Known to the children as inkima, the endangered Golden Monkey is still found in Rwanda’s national parks especially right here at Volcanoes National Park. When asked about monkey folklore, the children gave the team and me a good laugh by sharing the story of how pregnant women in Rwanda refrain from laughing at golden monkeys fearing to give birth to a baby with a face similar to a golden monkey’s.
Golden Monkeys 1, drawings by AoC students.
The children also relate that when they collect firewood they see Golden Monkeys leaping from tree to tree. They say this is lots of fun. Our talk then turns toward this primate’s current population status, characteristics, recognition, distribution, habitat, and behavior. Many visuals and masks are passed around the classroom.
To draw a Golden Monkey one must really get into the feeling of being a Golden Monkey, or something like that!
We ask the children what they believe are the threats to Golden Monkeys and their habitat. Most of them agree that illegal activity in the forest such as cutting down bamboo and trees and setting snares are big problems for the monkeys. We add that people are putting great pressure on natural resources which forces natural spaces to disappear. Plus dog owners who let their animals roam freely at night surely allow them to enter the forest and hunt and why not a tasty little inkima as their next meal?
Golden Monkeys 2, drawings by AoC students.
Now the fun part, students are guided by Eric and Eusebe and make pictures of Golden Monkeys. Eric is shown above.
Golden Monkeys 3, drawings by AoC students.
Now that’s a lot of Golden Monkey! All created by Rwandan children between the ages of 10 to 15. These children are living right next to the park border and we are doing our best to educate them about the environment and nurture their compassion to protect it!
AoC student concentrating on his work.