Minnesota Farmer

Snakes alive

The building we live in while staying at the Kwazamokuhle Diaconal Centre has an outside hall that accesses a toilet and a shower room.  One evening after dark, Nomvuyo, a 20 something lady who was staying at the center, discovered a snake in this hallway.  Now being from southwestern Minnesota, where garden variety snakes are harmless, this did not concern Andy or I.  Nomvuyo however was deeply disturbed.  She screamed and demanded that we kill the snake.

This snake was about the size of a new pencil with a striking distance of a bit over an inch.  To us it was no big deal.  Isaac, however, was in the shower room and vaulted so high over the snake we thought he would knock himself out on the door frame.

Not ones to panic, Andy and I were quite amused by the whole proceeding.  Andy got a broom and shooed the snake off into the grass.  Nomvuyo continued to insist we should find and kill the snake.  We told her it was one of God’s creatures and it had a job to do, eat insects, and we were going to let it go and do its job.

Isaac then came in for some teasing.  We told him that if he was to win the girl he could not be afraid of such a puny snake.  Isaac being 18, and we being older, knew he needed this advice for his future encounters with snakes.  You must prove to the girls that you can conquer their enemies, no mater how small.

This was not the end of Nomvuyo’s snake trials.  Two days later the snake, or one of its cousins, showed up by the kitchen door.  Andy again came to the rescue with a broom.  This time the snake did not slither off into the grass, but into a crack in the wall.  We could not bear to tell her the snake was not gone, but hiding inches from where she was standing.

In a land of poisonous snakes, many in South Africa have a healthy fear of snakes.  Me, I’m more afraid of the snake I cannot see, than the ones I can.


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