Monkey business

Our recent visit to National Geographic’s Photo Ark exhibition in Belém reminded me of a bizarre incident a number of years back when I was still teaching at the language school.

The morning groups I taught tended to attract a slightly more, shall we say, eclectic student profile. At the time I was doing the lead-in to an innocuous reading about pampered pooches. I started the chitchat about students’ pets, how much a part of the family they were and how indulged and whatnot. Imagine my delighted surprise when an Angolan student began recounting the story of her father, who, being a real animal lover, took in a baby monkey. So far, so cute.

Subsequently, the cute little monkey actually grew to be a very large monkey (but not a gorilla, I checked, but she indicated about the size of a small person). It was at this point that she revealed that one day the monkey escaped and ran into a neighbour’s house. Obviously alarmed, the neighbour defended himself with a handy axe that he happened to have lying around and killed the monkey.

Er, eh, what? Unsurprisingly, the class became very subdued; it was quite the conversation-killer and so much for my fluffy pets discussion.

The golden rules at the language school were always to avoid any discussion about religion or politics, but in light of this incident, perhaps pet primates should be added to the list of taboo topics.


  1. That’s so sad! Hope you are well Bifa, we are looking forward to our visit to your beautiful city in June, a colleague of mine thought it was a great idea so he has already visited last month and loved it! xx


    • Yes, poor monkey 😕 I hope you enjoy your trip to Lisbon. June is festa season, so lots of sardines and street parties. And although it’s a bit grey here at the moment, the sun should be shining by the time you visit 😊

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s