Continued... to meet our deadline of arriving in Nairobi in time for a world conference. Back then Ruhengeri was no more than a village, unlike the sprawling town it is now. There were no road signs or obvious indications of a main thoroughfare, just a series of dirt tracks leading into the darkness of a moonless African night without street lights. Asking for directions to find the right track to lead us on our way we soon attracted a small group of locals, all curious about these Mzungu's (white people), arriving so late in their village. Ignoring our urgency in their eagerness to make conversation and to see what they could glean from our presence they surrounded our Land Rover, some cheerfully asking us questions while others argued over the best route.
Our overland expedition had taught us one thing - Africa is on a different time line and to quote a Swahili proverb, 'White man has the watch, but we have the time', pretty much sums it up.
We had come to accept this concept, happy to be exploring all the countries on this incredible adventure, however, some of our travelling companions were more determined to reach their destination on time, or at the very least before the conference closed, which we also accepted if somewhat reluctantly. Our dismay came when we discovered that this was where Dian Fossey was based and some of the locals were offering to take us to meet her and see the gorillas. Naturally we would have jumped at this but we were out voted and we continued our journey.
Some thirty odd years later our dreams were realised when we finally got round to visiting Rwanda again, this time specifically to see the gorillas. Anyone who has done this will have some idea what an extraordinary experience this is, add that to the feeling of a 'long awaited dream' explains just how privileged and grateful we felt.