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B.B. on his throne along Airport Road in Entebbe. Click image for closer view.

The Week That Was: Wow!

A Word from Curt

It’s Saturday.

Always a good time to look at the past week.

Here are photos from the week that was in Africa.

Tucked in is a story you’ll enjoy:  3 Apes I’ve Known.

Enjoy!

Our compound guard, Godfrey. He's wearing hat left by Charlie Bailey.  Godfrey promised to pray for Pastor Charlie when he wears it.  He is a man of his word.  Don't forget: Africans pray for Americans daily.
Our compound guard, Godfrey. He’s wearing hat left by Charlie Bailey. Godfrey promised to pray for Pastor Charlie when he wears it. He is a man of his word. Don’t forget: Africans pray for Americans daily.

KristenMaryMargaretNairobi15June

DeDe with our friends Kristen and Mary Margaret in Nairobi.

Celebrated my 59th birthday with our Dry Creek neighbor, Jessica Ciccarelli in Kenya.
Celebrated my 59th birthday with our Dry Creek neighbor, Jessica Ciccarelli in Kenya.

3 Apes I’ve Known

Monkeys can be cute.
They’re always interesting.
But any African will tell you they’re trouble.
I have three friends that illustrate this.

Bad bad Leroy Brown
Baddest man in the whole dang town.
Badder than old King Kong
Meaner than a junk yard dog.
-Jim Croce.

Bad Bad Leroy Brown bares his fangs after attacking Aaron Watkins.
Bad Bad Leroy Brown bares his fangs after harassing Aaron Watkins.

Bad Bad Leroy Brown.

I’ve been with BBLB numerous times.

He’s been more rambunctious each time.
BBLB lives at the Nile Ferry Crossing at Paara in Murchison Falls NP.

 

He’s the Alpha Male of a large baboon troop on the north bank of the long river.
He’s a bluff, aggressive, robber baron.

Ask Charlie Bailey, Todd Burnaman, Ken Farmer, Ethan Bossier, Colleen Glaser,

Ask the German lady who left her window down. She’d turned her back on her car and instantly Leroy was in the open window, pilfering a loaf of bread quicker than you could say, “Jim Croce.”

I pointed and stuttered.   “Lady. Lady. Baboon. Baboon.”

Todd can really imitate my early warning system call.

I’ve seen Leroy steal milk, sandwiches, tear open roof top carriers.

He went after Aaron Watkins then grabbed my car door with his grimy little hand. It was a pitched battle to close it. He was strong.

Leroy Brown on our Land Cruiser.
Leroy Brown on our Land Cruiser.

 

Leroy does understand what a rock is. I try to keep one handy at the ferry. A worker there said, “He’s not scared of a Mzungu but when we pick up a rock he knows we mean business.”

I’ll be back in Leroy’s territory in July. Can’t wait to introduce John Gray to Leroy Brown.

Look for an update.

 

PaaraHippo
“Paara” means hippo in the local Alur language.
We usually have several close encounters with hippos during our visit. Nothing like this.

I need your help: Could someone Photoshop Charlie Bailey’s head (on the boy not the hippo).

 

 

Snag at Karuma Falls
Snag at Karuma Falls

Meet Snag

 

Snag is a second cousin once removed (does anyone understand this?) from Bad Bad Leroy Brown.

Snag lives along the highway at Karuma Falls, another crossing on the Nile.

He and his family run a business on the north side of the river.

Chasing Baboons: The Confusing Nile River.

First of all, experts still dispute the actual source of the Nile.  Some trace it to small streams in Rwanda/Burundi that flow into Lake Victoria.

Most agree that the real Nile begins on the NE shore of Uganda at the town of Jinja.

The Nile flows north at its source, but during its journey to Lake Albert it flows west.

  • Repeat this three times:
    The Upper Nile is in the Southern portion of Central Africa.
    The Lower Nile is where it flows out of Egypt into the Mediterranean.
    The Victoria Nile is the section from its origin (Lake Victoria, Uganda) to Lake Albert.
    From there it’s known (you guessed it) as the Albert Nile.
    As it enters South Sudan, it becomes the White Nile.
    And at Khartoum, Sudan, it joins with the Blue Nile and becomes the Big Nile.

Then it flows 1000 miles through the world’s largest desert with no tributaries or reinforcements, feeds XXXx million people in Egypt and spits in the eye of the Sahara as it flows into the sea.

Now that’s a River.

And along its Upper Section at one of the world’s most beautiful spots, Snag intimidates traveler and tourists who stop for a picnic or photo.
Snag harassed my sister Colleen into getting in the the truck, locking the door, and eating her sandwich in peace. Some of us aren’t as prudent and choose to eat our sandwich with one hand and the proverbial rock in the other.
Snag is easy to spot. He didn’t have the benefit of an orthrodonist during his baby ape days.
If you meet him, you won’t forget him.

Meet B.B.

 

Urban apes are just as much trouble. In fact, truly wild apes are afraid of humans and fade into the bush/forest before you see them.
It’s when they lose their fear of humans, and learn to enjoy leftovers that they become aggressive and  even dangerous.

I’d compare it to the black bears in the Smokeys.
I’ve got some good bear stories from hiking there.

But that’s another mammal on another continent that’ll have to wait for another blog.

Our hometown of Entebbe is the site of Uganda’s International Airport. Many non-Africans live and work in the area.

They (we) always are enthralled with the Vervet monkeys found throughout the city.
Until we have a close encounter of the real kind.

At a hotel, I recently saw a vervet snatch a banana off a man’s breakfast plate in the time it’d take to say “Idi Amin.”
Vervets are sneaky. They’ll steal into a house and expertly smash and grab.
I was at a Nile River hotel, enjoying a sunny afternoon with my door open. Two vervets stuck their head in and before I could say, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” one had cleaned out the sugar packets by the coffee pot.
Definitely an inside job.
He knew right where the goodies were.
It wasn’t his first rodeo.

 

B.B. on his throne along Airport Road in Entebbe. Click image for closer view.
B.B. on his throne along Airport Road in Entebbe. Click image for closer view.

The vervet in the photo lives along Entebbe’s main highway.
I see him often while walking and always give him a wide berth.
I’ve named him “B.B.” and it’s not because he plays the guitar.
Rest in peace, B.B. King. You were always a favorite. I’m so sorry your family is fighting over your legacy before your body’s in the ground. Sounds like the theme of a good Blues song.
Back to B.B. the Vervet Monkey, it was easy to name him.
If you examine his photo, you’ll parse what his initials are for.
And B.B. will jump off that post and snatch a banana peeling faster than you can say, “Lucille.”

A story behind each tree.
A monkey behind every bush.

monkey drinking JubaIMG_2415

 

MonkeyDrinkingIMG_2416

This street monkey in Juba, South Sudan was working hard.

Snails at our house in Entebbe: You go your way, and I'll go mine.
Snails at our house in Entebbe: You go your way, and I’ll go mine.
"And they're off."
“And they’re off.”
End of first rainy season. Crops looking great Sweet Potato hills.
End of first rainy season. Crops looking great Sweet Potato hills.
Grain drying in Ugandan yard.  Note chicken.  "Chicken in the breadpan; picking out dough."
Grain drying in Ugandan yard. Note chicken. “Chicken in the breadpan; picking out dough.”

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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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