By Kelleen Haddad, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

This past week, I visited a village in what I believed to be called Mowzo in Ghana. There were many local villagers there, but an incredible beauty of the Mowzo village is that it is currently home to the Mona Monkeys. We learned that these monkeys are very special; they have two white dots right above their tail that make them very unique. Our guide explained that Mona monkeys are only found in this village out of all of West Africa.

These monkeys are endangered. The history our guide explained was that in the old faith before Christianity arrived to Ghana, the Ghana people would listen to the voice of God. God told them to move from the central region of Ghana to this village and to bring the Mona monkeys with them. That is how the monkeys arrived at this village. When the Christians arrived, they converted nearly 95% of the population, but 5% refused to convert. Therefore, the Christian’s burned and cut down the “sacred forest” where the Mona Monkeys resided in spite of the old religion folks and their beliefs. Now, roughly 800 years later, the villagers do all they can to protect what is left of the Mona Monkeys.

A man named John Mason has created a nature preservation center in attempt to save what is left of the forest and the Mona Monkeys. However, it seems to be a real struggle for the villagers as they hardly have enough money to even support themselves, let alone putting money into rebuilding and preserving a forest. I believe it is our duty to protect these incredible Mona Monkeys. Please reach out to me if you are interested in donating!