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In Central Africa, there lives a group of people called the Pygmies. Their average height is less than five feet. The origin of the word 'pygmy' used to refer to the distance between the elbow and the knuckles, in reference to the height of the people. One tribe of the Pygmies is called the Efe tribe. These people are semi-nomadic. During certain times of the year, they move around in the forest in search of food. The tribe continues to live in the jungle like their ancestors did, hunting and gathering, almost totally unaffected by modernity.

Scientists find studying the Efe so interesting because these people represent the closest we can ever get to our ancient ancestors. Their way of life remains so unchanged that learning about their lifestyle would open our eyes to how our ancestors lived as well.

The Efe are renowned as archers. Their skill as archers sets them apart from other tribes, who use different methods of hunting their prey. The Efe usually hunt in groups for animals like antelope. They surround the animal and shoot at it with arrows from different directions. The arrows have metal tips which are very lethal. The meat of the animal is divided among all the hunters who have participated in the hunt. The best parts of the animal, like the hind legs, are usually given to the hunter who made the first shot. The hunter who shoots the final arrow that brings down the animal also receives quite a good piece of the animal. The hunters who do not manage to shoot the animal at all still get an equal share of whatever meat that is left.

The Efe also hunt for monkeys as a source of food. When they go monkey hunting, however, they o alone. With only one person, the hunter can minimize the noise that he makes so that he can successfully sneak up on the monkey. This is certainly not an easy task compared to other animals. Poison arrows are used in monkey hunting. The poison attacks the central nervous system of the monkey but it can take as long as fifteen minutes to take full effect, long enough to make an escape. Shooting a monkey does not always mean bringing one home for a meal.

The Efe have a great weakness for honey, considered to be a delicacy. Every June, the trees start to flower and bees soon start to build beehives. Come July, the men start looking for honey. In spite of their height, they still manage to reach the hives by climbing up trees. With a basket of leaves and smouldering coals in one hand to pacify the bees, they reach into the beehive with the other hand and pull out the honey-comb. Those on the ground are always excited at the sight, fighting to get the first taste of the wonderful stuff. They usually stuff themselves with it, until their bellies are swollen. Sometimes, they eat all that they find, returning home to the women saying that they had no luck. Their full stomachs, of course, tell a different story.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why are the Efe called 'Pygmies' ?
  2. Why is the tribe called semi-nomadic and not nomadic ?
  3. Why do you think the Efe are 'almost totally unaffected by modernity' (paragraph 1) ?
  4. Explain clearly why it is necessary for the Efe to hunt in groups, according to he passage.
  5. Why are some hunters given a bigger share of the animal ? Give examples of who they are in your answer.
  6. According to paragraph 4, why do you think it is not easy to sneak up on a monkey and capture it ?
  7. 'Shooting a monkey does not always mean bringing one home for a meal.' (paragraph 4) Explain why this is so.
  8. The Efe have 'a great weakness for honey ...' (paragraph 5). Explain in your own words what this means.
  9. Why is it necessary for the Efe to 'pacify the bees' (paragraph 5) ?
  10. 'Their full stomachs, of course, tell a different story' (paragraph 5). What does the writer mean by this sentence ?
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They are very short.


They only move around the forest during certain times of the year in search of food and not the whole year round. / They move around only certain times of the year and not all the time. / A nomadic tribe moves from one place to another all the time, but this tribe only moves during certain times of the year.


They probably live so deep in the forest that they are far from any modern development (or the city).


They can surround the animal and shoot it from different directions so that it cannot escape.


They have played a more important role of capturing the animal like the hunter who first shot it and the one who shot it last that brought it down (finally killed it).
  6. It probably has ears so sharp (good sense of hearing) that it can hear a hunter approaching and escape quickly.
  7. They monkey can escape easily since it takes as long as fifteen minutes for the poison from the arrow to take effect.
  8. It means the Efe enjoy (like) eating honey very much (tremendously/a lot).
  9. The bees would sting them while they take the honey.
  10. Although the men would have actually found honey and filled their stomachs with it, they tell their wives they were not successful (or found none).

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Comprehension 1


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