As we have written before on this blog, there is a big water problem in the area around the Gorilla Sector of Virunga National Park. The irony is that it rains quite a lot here, but there are no lakes or rivers. The combination of being on the slope of the Mikeno and the nature of the volcanic soil means that most of the water disappears quickly after it rains.
Within the park there are several washes (here they call them “torrents”) that look like dry river beds with big rocks and sand. There is one big one that goes from the park boundary up toward the Mikeno volcano. The Rangers often use this torrent as a trail to head into the park if the gorillas are in that area.
Children with bottles of water collected within the park.
The Humba Group is currently near this torrent, so yesterday when I accompanied the Rangers we walked up it to go into the park. After couple kilometers, we encountered a group of children and women in the torrent.
Ranger Martin talks to two of the girls
They were bottling water from small pools that had collected between the rocks and sand. Technically being in the forest is illegal and the Rangers should arrest anyone trespassing, but how can you blame them for trying any way they can to find water for their families?
The children were carrying heavy weights of water
Ranger Martin warned the women not to go into the park anymore
The children had dug holes in the sand to allow the water to collect
We let them go on their way back to the village with the water