Saturday, March 9, 2013


She came for conference in Indiana.
Not long after we moved into our home in the New Hope Uganda orphanage complex, one of my Ugandan sisters, Gertrude, brought a teenaged girl to me who was on her school break.  She wanted Margaret to help me around my house – we’d pay her bits and pieces – and I could expand her reading.  Margaret only had a couple weeks before things would change again, but she’d do what she could.  We connected well.  I truly liked her ... and still do.

Photo in Nov.'03 when I visited.
We were sitting on the couch one day and reading together.  A novel that was a bit over-the-top in her English reading, but we were laughing and enjoying the time.  Then, suddenly, she heard some hollering, in their language, not mine, not far behind my house, and she jumped up and run out.  She came back in just a minute or so.  Basically what she said was, “Auntie, boys have a cobra in a hole.  Killing.  Come see.”  She grabbed my hand.  I started to pull away, saying, “No!!”  She said, “They want you.  Bring your camera.”  She pulled again.  I didn’t know how to back off without seeming like a cowardly, not-caring person living there. [Believe me, many of the men, women, and children from a variety of countries, including England, Canada, Scotland,the States, and Uganda, were brave.  How could I turn into a wimpy one?]

As a little girl, could you be smiling?
 We went behind the house, at a gardening area, probably 15 feet away, and the boys were fighting the cobra.  The way they did it was to have their sticks in their hands and when it came to the top of the hole, aiming at one of the boys, the other side would whack it with their stick.  It would fall and then turn the other direction and be hit by the other side.

 After striking the cobra a few times, it finally died.  I’m not sure why, but one of the boys was chosen as the “winner”... and he was able to take the cobra to his family home as part of a duplex across from us.  The reason?  The family would be free to fix it for dinner.  I couldn’t have imagined anything much worse, believe me.

As I’ve said before on posts, I’ve loved a variety of animals, birds, lizards, Nile River "residents", etc., we saw in Uganda. However, I never jumped for joy when seeing pythons, mambas [one in our house in the Kampala area the year before], or any other scary bits, such as that.  Uh, UH!!  

This cobra event, however, was a blessing simply because I was able to make the kids so happy by being out there with a camera.  I guess it was a good thing. 

 [But don’t want to do it again -- ever, ever, ever.]


A Joyful Noise said...

That was scary, and I am glad they wanted you to catch this with your camera.

Gayle said...

Good grief, what a memory!!! Just the word cobra would be enough to make me shutter. Especially someone who has lived where it is too rainy for any such thing to live!
Loved it!

victory said...

Interesting story - Thanks for sharing your experiences in Uganda.

Floyd said...

I'm with you, Joanne! No snakes! When we lived in North Scottsdale I left the door to our casita (like a mother in laws suite) open during the spring time on a Sunday. Sure enough, we ended up with a rattlesnake inside... My wife wasn't none too happy...