Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Had a great afternoon photographing the animals. It was wonderful, it is what makes me really feel alive, much more alive than sweeping and cleaning. And the man whom I was working with this morning was very unkind and spoke to me very harshly.

Anyway, I spent over an hour sitting next to the gorillas, I sat really close to the fence and it was wonderful. At first I was wary, but the gorillas were very calm, unlike the chimps, who have a tendency to throw things - rocks and poo - at you.

I sat for ages with a large female gorilla. She was extremely interested in me. At first I was a bit wary and every time she moved I jumped out of my skin, until I realised that she was very calm and merely taking an interest in me and was not a threat, and also didn't see me as a threat. We were so close to each other (of course with a fence between us). She looked deep into my eyes as though trying to work out who I was and also what sort of person I was. She obviously liked what she saw. Later on she took hold of a stick, looked left and right and slowly slid the stick out on the ground to poke me with it. Not in a hostile way, but in a curious, nosy way. She kept poking my sandal. It was when she became more bold and held it at head height and took an interest in my face that I moved out of the way! I slowly made my way along the fence, managing to take some pics of the other gorillas. But she kept getting in the way, as if she wanted my sole attention. Then she did something astonishing - she cautiously slid her big black hand under the fence. So I held it. Absolutely stunning. What an experience, one I will never forget.

In the evening had a sore throat and didn't feel so well. So went to bed early. To my great dismay was ill thoughout the night - had the runs and to my horror actually pooed myself three times and had to wash my underwear. It was very distressing as I will be flying home soon and was so very worried that I wouldn't be well enough. When I told Monica in the morning she said not to worry, it is a very common occurence and that you only need to be concerned if it lasts more than a week...

In the night I was so worried, as the toilet doesn't usually flush in the morning and I made plans to go in the garden. Luckily it didn't come to this as the toilet did flush.


Maurice said...

Gorilla my dreams !

Julie Langford said...

What a fantastic exprerience with the gorilla. How bad it is though that a volunteer would be spoken to in a rude manner by someone at the centre. It doesn't go a long way into promoting potential volunteers for the future, and could be quite bad for the centre