I come from Kanombe in Rutchuru territory. I was born there in 1949.
In 1988 I was taken on as a track cutter in the Mikeno sector on the Bush Project which began the habituation of the gorillas.
To be ranger is at once crazy and lucky – many of our comrades have been killed.
I remember during the period when the Rwandan refugees were here, the FDLR occupied almost all the forests of Mikeno. They wanted to mount an attack on Rwanda. We kept on following the gorillas and did our work as normal. At one point to the Rwandan soldiers made Bukima patrol post their headquarters from which to continue their search for the FDLR. It was a painful moment for us because our families weren’t able to plant any seeds because they had been stolen by the FDLR. One day during this period the Rwandans needed someone who knew the forest well to track the FDLR and to help them to plan their attack. Unfortunately, that month I was the Elected Official. The day before this terrible day I had been visited by the FDLR: they stole all my cattle and forced me to accompany them, carrying a half bag of beans, to the camp they had set up in the forest. I had only just got away and got home when I had to go to work for the Rwandans as a guide or scout! Imagine the state I was in! We set off at dawn. I can’t remember how I got back to the patrol post after the battle started but it was a great relief when I got there.
Today, 15 years later, I am still in the same sector but in a calmer environment, with lots of projects related to the gorilla families in full swing. I love my wife Nibera Nyirachuri and my six children, who live with me in Kanombe.