Definition of ‘Monkey Country’

Adventures start when you dare to venture into the woods. That first step is an action of faith. Micky Hart, drummer of the Grateful Dead

From time to time I will write something about issues that occupies my mind and which has to do with the trip I soon start. From today on it’s two months working and although I have terrible much to arrange and find out I surely need to air out my thougts. Some responses gives a certain feeling which makes me wonder why they’re said. This time it’s about ‘Monkeycountry’.

A couple of days ago someone asked me a question although it did not seem to be a question: ‘I don’t understand why you want to go to such a monkeycountry?’ Monkeycountry here is Congo. With such a sentence I am blown away, in a negative direction. I don’t care much about responses like: ‘It is life threatening what you are going to do,’ neither does it matter to me when someone says ‘suppose you have to repair a puncture and you will not get to where you need to get so you will end up in some village where’s not a campground to find. What then?’ These are not diffeculties but mere happenings which will dissolve itself. Remarks like ‘do you know the expression ‘seeing bears on every road’ (which means that you see danger in everything and everywhere), well, you might not see them, but they will see you!’ I don’t think there’re any bears in the Sahara. Expressions full of anxiety based on thoughts which betray that I must be very naive, even foolish. Mostly words spoken from a conviction that they must be heard by people on which an impression has to be made. I don’t mind really. Because it are words spoken out of ignorance. Sentences based on unknown terrain, expressions of fear because it’s not their field of interest, so very scary. And ofcourse very dangerous.

But the word ‘Monkeycountry’ doesn’t appeal to me. It cuts deeply and sharp between the one who says it and apparently his ideas about Africa. What does it actually mean: Monkeycountry? Ofcourse I should have asked that the moment that question came by, but usually I ask these questions a long time afterwards. Is a ‘Monkeycountry’ a country where monkeys live? I guess so. But there are monkeys in southern Spain, in Gibraltar there are the Berbermonkeys. Is Spain a ‘Monkeycountry’ then? Or is the sea or ocean a natural border between Monkeycountry and Humancountry? Is the USA a Monkeycountry, or only the landborder between poor and rich USA? Is monkey a synonymous for poor? Is Afghanistan a ‘Monkeycountry’ then? Did I actually see one monkey there? I can’t remember but I do know that there must be monkeys in neighbouring Pakistan, surely in the parts which are lying directly against India. Because India is no doubt a Monkeycountry. Whatever Monkeycountry may mean?

So what exactly is a Monkeycountry now? Is it a joke when someone says such a thing? Is it something funny when someone says: ‘Take along a big tin of white paint so you can colour every face white in Africa.’ These kind of things upset me, what does it mean? That it may be stupid, naive, dangerous, scary and plain foolish what my trip may involve, are not  the issues which forms questions in my mind. Because not following your heart, not making your dreams come true, not living like it can be the last day, not leaving that comfort zone or the so called certainty, not discover basic living, not feeling the world, not finding out why we live and why we are truely all the same -monkey or man- I think is very human. Or very unmonkey. Well, you see, me writing and thinking about it, I just discovered what a Monkeycountry really is!

A Monkeycountry is a country where people are living in greater awareness, knowing the reason and not wanting or being able to step out of the comfort zone, because it may not excist to them. A Monkeycountry lives basic with nature as their guiding principle, maybe a monkey in the backyard cum jungle to remind them about this. So not any APP but an APE.

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