Climbing Mount Karisimbi

CLIMBING MOUNT KARISIMBI , a snow-capped volcano between Rwanda and the DR Congo, the tallest peak in the Virungas, was an arduous and fascinating experience. Many mountains, no matter how high, give you ice-field after ice field, lenghthy scrambles over loose scree and unending deja vu of switch-backs. But Mount Karisimbi is a consummate entertainer, performing…

My mum, the pilot

Once upon a time, a little girl was told that women shouldn’t fly airplanes … I grew up knowing ‘mum flew planes’. This was one of a series of simple facts in my childhood: my sister and I were born in London; our parents came from India; dad sang; mum flew. She told us stories…

Travels with Dr Muss – Healing the Memories

I started ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’ over 15 months ago and now, 34 posts and 50,000 words later I’m finally nearing the home straight. Thanks so much for following this series so far, I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it and going through my journal which had lay untouched for 10 years before I starting blogging….

When Memories Come Calling

Memories are like kites dancing on warm zephyrs on high – with just a tug, and if our strings of remembrance are strong enough, we can bring them down from the ether, in to our grasps. Often, just tiny reminders can trigger them off; that perfume scent to recall an old flame; the smell of…

Images of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat may not provide you with solitude at times and watching sunrise can be something of a tourist trap. The Bayonne featuring smiling stone faces ***

A Weekend Break in the Northern Hemisphere #2: Kampala and Lake Victoria

Crossing the border from Rwanda to Uganda, a traverse from Francophone to Anglophone Africa, offered subtle changes from the bus window for those who cared to notice them – suddenly billboards were written in English; driving on the right became wrong; there were cricket pitches. Uganda, proud African nation through and through, still had hints…

A hike up Mount Bisoke and a lesson in understanding gorilla sounds

One Friday afternoon, with Freddy’s permission, I snuck out from work early – we had decided to climb the perfectly conical volcano, the 3,700 metre high Mount Bisoke, and Mike and I were soon on the road in a pick-up driving to a town in north-west Rwanda called Ruhengeri (today called Musanze); we passed terraced…

Sometimes on Tuesdays, always with tea (Part Two)

(To read part one of this post please click here) On one of our regular meet-ups Vincent* told me how he was rescued as a 13 year old orphan at the end of the Rwandan genocide by a platoon of soldiers. They took him, his younger sister, niece and brother to a UNICEF camp for…

Sometimes on Tuesdays, always with tea

Sometimes you can’t see how incredible a person is when you first meet them. Still waters run deep, people are like rivers whose long courses from distant springs are uncertain, or like books, whose covers give mere hints to what is inside. It takes time to get to know them, or perhaps it takes some…