06 April 2009

We saw monkeys

Today for the first time since we moved here, we saw monkeys on our street. It's been a pretty standard rule of thumb that the monkeys, vervet monkeys to be precise, don't come down the mountain as far as where we live. They get to about two streets up from us and stay there. They are seen as a pest here and some people get dogs and big rubber snakes to scare them out of their yards, and other people feed them. I've seen a couple monkeys tied up as pets and I saw lots of monkeys in Tanzania, but I hadn't seen them "in the wild" here in Burundi.

We were driving down our street this morning when a small, furry gray body with a long tail ran across the road and jumped a wall. I said, "Cat or monkey?!?!" and when we pulled up to the spot where the furry little body had crossed, we saw two vervet monkeys in a tree, calling to their friends that were in a tree in a yard across the street. We could hear dogs in the yard barking. We sat there watching the monkeys for a while. They just sat there screeching and we decided it was time to move on when the attraction became the two muzungus watching monkeys rather than the actual monkeys. 

The novelty of having monkeys, rather than say, raccoons or skunks, is still pretty cool to me. We wonder if it was a fluke that they came down into this neighborhood or if they're on a quest for new ground. We have fruit trees and no dogs, so maybe we'll actually see them in our yard some time soon. 

Maybe I should look in to getting that rabies vaccination, if we're going to have monkeys in the yard.

(Photo from wikipedia.)

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