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Uganda Retrospective Our thoughts, experiences and photos from six months as volunteers for the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda.

In the Shadow of Dr. Jane

USA | Thursday, 1 May 2008 | Views [696]

Our hero

Our hero

When does a trip actually begin?  When you board the plane?  When you purchase your tickets?  Or when you first start dreaming of the destination?  I couldn’t have known it at the time but this trip began more than 35 years ago.  I had returned to college after three years in the Army and a tour in Vietnam and had decided to become a science teacher.  At the advice of the head of the biology department I read In the Shadow of Man, by Dr. Jane Goodall.   In 1972 she was nearly as unknown as David Greybeard, Flo, Frodo, and the other chimpanzees of Gombe but that book stayed with me.

 Jane Goodall became a fixture in National Geographic and on Public Television in the next three decades and we followed her stories.  As a result, Connie and I ‘adopted’ two orphaned chimps from the Jane Goodall Institute in 2002.  Petit Prince lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Baluku resides on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria, Uganda.  The following year we were invited to an intimate fund-raising event in Denver with Dr. Jane.  She is petite, gracious and emits a radiance that is difficult to describe.  Her dedication to making the world a better place for humans as well as chimpanzees is infectious . . . so infectious that when we met with her again in autumn of 2005 we signed on as volunteers for six months in the forests of Uganda.  This is our story.

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