Rokundo Leaning

In 1997, I was working in Ruhengeri, Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide, with a team from Medicos del Mundo, the Spanish sister organization of Doctors of the World, when we were attacked by the Interahamwe. 

I survived only because I was under their dead bodies. Earlier that day, we had planned a hike the following weekend into the Virunga Mountains to see the gorillas. They never got to go.

During the Pandemic,  I began to donate proceeds from my photography to animal conservation. Several of my friends suggested that I also photograph the gorillas  but deep in my psyche, the gorillas were inextricably linked to that fateful day. 

In a conversation nearly 25 years later with a friend, she suggested that photographing the gorillas might actually be a way of honoring my fallen colleagues. She also gently reminded me that they were called “mountain gorillas” for a reason  since they were difficult to access in their hilly terrain. Determined to follow through, I started training to be more physically fit. And in September, I made the trek, not once, but four times up various mountains, with my prosthetic leg.

During each trek, I kept my fallen colleagues in my heart. During the last trek, I came across Rokundo, a magnificent silverback in the Mgahinga hills. I had the opportunity to just sit with him, and I swear he understood why I came. At one point, we made eye contact, which is when I took this picture. 

All proceeds from the sale of this print will go to Doctors of the World.

September 2022 in Mgahinga National Park, Uganda.

Limited edition of 6.

Printed on Hahnemühle Baryta Photo Rag 315g, a natural white paper with a barium sulfate finish.

Available options  choose at check out:

Unframed Large: 30”x45”           $3,500.00   6/6remaining

Matte & Framed Large: 33”x48”        $5,500.00