September 2, 2009

We have been told that our house was built during the Italian occupation (1936-1941). It is constructed of unbaked mud brick and plaster. The back wall has a cracks through the width of the wall across the base, all the way up the right side, across the top and two coming down under the window. The mud bank “holding up” said cracking wall is eroding and there are ant nests undermining the foundation throughout. Mark feared that soon our wall would fall off and I agreed- though he says I am imagining it, I think the cracks have gotten bigger during this last month of rains. Mark began to build a retaining wall to prop up the house. Since our house cannot be accessed by vehicle,  laborers hauled rocks across campus to our yard on pieces of sheet metal suspended with two poles and gripped over their shoulders. The laborers dumped the load of rocks on the bank and a stray rock tumbled down the hill a bit and disappeared into the ground!  The earth had given way to reveal a hidden sewage pit, which had been covered with dirt, leaves and a fragile concrete covering underneath.  I was glad as I looked at the open pit, flies buzzing about it and a stench coming from the depths that Jonah or Bony had not walked across it and ended up where the rock did.

Work began the next morning on a new sewage pit farther down the hill. By afternoon, the diggers had uncovered a sizeable munitions dump. There were various anti personnel bombs and a very large mortar shell with a brass tip. We were standing around inspecting the shambles of our yard that evening when Bobby spotted a long thin black snake wriggling across the fresh dirt pilled to the side of the new sewage pit. Mark ran down to look at it and several workers trailed after, hoes and shovels in hand. Immediately the workers chopped the snake in four places. The workers explained that  the snake must be chopped up, because if only the head was chopped off the body, the snake would grow a new head, come alive again and wriggle out of the ground where it was buried. The workers all agreed the snake was very dangerous, and very poisonous.  Petra (the chaplain) and Kelsey (an RN volunteer) hearing the commotion came running over from the yard next door. Petra, quick to defend one of God’s creatures took the head of the snake and placed it in her refrigerator to be dissected later. She wanted to determine if it was truly venomous (and thus I suspect whether death was warranted).  The next day word was out that Gimbie Adventist Hospital had ammunition.  Mark called in the local police to inspect the stash found in our yard.  The police took an  antipersonnel bomb and the large mortal shell for further inspection. Petra reported finding four fangs and venom sacs in the snake’s head. She does not think it was a Black Mamba, though it was black and venomous. Last week, someone reported killing a green Mamba. I do not have a clue about what is what in snakes around here, but I can always expect with each new day will come a new adventure.


3 Responses to “Yardwork”

  1. Daniel Warner said

    Hey, Trudy!

    I loved reading tonight about some of your daily adventures! I can’t imagine having that many poisonous snakes around, and knowing you, I admire your courage and resolve!

    I’m saying a prayer for you and your family that God will bless and prosper you there in Africa.


    PS – Your blog is so well-written!

    • Trudy said

      Thank-you for the encouragement and prayers Daniel! How are you and your family? We are good. Coming home for a visit in a couple days!


  2. Pablo (yo) said

    Great blog!!
    if you like, come back and visit mine: http://albumdeestampillas.blogspot.com

    Pablo from Argentina

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