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Catching Monkeys

By Rutagengwa Claude Shema

Regional Coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)


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     In some regions of India, more and more jungle has be cleared
to make room for new villages because of the growing population.
Most animals that used to live in those forests have withdrawn or
disappeared, except the monkeys.  They enter those villages and
instead of picking fruit from trees, they look for leftovers.  They
are smart and observe when people are away from home, then enter
the kitchen and help themselves.  If the door is locked, they break
open a window and ransack the kitchen to look for food.

     Because the people in those areas believe in reincarnation,
they do not want to hurt or kill any animal, because they believe
that a monkey might be a deceased relative.  But they do not like
monkeys to burglarize their homes either.  So someone came up with
a brilliant, humane way to catch those monkeys.  They make metal
vases with a wide body and a narrow opening at the top, screw them
onto a window sill, and drop a banana inside.  A monkey can smell
and see the banana, puts his hand into the vase and grabs the
banana, trying to pull it out.  But the clenched fist with the
fruit is too wide to come out through the narrow neck of the vase.
And those monkeys are stubborn, they never let go of a fruit once
they have found it.  So they are stuck there for hours, with their
hand inside the vase.  Twice a day, an animal control officer
patrols the village, and when he sees a monkey, covers it with a
burlap bag.  Now the monkey lets go, is fed a banana, and all the
monkeys caught that day are brought by truck deep into a forest
from where they don't return to the village.

     Next time we are about to make a monkey out of ourselves by
refusing to let go of a grudge, fear, worry or anger, we will
remember that story, let go and forgive, and feel free and happy.



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