take in the Great Migration or head to Northern Canada for an encounter with a polar bear. Make the journey to the Galapagos, and you’ll get to see any number of unique creatures found no where else on Earth.

Although there are amazing wildlife encounters on every continent, few can compare with gorilla trekking in Uganda, where each day a very select group of travelers gets the opportunity to hike deep into the jungle and observe the giant primates as they interact with one another. That’s exactly what journalist Jeremy Thompson, and his wife Lynn did, resulting in this really great article on their journey for the Daily Mail.

Jeremy surprised Lynn with the trip to Africa for her 50th birthday, and that trip included a visit to Rwanda, where they joined six other travelers who hiked above 8000 feet for the chance to spend some time with the legendary Rwandan mountain gorillas. The shy and elusive creatures are quite rare. Just 700 of them remain in the wild, and because of that, only about 50 people are allowed to enter their realm on any given day, and even then the encounter lasts just one hour. Luckily for this couple, they booked a second gorilla trek just so they could spend a little more time with the apes.

.For Jeremy, returning to Rwanda was quite an experience in other ways as well. He covered the genocide that occurred there back in 1994, and returning now he found a country that has moved on from its violent past, but hasn’t forgotten it. Not that long ago, the place was one of the most dangerous nations on the planet, and now it’s borders are open and it has a lot to offer the traveler looking for a unique African experience

DARFUR/DARFUR at the George Eastman House

DarfurLast weekend as I rolled into Rochester, NY I found out the George Eastman House / International Museum of Photography and Film was kicking off a new exhibition titled DARFUR/DARFUR with a candlelight vigil. As excited I was about attending the vigil which involved a short walk to the George Eastman House, I wimped out due to the cold weather. Instead I headed inside right at the museum opening to explore the DARFUR/DARFUR collection among others.

In DARFUR/DARFUR, a collection of digitally projected images by photographers Lynsey Addairo, Mark Brecke, Helene Caux, Ron Haviv, Paolo Pellegrin, Ryan Spencer Reed, Michal Ronnen Safdie and Brian Steidle are combined with words and Sudanese-inspired music. As I sat watching the images of torched civilians, villages afire, and orphans from the genocidal conflict in Darfur, Sudan my heart started to sting and I began to feel so inactive. More than 400,000 individuals have either died or been injured from the non-stop violence and even with numbers so high the glimmer of hope and a hint of a smile can still be found on the faces of those who have not yet lost it all. It is worth your time if in Rochester or visiting in the near future to check this one out. Pick up a fact sheet while you’re there and write a letter or learn more about DARFUR/DARFUR by clicking here.

The exhibition which runs from January 20 to April 22 also includes feature-length documentary films and a variety of programs to help lead a community-wide discussion on genocide and war.