The weather at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge has been dry and dusty. The sweetest bamboo is all slightly further up the mountain so all our guests have been having amazing walks and equally amazing visits to the families. The gray ‘gorillas in the mist‘ days have made way for sparkling blue sky and warm mornings.
A healthy crop of gorilla babies means that the future of the species is, at least for the time being, secure. It also makes the naming ceremony, Kwita Izina, due to be held at the end of the month, all the more special. Naming a newly born baby has been part of Rwandan culture and tradition for centuries, as it is in many cultures, but has now evolved into a conservation led initiative in Rwanda.
Names attributed to the gorillas play a significant role in the ongoing program of monitoring each individual gorilla in their families and habitat. Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla. For three decades prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the rangers and researchers that monitored these animals would carry out the naming of baby gorillas with little awareness amidst the public.
Kwita Izina has been attended by thousands of international, regional and local participants over the recent years. The Government of Rwanda and conservation partners have donated substantial resources to gorilla conservation and continue to do so. Each year new born gorilla babies are celebrated in an exciting event at the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.
SACOLA, the organization of the community that owns Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and does so much with its revenue for the community, has been equally busy with a myriad of ongoing projects covering a variety of projects. Fortunately for the lodge and our guests, these include a number of agricultural schemes which benefit us and our guests with healthy crops of fresh mushrooms and possibly the most delicious Tree tomatoes or Tamarillo that we have ever tasted.
Speaking of delicious food, we are all very excited after a recent visit from a retired Belgian chocolatier from Bruges. Bored with the legislation of the EU, he has decided to opt for his own form of Brexit and has partnered with a couple of entrepreneurial Rwandese to open a little chocolate factory in the town of Musanze a few miles from the lodge…delicious! A great initiative that we can all enjoy.
Lastly, we recently cleared out the Laundry stores and were able to donate 200 pairs of bedroom slippers to the local hospital, which combined with a thoughtful donation of first aid kits and eye care products from North American guests Jeff and Jane, gave a much appreciated and useful helping hand to our local healthcare facility.