This is Lois writing first. This morning we met our guide for the next few days. His name is Sura, and he drove us to the hotel in Kigali last night. Kigali is one of the cleanest cities we have ever seen. There is a ban on disposable plastic bags, and on the last Saturday of every month, every resident of Rwanda (including the president) participates in community service, including cleaning up cities and countrysides. The geography makes West Virginia look flat. There are mountains everywhere, and the people are all in great shape because they obviously do a lot of walking. There were bicycles too, plus motorbikes.
We had a three hour drive to the Gorilla Mountain View Lodge, near Volcanoes National Park. Our cabin is large and comfy, and the food is plentiful and tasty. My tummy is still upset, so I have not been eating much.
This is John writing now. What I notice about Rwanda is that everyone is very soft spoken, polite, and reserved. A boy from Lake Wobegon would fit right in. It is very different from New York or China. The people seem very civic-minded. Not the pound-your-chest, "America is the greatest", kind of attitude, but civic-minded in that you govern your actions by what is best for society as a whole. The other thing that is very obvious, is that life is very hard for many people. You see women and children carrying five to ten gallon water containers uphill from the community well to their homes. The distance could be miles and a thousand feet in elevation! What a way to start the day! There are also men who make a living transporting building materials on their heads, not to mention the "taxi" drivers whose vehicle is a bicycle. To get riders, they have to underbid the "taxi" drivers on motorcycles.
Once we got to the lodge, we settled into our rooms, had lunch, and then walked around the grounds. At 5 PM, some teenagers from a local school put on a spirited native dance performance. They did the performance with one of the local volcanoes as a backdrop. The food here has been great, much better than the food at the hotel in Kigali. Tomorrow we will do some easy touring, and it will give Lois a chance to get her appetite and strength back.