This week Jasmine and I took a break from the orphanage and life in the bush and headed south to Lusaka. We were really blessed to catch a ride with a friend who was driving down. Any day we get to skip that bus ride is a good one. Since our friend had business in the Copperbelt (a province in Zambia) we took a shortcut through the Congo. We'd done this drive once before but it was during the rainy season so this ride was much easier.
A big reason for this mini-break was to help Jasmine celebrate her birthday. She turned 16 earlier this month. We had done the birthday cake part but she wanted time away from work and school.
On the agenda: movies, restaurants, shopping malls, and Munda Wanga.
Munda Wanga is a botanical/zoological garden. Last December we took our rescued & then pet vervet monkey, Kanono to live in Munda Wanga with other monkeys and eventually be released into the wild with his own troop.
When we arrived at Munda Wanga, we met up with the Born Free representative, Zoe, who took us to see Kanono. After several months in a couple stages of quarantine and integration with a single monkey (as in one, not unmarried), Kanono was now in a large habitat and beginning to connect with a troop.
As soon as we approached the cage, Kanono ran right over and reached through the cage to hold Jasmine's hand. Zoe said that she could tell that Kanono recognized us.
Jasmine spent several minutes grooming Kanono and stroking his fur. It was a really special moment.
Zoe was wonderful about letting us know how the program worked and how Kanono was fitting in with the troop. She said he is doing really well and is not top dog (sorry, monkey) but is also confident and friendly enough that he isn't the runt of the troop.
Here is Kanono (near the fence) with his troop's alpha male. While we were there, the alpha groomed Kanono which apparently shows how well loved Kanono is since the alpha male doesn't generally groom those under him.
Right now Kanono's troop has five monkeys but more will be added until there are 15 doing well together and then they'll be released into the wild under Born Free's supervision. This will take place in about 1 year. The supervision will continue for 1 year and then the troop will be well settled in the bush.
It was wonderful to have that time visiting Kanono, and it was really wonderful spending the week with my daughter, just chilling and relaxing.
Happy Birthday, Jasmine!
Exactly One Year Ago: High Praise
(Almost) Exactly Two Years Ago: Litterbugs