Monday, July 30, 2007
our trip to Bonobo Park
who is watching who?? Which are the real monkey watchers// see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
Saturday we took a P-day with the other two couples here in Kinshasa to one of about three "tourist attractions" here in the area. It's called Bonobo Park, after the bonobos that are being protected here. The bonobos are a pygmie chimpanzee who exist only in central rain forest part of the Congo. Most of those in this preserve are orphans, because their parents have been killed and hunted for the bushmeat. They are about 3 feet tall when mature, and will live for up to 60 years. There is a picture later of a mother and her child, who is so small after three years of life. It takes about 12 years before a young bonobo will leave its mother, so the mother only has about 3 or 4 babies in her lifetime.
(I'm sorry that these photos aren't interspersed, but I haven't really figured out the photo additions quite yet--give me time--maybe by the end of the mission I will have it figured out :-)
Anyway, we loaded up the car and tried to follow the directions that we had received, and got really lost, but finally found this park. It is interesting--in the USA there would have been lots of advertising and signs --direction markers, etc. to get there, but here there was nothing to indicate where it was or how to get there. If we hadn't had these directions that were so specific--go 5.7 kilometers and turn right, go up a steep hill that is almost impassable, etc. etc. we never would have found it. But when we got there, we were very impressed with the facility and the beauty of the spot. It is next to a river where some young guys were swimming and playing a game that I could swear was Marco-polo. There was a nice pavilion where there was a tv with a running program all about the bonobos. Then you just walk on this loop through the forest and come to several locations where there are people who are in charge of the care, feeding and other things with the bonobos. The bonobos are very friendly--and seem to enjoy the interchange with people. We were able to have a guide come with us on our trip and point out some very interesting things about these cute little animals. He would walk along the fence and call out to the chimps and they would come down out of the trees or out of the underbrush and come to the fence to greet him and us.
The reserve partners with a bunch of places in the US--a couple of zoos, etc. and the grounds were very well maintained and nice---and there were flowers and butterflies and nice paths, etc. It was nice to be in such an area. We had heard that you can only picnic there if you are willing to pay a $40 fee to sit on their lawn (no picnic tables or anything), so we opted to come back into Kinshasa and have our picnic here at the mission home! !
Don has a fixation on taking pictures of potholes because he has to be so careful trying to avoid them, but the photos just don't do them justice, so think in your mind the worst pothole that you've ever seen and multiply that by 100 and that's about right for some of the small ones. But it's all good! ! I makes driving a real fun adventure and like a thrill ride on a rollercoaster. We love it! !
This is a wonderful experience and we are so grateful to be able to be a part of it all. THe gospel is true and the people in Africa love to hear about it and respond to the teachings of the gospel.
By the way, the office couple leaves at the end of March and we need a couple to replace them. You don't have to speak French--although it would be a bonus if you did. The man is the financial guy and the gal is the secretary--does a lot of computer stuff about the missionaries, etc. They also teach a couple of English classes--some to the stake presidents in the area who are trying to learn English. Anyone want to volunteer?? We would love to have any of you who would be so inclined to come this way join us in this wonderful adventure! ! ! Think about it and let us know if you are interested! !
Until next time---au revoir and ayez une bonne journee! ! !