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Monkey Business


I teach at the National University of Rwanda's School of Journalism and Communication on Tuesdays and Thursday -- from 8 AM until 5 PM, with a two hour break for lunch. Every morning I hail a moto which takes me from my house in the Butare suburb of Taba to campus. It's about a ten minute ride that's a straight shot down Butare's Main Street, which look like it's straight out of a western flick, starring an entirely Rwandan cast. The buildings are low storefronts and there's a dusty, sun-exposed feel. Driving through, I inhale the smell of diesel, not horse manure.

But as I approach campus shady eucalyptus trees protect me from the sun's rays. And with each cool inhale, it's like I'm in my own personal cough drop bubble. Ah, the sweet minty smell of eucalyptus.

The university guard gives me a nod at the main entrance, then lifts the metal bar to let us moto up the final stretch to the main building. This morning as we proceeded up the campus road, past students arm in arm with their backpacks and books I saw something I had never seen before. A group of stubborn monkeys who had swung down from their branches to occupy the road in a seemingly rascally revolt were stopping traffic. They bounded about -- off the pavement into a tree, then back down, leaping and checking to see if the audience still was watching. I took out my camera and tried to take pictures.


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