I leave Nyungwe tomorrow and head for Kigali for my last week of work and the shutting down of my Rwandan life.  And it’s time to stop thinking about the politics of war and claim and counter claim in this region.  Well, almost…

Today is D-Day in Eastern DRC for anyone carrying a gun and calling themselves anything other than the UN or the Congolese army.

This time the UN has teeth and everyone is wondering what will happen next.  Whatever does happen, it can be sure that the poorest will suffer the most.  Obviously.  As mentioned elsewhere, over five million people have died over the last twenty years as a result of this war.  And even though the UN appears to be trying to bring an end to it, inevitably there will still be thousands of people displaced in this next phase.  And so it goes on.

The timing of the BBC New article yesterday on Rwanda recruiting children and others is also rather interesting don’t you think?

Today it’s also been reported that an oil exploration outfit from the UK is planning to trample over the incredibly important Virunga National Park in DRC of which borders are shared with Rwanda (and Uganda) and is home to the small mountain gorilla population I’ve had the greatest of pleasure of seeing some of.

Now that we’re all depressed, let’s move on.

After 18 months of living here with just a few forays out of the country, I’m starting to wonder how it’s going to feel when I leave.  Warm, I hope.  I’ve been cold fairly consistently for the five months I’ve been living on top of a hill (2345metres/7693 feet).  And whilst we’re in the middle of the dry (and slightly warmer) season, the last two days have been damp, dark and cold.

I’m incredibly sad to say goodbye to my friends, colleagues, baboons, and the forest itself (some of these categories can be interchanged).  But it’s time to move on and I’m incredibly excited about the future and returning home (after a little holiday).  Especially now that I’ve learned Nick Cave is playing at my local theatre around the time of my birthday.  Going to a gig is a sweet luxury I’ve missed – as long as Zoe manages to get tickets, that is…

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The warm glow of a new – yet to be realised – adventure (starting in Zanzibar!), has yet to be ignited in me. Instead, I’m fighting to (unsuccessfully) bat back goodbye tears.  There is so much going on inside my head: saying goodbye to friends, leaving the cocoon of my volunteering life, stepping out of a uniquely constructed and controlled environment into what? Wracking my conscience over what I have and have not achieved, what could I have done differently? Have I learned anything? And on and on.

And in the end?  I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.  It’s been an incredible experience. I just have no way of being able to articulate it at the moment. All I can say right now, is that sometimes it feels like I’ve been holding my breath for a very very long time.  I don’t think this is specifically to do with my mental state; I think it may be to do with where I live.