Robert Bitariho

My best times at ITFC are the get-together parties we used to attend that involved various stakeholders such as UWA, CARE & IGCP. These parties would be organized at the park headquarters in Buhoma where all BMCA stakeholders informally met over lunch, dinner and drinks. It was one of the best ways the working relationships between BMCA stakeholders was enhanced. One such party that comes to my mind is the end of year party in 1995 held at Buhoma, it was well attended and involved peacecorp volunteers, CARE, ITFC, IGCP and all UWA staff. 

Not related to the partying was one incident where I took a foreign researcher, Bob Drewes, for a walk through the bamboo zone trail as he searched for frogs and reptiles. That day we encountered an elephant on our trail and I remember running off without a warning to Bob who also took off in fright, following me. I have never seen such a scared Bob since then, he lost his Vietnam war hat in the process of running! We ran for about 20 minutes until we were far away from the elephant and I remember Bob telling me he has never been scared like that in his life. He said he had been in Vietnam, but was never scared as that time. He actually did not know why I was running until later when I explained it to him. He said I was too fast and could have broken the world's 100m record...

The biggest challenge I can remember in my early days at ITFC was transport and communications, there was no FM radio yet, no mobile phone communications etc. The only communications then was by radio calls through CARE-DTC radios. After the 1999 attack by Rwandan rebels in Buhoma, Bwindi was considered unsafe and thereafter the park became almost saturated with soldiers .
            
Robert Bitariho is now ITFC's Director, after a long history with the institute, dating back to 1995.