Monthly Archives: May 2008

Coughing and Sneezing in Susa Group Part 3

Susa Group female Rwandarushya with her six-month-old baby, still healthy. Twelve days after the first reported case, I made another monitoring visit. The silverbacks were clearly improving, including the chief. Kurira ate bamboo shoots hungrily, having finally changed locations. Rwandarushya’s six-month-old baby cautiously crawled away from his mother. She pulled him right back. I tried […]

Coughing and Sneezing in Susa Group Part 2

Kurira, the leader among the five Susa Group silverbacks, all of which became sick with a cough and lethargy during the May 2008 outbreak. On the sixth day of the outbreak, it was my turn to visit Susa Group. The coughs from the sick silverbacks reverberated through the forest. Kurira had barely moved his family […]

Coughing and Sneezing in Susa Group Part 1

Umoja after surgery to repair herniated intestines riding on his mother’s back, Kwitonda Group. I’ll always remember the day Umoja looked at me, cried out, and then crawled swiftly toward his mother on two elbows and one knee. Five days after surgery, he no longer needed our help. Nothing in his behavior or appearance suggested […]

Umoja Checks Continue

Grooming session with Umoja, Nyiramurema, Kwitonda, and others. Six days after Umoja’s surgery, Magda returned from checking on him with a worried expression. Her report sounded exactly like mine from the day before: he was alert, whimpering, crawling, nursing well, and nibbling—but not swallowing—bamboo leaves. Umoja could still develop complications, and we’d both hoped his […]

Following Umoja

Nyiramurema carrying Umoja one year ago, Kwitonda Group, Rwanda. For the better part of a week, I woke up at odd moments during the night thinking about Umoja and Nyiramurema. I felt sorry for the mother with her injured eye and missing foot, yet amazed by her strength and stamina. I wished we could relieve […]

Umoja’s Case: Part 3

Nyiramurema carrying Umoja the day before surgery. Nyiramurema seemed to realize her mistake. She turned sharply and headed uphill before the trackers even got close. Still woozy from the anesthetic, she tried to run, limping as usual, and stumbling in the effort to carry her infant. It didn’t help that she’s blind in one eye. […]

Umoja’s Case: Part 2

Nyiramurema and others groom Umoja. We gave up after three hours. The group stayed together, and the opportunity to dart never came. We did watch Umoja nurse, and we photographed his wounds. We could see holes in the exposed intestinal tissue, and interpreted them to be in the omentum, the fatty tissue that covers and […]