Lola ya Bonobo, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Lola ya Bonobo, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

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Tuesday August 9, 2011

The sun shined a bit today outside Kinshasa

10:29 p.m. I’m in seat 1D aboard the flight from Kinsasha to Brussels via Yaounde, Cameroon. We sat on the tarmac awhile again. I sat in the business class lounge before boarding with Felix.  Felix & I got separated as we came into the chaos of the airport for awhile through the incredibly slow & inefficient process of getting tickets. Having an electronic ticket in the developing world can be quite problematic. It took over an hour to drive through the crowded, dirty, garbage strewn streets of Kinshasa. We left probably about 4:00 p.m. I kissed Kasai the baby bonobo goodbye, I’ll miss that little thing. (little did I know that would be the last time I ever saw her, she died with a number of other bonobos as a flu swept through the sanctuary January 2012)

http://lolayabonobo.wildlifedirect.org/category/nursery/

I had a lot of fun watching the young ones play, & rough house for the last time.  I laughed as one played in the little pond, dunking its head and flipping it up through the air over and over again. I’ll miss Kepolo the blind bonobo but most of all I will miss Kasai. I will also miss Lukuru who would always hop on the cage, fence, or gate & wait in anticipation for me to tickle her, belly pushed out against the green metal. When I tickle attacked her with a flurry of goochy goo noises, she squealed with delight, & shrugged  her neck to stop the tickling yet screamed with delight while looking over het shoulder for an upcoming bonobo attack. If another bonobo would run over & she’d drop kick them & take off only to come back moments later for another round of tickling. There was another young bonobo that would come over put her back against the bars for me to scratch. Kepolo broke my heart the most she’d come over reach through the bard and touch and caress my face. As all the other bonobos ran, chased, tumbled, bit, drop kicked & flew off of the ‘top rope’ with each other wrestling about in the most violent fashion, Kepolo would hug the keepers legs. Kepolo knocked over their trash can from cleaning up the mess for the day & Kepolo obviously felt so badly as she then crouched down on all fours & put her head to the ground like in Mecca pose. I love her so much. Eveline was really nice to me as were a few of the other workers at the sanctuary.

10:25 a.m. I’m back in my room, packed up & ready to go. I’ll probably take one more trip to see the groups of bonobos. This has been a really special experience. I really enjoyed getting in & playing with the little ones, as beat up as I got, and my toe seems to be healing OK even though outside the massive amount of swarming flies congregate on it. I spent most of the morning watching the babies, & fawning over Kasai, with the dogs vying for my attention as well. I had some breakfast & was happy to have pretty good Internet access on the sanctuary’s Mac desktop.

6:14 a.m. I’m in bed reading, the Chef Papa Jean took all of my footwear other than my flip flops.

Monday August 8, 2011

9:33 p.m. I’m in bed, the electricity is off. I’m looking forward to be heading back to civilization tomorrow. I hung out with sweet little Kasai tonight. There is a new girl, Noa, here from Brussels Belgium who gave me some tips on Brussels. We had supper, I actually was able to upload some photos to MobileMe, and hopefully Christie can post them for me.

5:03 p.m.  I went out & went into the nursery, it was so much fun I think that I’d like to go and play with the young ones again tomorrow. I did get bit a few times & once on the right toe where it broke skin & bled. I just loved Lukuru who loves to get tickled which makes me laugh every time, I also have such a soft spot for the blind bonobo as well. I had a visit with Papa Jean but he could only speak French, I video taped him asking him to tell me stories about Mobutu Sese Seko & he wanted money in return for our conversation. I gave him $5 & he wasn’t happy with that so I gave him my shoes, boots & a few t-shirts. Adam & his wife Julie Calvert left today before lunch. I went down & took some photographs of the bonobos, the Internet actually worked for a few minutes before the power went off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH2zAomDr2E

9:04 a.m. I’m in my room, although we have electricity we have no Internet. Papa Jean is here today, he apparently worked here at the house when Mubutu used it for his country residence. I’ll need a translator since he speaks only French & my French is so limited. I was awake about 6:00 a.m. & went out for my morning run around the beautiful jungle bounds deep green with lush vegetation running by the many ponds. & small lakes. It seems as though when the apes come into their houses to sleep for the evening there may be a few stragglers which they leave the gate partially open to a foyer which the bonobos usually but not always hang out. I came home showered & shaved & tried unsuccessfully to get online. I had breakfast, a protein drink & a large roll with butter & jam on it, made a fuss over Kasai & talked politics with Felix the Harvard professor from Germany, we teased his girlfriend Alex about the Americans reluctance to go metric despite the rest of the planet doing so. She admitted that the Americans would never go metric unless it came from the Republicans & she claimed the Republicans will never go metric because in her words “they’re anti-science.” I also talked with Adam & his wife Julie Calverta bit. I did some push ups & sit ups before I went out for my run. A French veterinarian  arrived today & sat with us over breakfast.

