Bats, man!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

During my last week in Rwanda, I spent a few days out in Kibuye with the six other girls from the study abroad program. I had never been to Kibuye, but it turned out to be a beautiful little town right on lake Kivu with a breathtaking view of the sunset.

We decided to take a boat out to an island that was known for being home to a ridiculous number of fruit-bats,  I heard somewhere around 3 million. The island looked like a huge hill just floating on the lake, covered with trees

After the boat docked on the island, our guide lead us up a steep trail towards the bats. five minutes into the hike, thousands of bats were flying over our heads. The guide continued up the trail, but I think we were so amazed by the party going on above our head that a few of us stopped for a bit to get some pictures. It was a sight! I really could have ended the journey right there, I saw the bats and they were awesome! But after realizing our guide had continued up the trail without half the group I decided to book it on up the hill. 
As I reached the top of the hill I found the tour guide just kind of standing there in silence.  I figured he was bumped because, by then, all of the bats had retreated back into the trees which were now below us.  I wasn't too upset because I had already seen them.

As soon  as the last person reached the top of the hill, our tour guide suddenly broke the silence by turning into a crazy man. Just like that he started clapping his hands and shouting and screeching. Within seconds, we were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of bats, above, below, and in between.   It completely put to shame the sight we had stopped for at the bottom of the trail. 

That day, while standing on top of that hill, I realized something: perspectives can teach us a ton. I think a lot of times we have these awesome experiences, we see what we came to see and we even took a couple of cool photos too. And although our tour guide continues up the path, we pack up and head back towards the boat, satisfied because for me, at times, I am far too easily pleased. 
But what we experience is sometimes just a small taste of what is up the rest of the hill; and as our Guide continues to lead us on our paths He whispers to Himself you think this is great, oh, you just wait! So the decision is ours, will we follow or head back to the boat?

1 comment :

  1. Would you add your bat photo as a citizen-science observation to the AfriBats project on iNaturalist?:

    AfriBats will use your observations to better understand bat distributions and help protect bats in Africa.

    Please locate your picture on the map as precisely as possible to maximise the scientific value of your records.

    Many thanks!

    PS: these are straw-coloured fruit bats (Eidolon helvum)