By our reporter
A group of ten students from Simpson College in Iowa, USA and assistant professor Virginia Croskery will spend the two first weeks of May 2011, studying art and apes in Rwanda.
Croskery, who teaches music courses at Simpson, said the first half of the trip will be spent working in the Gishwati Forest on chimpanzees recently established by the Great Ape Trust.
The latter half of the trip will involve working in Rwandan schools under the auspices of the Art of Conservation, which educates students about the importance of health, conservation and the environment through artistic means.
“Highlights of the trip will include a trek to see mountain gorillas in the wild, a visit to the genocide memorial and the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali,” Croskery said.
The group will also be planting trees, organizing a library and teaching Rwandans some English, among other things. To prepare for the trip, Croskery is having the students read several books about Rwanda and mountain gorillas.
The group meets weekly to discuss the readings, plan and organize for the trip. The students are currently collecting donated art supplies and toiletry items to take with them on their trip.
Each student plans to carry about a suitcase full of items that will be donated to Rwandans.
Some of the items the students plan to take with them include: letter stencils, paint, painter’s tape, roller paint brushes, bars of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, musical instruments, girls sports bras, boys jock straps, running shoes of all sizes, acrylic paint, duct tape, paint brushes, artist pencils without erasers and blank CDs and DVDs for recording.
The group will blog about their experiences online at arwandanadventure.blogspot.com.