Sunday August 7, 2011

8:53 p.m. My WiFi isn’t working so I used the desktop for a bit, nice to check my emails, the power will go out in the next few minutes. I hung out & played with Kasai basically most of the night. Adam & his wife leave tomorrow & I’ll try & see the bonobo babies tomorrow with them in the kindergarten. We had crepes for supper

6:22 p.m. I completed the book Heart & the Fist, & was excited that the electricity just came on but disappointed that the net is still down.

5:37 p.m. In my room, had a nap & continued reading The Heart & the Fist. I’m enjoying this book. I thought about a few if the young baby bonobos that I love, there is Kasai of course, then there’s the little cutie Lukuru who always runs over to me jumps on the door metal gate looking for a rival to come drop kick him waiting excitedly for me to tickle its neck, when I do he laughs & shrugs his neck up to guard against the tickle. Then there is the blind one, Kepolo was a pet & is older, calm & I feel so sorry for him.

4:04 p.m. Sunday is was actually really busy here, it is good to see the interest in the apes, Rocky the dog came with me & there was so many people he wanted to follow them. I am having a difficult time with me camera focusing.

3:10 p.m. Breakfast is a roll, there is a small lunch & a small supper, it is so lucky that Christie packed so many Ideal Protein packages, I’m left with 3, & I leave Tuesday.  At lunch I sat & fawned over baby Kasai.  There are some things about this place that I find so beautiful, the lakes & ponds of course, & the river running through the property, there are two termite mounds which I will always think are so cool, so Africa. There are peculiar things I’ll miss as well not the least of which is one of the helpers has the unusually highest pitched voices that I have ever heard. Shrieks of baby bonobos having fits & of course the excitement of the three time a day generator being started which means electricity & thus Internet, which ends nightly at 9:00.

10:31 a.m. I watched the three nannies get the young bonobos ready for their day of extremely rough play & frolic in the bonobo kindergarten. They bathed them & although most enjoyed their bath, one bonobo threw an absolute fit & it took all three of the ladies to wash it. I played a bit with the apes in their cages, there is Lukuru I just love who hops up on the cage & loves for me to tickle it’s neck, smiling & laughing when I do. I have to watch because ‘Shybo’ will get jealous & rough him or the blind bonobo Kepolo up. Shybo almost stole my camera, the strap was hanging out of my pocket unbeknownst to me he grabbed for it caught the strap but only a bit & just missed swiping my camera. Many people have lost cameras, watches, passports, glasses (Adam the photographer) & money. I went down to where the young ones sleep for the night & there was a commotion so I went to see them. These African ladies certainly earn their keep here, especially with all the little & sometimes not so little erections walking around.

5:44 a.m. In Mubutu’s former country residence Outside Kinshasa DRC. The sun hasn’t come up yet & I can here the chorus of various insects singing in the jungle. I woke up probably around 4:00 a.m. & I read The Heart & the Fist about a soldiers deployment to Afghanistan, a place that I am familiar with & I am glad that I taught there.

Saturday August 6, 2011

Sun peaking through a hazy African morning.

The bonobos are all orphans or now grown former orphans & would have been euthanized if it weren’t for Claudine & Lola ya Bonobo. They are in three 30, 20 & 10 acre enclosures in the jungle & a bonobo kindergarten for the babies which they have three nannies that apparently bonobos need to bond to. Unlike chimps that are fairly hardy comparatively speaking when the bonobo baby’s mother dies (which is caused by poachers taking the baby an average of 7 bonobos are killed to get one baby)  they will lose their will to live without a surrogate Mother like Eveline is to Kasai. Or the nannies to the orphans. At Lola apes roam freely in these enclosures during the day & come into caged houses in the evening & sleep in hay or hammocks. There are researchers here from Duke & Harvard testing the bonobos, & the apes participation is voluntary. I watched Kris test today & it takes about 5 minutes in which they decide if they want apples or peanuts. These animals have a terrific life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcA63m4tUuc

