Footprints to Zanzibar

What happened in Cameroun when I was eleven…

img_0217It was a long school vacation time.  Our next-door-neighbor family was going away to the seashore for two weeks of yearly holiday.  The mom came up to me and asked me if I would like to earn a little pocket money daily feeding and also daily walking, on the end of his chain, their pet “baby” gorilla.

I happily said “yes” and received my instructions for my new responsibilities with conscientious attention. The particular “baby” gorilla in question was much loved by all the kids and teenagers, lived in a large chicken-wire cage/home in the neighbor family’s back yard, and had a general reputation for being tame. I was a fanatical animal lover, had several pets of my own, though none as exotic as a gorilla, and I thought I already had a great relationship with this tame gorilla.

Well!  From the very first morning, the gorilla, who had been quietly growing from babyhood, and now was eight months old, (I wonder how old that would equivocate in people years?) demonstrated a HUGE mind of his own and, instead of walking pleasantly around the grassy yards on the end of his long metal chain, would PLANT himself in the grass and start getting mad at me, working himself up into a rage, then CHARGING me down the length of the chain, wrapping himself around my bony bare shins, and biting on my legs!

Maybe he was missing his family?  Probably.  Not that used to me, I guess. A few mornings of that and, I’m afraid poor Baby Gorilla didn’t get taken out each day for the rest of the two weeks!  He got fed super well though.


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