Over the years, Rwanda has been bestowed with such fitting monikers as “The Land of a Thousand Hills” and “The Land of Perpetual Spring” to describe its natural splendor and beauty. Nowhere is this beauty more apparent than at Imbabazi, where we are surrounded by a number of the natural features that make up Rwanda’s diverse topography: volcanoes in our backyard, Lake Kivu in the distance, dense mountain forests home to the famous gorillas, and lush green hills and valleys as far as the eye can see. With all the ins and outs of daily life, it is sometimes easy to forget just how lucky we are to be living in such an amazing corner of the world.

Over the last few weeks, we have been striving to take more time to stop and appreciate the beauty of the world around us here at Imbabazi. This appreciation comes in many forms: going on a hike with the kids (sometimes the dogs tag along too!) to explore the hills, take in the views, and find new paths to tread; walking the 7 kilometers from the orphanage to the main paved road and back; jogging from the orphanage to nearby villages; or making dried flower pressings from our bountiful gardens, just to name a few.

 In addition to exploring the physical environment and getting some exercise, these excursions allow us to take part in the integral Rwandan custom of greeting friends and neighbors. Not only are the people in surrounding villages thrilled to be visited by the children and the ‘muzungus’ (foreigners) who work with them, but it’s also a good opportunity for community outreach and cultural exchange beyond the orphanage walls. Now that the rainy season is coming to an end, we hope to discover more hidden ecological treasures in the months to come!