As cute and sweet as little Kasai is, it is deceiving The bonobos are not the peaceful loving creatures that I was anticipating. I guess if you come from chimps they are much more peaceful but for me they are still aggressive & their play to them seems malicious. I have been slapped in the face virtually every time I  visit the orphans kindergarten, there will be one or two that lightning fast will reach through the bars & ‘whap’! Smack me in the face. Yesterday an adult male walked by a smaller one in enclosure 2 & ‘thud’ kicked him right in the stomach, the walked by another & beat him bloodying it’s mouth while it cried & yelled. In enclosure 2 when the bonobos were housed for the evening , they reached through the bars of the cage holding their hands out, they often pull you into the wall with great force slamming you into the cage. They have on many occasions grabbed my hand & dug their finger nails into my hand. The sanctuary exists as a last resort to rehabilitate animals who were adopted by people when they were cute little babies like Kasai, dress them up in baby clothes & they look so sweet. Unfortunately the babies grow up to be aggressive, have the strength of 4 linebackers, so even their play can seriously injure a human. People realize that they can’t handle these animals & unfortunately the animals are often ruined. They have not learned bonobo social cues so they can often get beaten for example because they don’t know the bonobo cue to submit, & they can’t be around humans because of their strength & unpredictable nature. Sanctuary’s like Lola ya Bonobo exist as a last resort & without them the animals would be destroyed. The only place on the planet that Bonobos are found is in the Democratic Republic of Congo

11:39 a.m. Since today is a Saturday it will be busier here at the sanctuary. I watched Kris perform his economic framing experiment between peanuts & apples. Like many humans from what I saw the bonobos  will do what’s easiest even over what they prefer.

9:04 a.m.  Shrieks of bonobos having a fit are in the distance. The war in the Congo has claimed the most lives since the Second World War, 5.4 million & has left  women in the Democratic Republic of Congo raped at a rate 26 times higher than previously thought. The shockingly high number is equivalent to 1,152 women raped every day, 48 raped every hour, or four women raped every five minutes. So needless to say that bonobos are not the highest priority in the nation, they are used for bush meat but as in most cases habitat destruction & habitat loss is the biggest culprit…

I showered & the electricity went out during my shower so I missed the Internet this morning. I went for a 30 minute run which amounted to 1 & 1/2 laps around the sanctuary running through the jungle on paths that went by the placid chocolate lakes, & over bridges over small running streams. There was one point where I was running up a hill, with Tessa, the Golden Retriever who came with me for both laps, Rocky lasted the first lap & Lady the beagle joined us on the second lap, & the rising sun in the hazy African sky was a perfect orange sphere. It was a magical moment, one of those times where you realize I am here, in the jungle, I am living this. I woke up around 5:00 a.m. & the sun hadn’t come up yet, I continued reading my book the Heart & the Fist, the part where he goes through Navy Seal training, ‘Hell Week’ I have always been fascinated with this. I was riveted by every aspect of the week, including the psychology & excuses of men that couldn’t make it.  Kilimanjaro both humbled & impressed me about my constitution. I don’t know how I did it & I could have easily turned around, in fact every step I considered it, but I didn’t, I endured, I’ll never know what pushed me to do what the body was obviously rejecting, barely able to get enough oxygen with each gasping burning breath, diarrhea so bad it felt like a cold iron claw was squeezing my lower intestines, peeling off layers of clothes & spraying diarrhea meters from the trail…remembering the one guy who quipped ‘that’s got to be embarrassing’ still illicits a response from me.  Kilimanjaro humbled me in a way that made me realize, my body does have limitations, I do believe that more often than not the mind & the spirit will give up before the body will yet, climbing Kilimanjaro for me was the most difficult feat that I have ever undertaken & I have to face the fact that perhaps summiting Everest may not be in my physiology. I believe that climbing would be easier & perhaps even possible if I had months to acclimatize to higher altitudes. At any rate it made me come to terms that I do have a physiological ceiling, it was easy for others, I wish that I could say the same. At any rate reading Greitchens account of Hell Week inspired me to do my push-ups & sit-ups & go for an early morning run. The joys (touch wood) of having solid movements since I’ve been at Lola has been a blessing that I have not taken for granted.

Friday August 5, 2011

Mainly overcast some sunny breaks today

9:06 p.m. The power just went out. Adam the photographer that is here with his wife from the UK just showed us their best photos of the bonobos, some are really spectacular yet I’m really  happy with what I’ve done with my little camera. I loved up little Kasai, we had some supper with the group. I chatted a bit with Adam & his wife Julie Calvert. I was fawning over Kasai in the living room when they told me that dinner was ready. I was fighting with the extremely slow Internet. I was out for a walk & looked at some of the bonobos, it was pretty cool, I was at the end of one enclosure & there was one lone bonobo. We sat only a few feet apart, & when I got up to walk back to the house, he got up & walked right along side me following me step for step, man & beast, walking alone in unison. It was a magical moment for me.

