On a visit to the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda once I found myself clinging to thick nettle bushes covering a steep slope, trying not to wake a huge gorilla, which had built itself a nest in the forest to take a nap, flat on its back.

Its one hand, huge and covered in what appeared to be padded calluses like that of a worker in one of the coltan mines on the other side of the mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo or of a convict in a work detail in an American movie, lay to one side, looking from another perspective more like a sensitive sculptor’s, or a writer’s, though needing an extra large typewriter in the latter case...

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