The last few days since my last final at Hamline have included many interactions in which I have had the opportunity to share that I am traveling to Rwanda. One of the most positive interactions was with Mark at REI. He was the ideal person to ask for help in choosing specific supplies I needed for the trip. He had been to Rwanda himself with his wife and shared his own story of trekking to see the gorillas. As a decently fit person that hikes relatively often he said that the guides had them go on the more challenging hike which took a bit more time and a lot more energy according to him. He advised being honest about your fitness level with the gorilla guides. He showed me a picture of how close he was to a gorilla which made me even more excited about that aspect of the trip. I already know that it is going to be one of my favorite parts.
Gorillas share 95-99% of our DNA and Rwanda is really one of the only places where we still have the ability to connect with this species. Under these circumstances, I think it is a great supplement to our restorative justice studies to attempt to understand the multiple perspectives on ecotourism that might exist in Rwanda and the role it plays socially, economically, and politically in a country that is "comparably the size of Maryland."