1:51p.m I’m in my room & we have Internet. We just had lunch after I went through some photos from this mornings photo shoot.  Before I went to take some more photos of the group , I tickled & played with the orphans, the blind one Kepolo & a little wee one Lukuru are my favorites. When they’d come over though some other bonobos would come over & bully them. One of the smaller ones did something naughty to one of the caregivers so she smacked him with a stick, & he threw a little tantrum, screaming spinning around in circles before running onto the lap of another caregiver who consoled him. It was sweet to watch her sooth him. I always enjoy my time with Kasai. I was up pretty early & I went for a run & did some push-ups this morning before I showered & shaved. I wI really have to step back at times & realize I am cuddling a bonobo, it is really surreal. I am enjoying reading Heart & the Fist .

Living in Spartan conditions around the globe one realizes how excessive our lifestyle is in North America. On an annual basis in the US, estimates range as high as…

36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper used resulting in…

15 million trees pulped…

474 billion gallons of water consumed to produce the paper…

253,000 tons of chlorine applied in the bleaching process…

17.3 terawatts of electricity wasted

Talk about wasted resources… these are staggering losses that go on year-after-year in the US alone. But it looks even worse when broken down on a daily basis.

Here are the annual estimates from above calculated (divided by 365) for a day-to-day perspective…

100 million rolls of toilet paper used resulting in…

41 thousand trees pulped…

1.3 billion gallons of water consumed to produce the paper…

693 tons of chlorine applied in the bleaching process…

47 thousand megawatt-hours of electricity used

 

Thursday August 4, 2011

Overcast Mubutu’s old residence outside Kinshasa DRC (old Zaire)

9:19 p.m. I’m actually really tired the Internet is so slow it’s almost useless.  I gooed & gaaed with little Kasai until Eveline took her to bed. It is surreal to love & play with the baby bonobo while the dogs lounge around with us. I was able to FaceTime Christie. Eveline took me out for a walk with Kasai & the dogs which was really nice. I got to hold, feed & snuggle Kasai

1:49 p.m. Before Kris headed back to carry on his study of bonobos Alex, Kris & I talked about the tragedy of having animals such as primates as pets or entertainment animals. There is no way anyone could control these animals, they are just too strong & unpredictable. Some are ruined as well because they haven’t learned ‘chimp’ language for instance & when other chimps show aggression, all that they’re looking for is submission & they would stop but the animal doesn’t know how to do that. When groups say things like ‘the government can’t tell ME what to do’ attitude leads to these heinous situations. We do need rules in regulations in place to a certain extent.

12:36 p.m. To continue on yesterday’s attack on a tracker, a troop  of bonobos had been released & they attacked the trackers that were protecting them & apparently one trackers face is in really bad shape. The sanctuary has brought in a high cost surgeon for $12 000 & they are concerned first & foremost for the health of the trackers & also those bonobos are now venerable in the wild & unprotected against poachers.

We are staying at Mobutu’s old country residence that he gave to his daughter I believe. Mobutu was born  14 October 1930 & died 7 September 1997. Mobutu was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (also known as Zaire during his time in power) from 1965 to 1997. September 14 1960, a coup d’état organized by Mobutu and endorsed by the Central Intelligence Agency eventually ousted democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. Lumumba was driven to an isolated spot where three firing squads had been assembled. Although they were commanded by a Belgians it was allegedly planned by the CIA. Lumumba’s corpse was buried in a nearby shallow grave. No statement was released until three weeks after his murder. While in office Mubutu was backed by the U.S. & formed an authoritarian regime, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to purge the country of outsiders. He strengthened his power by publicly executing political rivals. To set an example, many were hanged before large audiences, including the former Prime Minister who was killed before an audience of 50,000 spectators. In 1968 Patrice Lumumba’s Minister of Education was lured out of exile on the assumption that he would be granted amnesty but was tortured and killed by Mobutu’s forces. While he was still alive, his eyes were gouged out, his genitals were ripped off, and his limbs were amputated one by one. Mobutu later moved away from torture and murder, and switched to a new tactic, buying off political rivals. He used the slogan “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer still” to describe his tactic of co-opting political opponents through bribery.

