Fieldset
Sneaky snake

It’s Sunday again. On Friday night, after going to the loo at 11pm, a small black snake was making its way into my tukul through the open door way. I jumped into my tukul and tried to hit it with my torch to a) kill it or b) turn it around to go out of my bedroom.

It’s Sunday again. On Friday night, after going to the loo at 11pm, a small black snake was making its way into my tukul through the open door way. I jumped into my tukul and tried to hit it with my torch to a) kill it or b) turn it around to go out of my bedroom.

I didn’t want to take my eyes off it in case I lost it (no power/light in tukuls) but it slipped into the two inch hole bordering the door edging on the inside of my tukul! I yelled out SON SON (snake in Nuer) but no guards came, probably asleep. Anyway, calls came from the other rooms saying “ What Kate?” and I called “there’s a bloody snake in my tukul!!!”

The tukuls are first constructed with bamboo and sticks for the frame, before being plastered with a cow shit, straw and mud combination. The mud had started to fall away in many areas, particularly all around the doorframe, and this is where my little friend went. The others came out to offer moral support and our logistician, with stick in hand, belted the tukul to see what would come out. We found a small hole about the diameter of a 50 cent piece that went from just outside to directly under the wall. Anyway, as there was nowhere else to go, other than the floor in one of the other rooms, I decided to stay tucked up under my mosquito net. I wasn’t worried about this little snake but did wonder where its mother was and felt sure that there would be many more where that came from!

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well, visions of pythons, anacondas and various other nasties chasing me while I was again stuck in Jikow flooded my head and left me with one eye open, staring into the dark! The weekly dose of Mefloquin I had that night was obviously not helping!

Up at the crack of dawn! I was exhausted, but needed to prepare for the training session planned for the health extension workers today. They do the defaulter tracings and help with education and registration at the mobile clinics.

I asked a couple of the guards how to get the snake out of the tukul wall and they all agreed that by burning rubber tyres, the smoke would drive them out! Terrific! Then the owner of the land turned up and came with me to inspect it. He lifted the mat I’d been walking bare foot on and yelled and dropped it as there was a little black snake under it! I jumped on it before running out of the tukul. He then returned with a stick and belted the mat before lifting again to remove it. It still wasn’t dead and it took many more beltings with a stick before it stopped squirming! Bloody hell, there’s probably a whole nest in there!

Then my translator turned up and told us it was a black cobra. Very dangerous! Apparently they can sting with both ends!???? I need the internet to look it up but several of them said the bite from the tail was even more poisonous than the bite from the head???? So hey, can someone Google African black cobra and email me? So, that was my adventure for this morning and last night. Never a dull moment! So now I’ve moved into the project coordinator’s tukul as he’s in the USA for two weeks and mine is getting fumigated with black rubber tyre smoke and the burning of some native root that will drive them out of my walls and into the compound. Fantastic! My nocturnal toilet habits have taken on a new element!