Beyond The Borders Of Virunga National Park
 Farmland at the border of Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Farmland at the border of Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

What happens beyond Virunga's borders? Life. The Grind. More or less, the same thing everywhere else in the world, just with fewer resources and at a lower quality of living. That's not to say that things are extremely rosy inside of Virunga, just a comment on the area in general.

I really like the approach Virunga takes to raising money and spending their donations. I regret not taking a photo of it, but in my room one night I noticed there was a card that mentioned the way the money that comes into the park is spent. Besides the normal things you would expect such as paying the salaries of the employees and general equipment and infrastructure costs, a large amount is spent developing the neighboring communities. The park clearly recognizes the importance of having their neighbors on their side, and funding improvements in roads, water access, schools, etc... is the route they're taking.

If memory serves, it was something like 30 or even 50% of all their income goes right back out to the community. And from driving around in the Congo, the communities need all the help they can get. The quality of life is quite low. When people lack food security, they'll do anything to survive, whether that hurts the park or not. I hope the park continues their work, both inside their borders and out.