The Rumble in the Jungle was a historic boxing event that took place on October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). It had then world Heavyweight champion George Foreman against former world champion and challenger Muhammad Ali. Ali won by knocking out Foreman in the eighth round.

The event was one of Don King’s first ventures as a professional boxing promoter. He managed to get both Ali and Foreman to sign separate contracts saying they would fight for him if he could get $5 million to be their pay. However, King did not have the money. So he began looking for an outside country to sponsor the event. Zaire’s president Mobutu Sésé Seko asked for the fight to be held in his country, eager for the publicity such a high-profile event would bring.

11:08 a.m. This is such an excellent experience, I really love little Kasai who is such a sweetheart. I just showered which always makes me feel so much better, I went for a run & got about 12 minutes in until I went to the 3rd enclosure where the bonobos were waiting to get let out (they sleep in these enclosures or stone huts with hammocks & are separated into three sections or compartments) so I stopped there & admired the apes while being harassed by flies. Anyone who thought I was considering adopting a bonobo, can certainly stop worrying, first of all these apes have the best life here you could imagine here & are so well taken care of furthermore It is a misnomer that these are loving friendly apes that everyone says they are. Kasai the orphan is being raised by Eveline until she can be introduced into a troop and  is sweet. The bonobos have a lot of sex and they can be by human standards be quite aggressive. Even with the young ones yesterday one was holding out his hand through his cage, they also go in cages with hay for the evening, & I was like, how sweet…then smack! I got a slap under the chin, you have to watch that one doesn’t get too close or there are a couple that will reach between the bars & slap you, hard! I really like the blind one Lukuru who is so sweet & holds out his hands to feel the outline of my face. Some others though you must watch though as apparently they bite I guess many bonobo keepers are missing fingers & many people have lost their cameras, watches etc. They are waiting to steal anything you have & destroy it. I love it here the grounds are so peaceful & beautiful. The historical significance of it being Mubutu’s country residence also is pretty cool. Having said all of that I look forward to returning to Canada  I miss my wife & long to see my dogs, have a hot shower & sleep in my own bed. I love little Kasai but I miss my family so much.

4:51 a.m. I am in my rather nice bedroom with a wall of real rock stone at Lola ya Bonobo just outside of Kinshasa DRC. There is an affectionate skinny little brownish tabby cat who is pretty happy that I let her in. She is loving up a storm here. There is an assortment of friendly dogs & cats that hang around the residence. There is Rocky a shorthaired male Golden retriever cross, Tess a blonder longer haired Golden retriever, Mystique a skinny version of our dog Keena, who will demand attention with the ‘Keena nudge’ much like Keena does. There are quite a few cats that also have the function of keeping the rat population down. Rat urine can carry harmful bacteria for the bonobos. The rooms & living room is quite nice, the sanctuary I am living at used to be the country estate of Mubutu. Did you know that there is a malaria that can kill you in 4 days? The mosquitoes have been pretty much a non issue in Africa until the Congo, they are quite small here but there are certainly quite a few of them. The chef Papa Jean was Mubutu’s chef. There are three enclosures, I believe the sanctuary  is 37 hectares which is about 90 acres. The bonobos are fenced in with electric fence & the whole bonobos are friendly loving creatures is a bit of a misnomer. One little brat & a male were throwing dirt at us. I laughed as it was actually pretty funny. Many bonobo zoo keepers are missing fingers & in fact as soon as I arrived they had just received news that a group of recently released bonobos attacked one of the trackers that they actually new & were friendly with. The extent of his (they may have been more than one tracker injured) injuries were uncertain yesterday but the reports indicated that the wounds were to the face. The food here has been very good & Claudine who started the sanctuary lives in Kinshasa. Here at the sanctuary I am actually pretty fortunate there are quite a few Anglophones here. Kris a Phd student from Duke, Alex a Harvard grad  & she is completing her doctorate at Duke, Felix a German researcher from Harvard. Zanna a Brit who has her doctorate. The academics are studying the bonobos & testing them on their intelligence. Antoine a Francophone is building a new nursery, he has a French speaking African girlfriend. Then there is Eveline who showed me around, she speaks very little English. She is the surrogate mother for Kasai a 2 year old baby bonobo that is the cutest little thing. There are two visitors, a husband & wife team of photographers, Adam from Ireland & his wife Julie From Brisbane Australia, they now live in the UK. Their photography equipment is incredible, They have several massive lens that are a foot across in diameter.

