Rwanda's Gorillas - 2017

person per trek! All these efforts on behalf of the local communities and people help to prove to them that the preservation of the gorillas and their habitat is very worthwhile for them! Without the gorillas, tourists would not come to Rwanda in such numbers. The Foundation folk were very happy to tell us that there has not been a killing of a gorilla in Rwanda (either revenge killing or poaching) in the past three years! That's an achievement worthy of respect and support! While we were driving from the Foundation out to the staging point for the treks, we noticed more and more people walking in the same direction we were headed. Hundreds of people were moving together. Ladies in their Sunday best with colorful dresses and flamboyant hats, men in "Sunday Go to Meeting" clothing. Children skipping along in their best as well. And it was not Sunday! We kept asking what was going on—it seemed the whole population of the country was on the move. "You'll understand soon enough, we were told." But before the mystery was cleared, we stopped at the staging area where trekking groups are formed, where the guides are assigned, and where the porter's wait to be hired. Groups are kept small and some attempt is made to match trekkers by abilities and ages. That way young folks are not made to slow down to wait for the less fit tourists. It seems an excellent system, but it does take some time (about an hour and a half usually) to get everything sorted out appropriately. Each gorilla family is visited only once a day by tourists and tourist groups are limited in size as well. We never got a clear idea of how many families live within trekking distance, but it must be at least 17 since we saw what appeared to be hundreds of people waiting to be put in a group. Since the families were spread all over the mountains,

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