One does not simply walk into the DRC

L’Esperance, the hilltop orphanage in Rwanda across an expansive lake from dual Congolese volcanoes.

We began our week of forestry, frolicking with children, and painting with the not-so steady boat ride into the beachfront property of the L’esperance Orphanage. After the 45 minute walk up to the colorful orphanage we arrived to find something of a paradise. Victor, the Guatemalan director of L’Esperance opened his home to us and among the spoils were ancient National Geographics and even a guitar. With the Congo in the distance the night sky was adorned with stars, distant lightning, and the glow of volcanoes. With a constant stream of pineapples and mangoes there really wasnt much to be desired from the near-self sustaining orphanage/plantation/eucalyptus forest.

Days consisted of aiding the Orphanage in practical endeavors followed by interactions with the orphanage population and ended with nights of gazing out on the DRC’s constant combination of thunderstorm and volcano action. Sadly talks of an expedition to the Mount Doom-esque land of the Congo were quickly shut down with a stern “you shall not pass”.

Moving past my forced Lord of the Rings references, our time at L’Esperance has been guided by Victor. Victor, the often hilarious director of L’Esperance has shown us quite the time. From playing volleyball with the orphans to hours of machete work our time at L’Esperance has been something special. Yet we are off again, first to Dar and then to Kilimanjaro and Moshi as planned for our free travel.

Gus Swanson, Signing off.