Wednesday August 3, 2011

I went to sleep pretty much as soon as the generator went out which was about 9:00 p.m. I was on the couch next to Eveline loving up baby Kasai. I was able to FaceTime Christie briefly before the computer froze so she could see baby Kasai. The screen of my iPad is smudged from Kasai kissing the image on the screen. Kasai is definitely the treat of the experience so far. I sat around swooning over the baby. I had a really tasty meal prepared earlier by Papa Jean. Eveline took me around the sanctuary which is pretty beautiful & has lakes, a pool, & a river running through the property. There is generally electricity from Kinshasa but something happened so we only have from 6-9 p.m. of generator power & even with that the wireless is fairly unreliable but I have wireless! The sanctuary is beautiful, I got quite a few mosquito bites. There are a lot of snakes here so swimming in the river is not suggested. After walking the perimeter of the sanctuary with Eveline who was carrying baby Kasai in a baby pouch at her front, we went to the kindergarten dorms where the babies & young ones sleep for the evening. They are in 4 large cages filled with hay & a couple in one cage were afraid & went to the back, one little guy is quite the brat apparently he bites too, he reached out & I was all like ‘hey little cutie’ & he slapped\scratched under my chin with a upwards cuff. I was talking to him & he was sticking his belly out against the cage when I felt something warm & wet on my feet since I was wearing sandals, & I was getting peed on by a bonobo. Nice. Apparently in the final cage one of those guys will bite too but he seemed OK with me & he just wanted attention. When the other two in that cage came over & stuck their hands out for me to touch & hold them he often would come over & position himself in front of them so I would give him the love. I was wary of him since he is also known to bite & be aggressive, I fell in love with the blind bonobo Kepolo… the road in was typical of an underdeveloped poor African nation, garbage strewn everywhere, little order & a lot of chaos driving, extensive urban decay so entrenched it is hard to imagine the Congo ever getting out of this poverty. One man walked across the street with a small burlap sack over his head & two small holes for the eyes cut out. I have no idea what the hood was hiding. One can only imagine. There have been 4 million people killed in the war here. Rape is not only a national tragedy but a way of life here. It has been a means of war. Many Hutus from the Rwandan genocide came across the border & are still here. Kinshasa has 10 million people & is everything that one sees in the poorest of nations anywhere. Arriving to the Democratic Republic of Congo formerly Zaire, home of the Rumble the Jungle the iconic fight between Muhammed Ali & George Foreman…boom ayah Ali! The passport control lady tried to hold me up asking for my letter of invitation (which I submitted to the visa office in Canada & they kept it) so I played stupid & pretended not to understand what she was asking for. She told me to go & wait by the wall behind her, I stood behind the open door a the back of the small kiosk, she yelled ‘attendee!’ several times, again I played stupid until she got fed up & finally gave me my passport, after that it was easy I waited for my baggage which took awhile in a faded, dirty beat up Kinshasa airport, there was a man in an orange vest holding a sign with my name on it, when. Got my bags he passed me off to another man who in turn passed me off to another man who eventually passed me off to Freddie In The parking lot who spoke little to no English & drove me to a Western Union to get money out for Lola. We drove through the chaos, garbage, poverty & confusion until we reached very bumpy, very sandy roads leading up to the sanctuary. As I walked up the peaceful place I saw what was the kindergarten in the back with bonobos frolicking & playing. I walked up the steep embankment on makeshift African style stairs carved into the earth & supported with sticks to the porch where lunch was waiting for me & Eveline was holding a sleeping baby bonobo, Kasai. I was mesmerized. We had lunch as Claudine & Zanna discussed the tragedy of the bonobo attack.

10:08 a.m. I am sitting on board the flight from Nairobi to Kinshasa.

8:37 a.m. I’m sitting in a stifling hot Nairobi airport & with all the problems this morning I forgot to get water. My iPad wouldn’t shut on or off, my camera beginning to go on the fritz (it won’t focus at times & the telephoto lens has been staying out even when I shut the camera off, the microphone on the video camera cutting in & out). The airport this morning was unlike anything that I’ve ever seen,  traveling a line that snaked through the entire airport out to the door. It took a Dutch lady an hour to go 3 meters. Then there was the passport lines same as the baggage, people are so slow here it took the ticket counter 15 minutes to process the Dutch lady & she had her boarding pass. The passport booth was no better, but my flight was delayed &, I was in good shape. They never brought my breakfast on time so when I was FaceTiming with Christie she suggested that I call & I did. I had a cold shower this morning not knowing what is in store for me in the Congo.