Monkey Business for Breakfast
Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 11:06PM
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Lweza Conference Center in Kampala, Uganda, is a guest house owned and operated by the Church of Uganda.  It is clean, cheap, and secure.  It will never be classified by a series of stars as is the Ritz Hotel in
Paris.  That it is not.  It does not pretend to be star-worthy. Working as security guards at Lweza, our best friends are a daily inspiration to us.  Because of them, we are able to do our work in Uganda.  They carry all of our dozens of boxes, luggage, and all of our personal paraphernalia, and are at our beck and call to fulfill our every need.  We love them and they love us.  Some of the security guards’ names are Kyekyo (Cheechoo), David, Michael.  At twelve o’clock midnight every night, they release six guard dogs that roam the grounds and keep us all secure.  Once every night the canine security group break into chorus for about five minutes.  Then they stop.  Most people complain about it but I think it’s beautiful. While we sleep during the night the guards are alert and watch over the compound and do their Bible study together.  One night as they were sitting on the veranda, one of our team members could hear their low mumbling talk while trying to sleep.  She was disturbed because they were right outside her bedroom window.  She got up and walked around to the veranda but when she saw that they were doing Bible study, she didn’t have the heart to ask them to be quiet.  I suggested she put a pillow over her head.  They are there every morning to take Mike in his wheel chair to the dining room.

Because Lweza stands up a ways from Entebbe Road, which is the main road, it has no noise, no pollution, but plenty of wildlife.  It is a miniature jungle. It is never a surprise to see dozens of monkeys scurrying across the lawns, jumping into the trees.  One can occasionally see a green mamba snake approaching the back stairs.  The snake is promptly cut in half by an observant security guard, or called to their attention by a screaming guest.  The best time to see monkeys is when we go down to the dining room for breakfast. Breakfast consists of tea, bananas, toast, eggs and an occasional meat.

When Don Richardson and his family were missionaries in the South Pacific Islands, and they ate macaroni and cheese for dinner, the indigenous people thought they were eating monkey brains, a rare culinary treat in their eyes.  Mrs. Richardson assured their guests that they didn’t relish monkey brains or monkey meat of any kind and that this was a dish they brought from home in the USA, better known to Americans as Kraft Mac & Cheese.

At Lweza guest house the monkeys join us at breakfast time when it is cool on the veranda outside.  Fortunately for us, there is glass and steel bars between us and the curious primates.  The Muzungus (white people—us) are in the cage.  This is reverse of the Woodland Park Zoo.  They are staring at US.  The Ugandan people cannot get them to come close because they always shoo them away.  They come close to us, however, knowing that we will eventually give them some tasty treats. They are hoping for bananas, their favorite, but they will settle for toast, eggs, nuts or fruit of any kind.

Marie reminds her fellow caged inmates that enticing these creatures to come closer is somewhat akin to coaxing rats, raccoons, or opossums in our yards at home.  What a disgusting thought!  All of these
creatures, as cute as they are, are riddled with fleas, vermin, worms, disease and other non-friendly miseries.

And so the rules are reversed.  The monkeys are free and the people are safely encased behind substantial cement walls with iron bars. The monkeys can easily become a nuisance, but the very worst animals of all at Lweza guest house are mosquitoes, bedbugs and millions of ants.

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