Memories of Katungulu - Part 2
Snakes, bats and drinking water
After our amazing escape from the whirling waterspout, we arrived at our house at the AIM mission at Katungulu. Mom, who has always struggled with seasickness, plopped down on her bed to recover. Staring at her from the corner near her bed was a green mamba! Mom quickly jumped up and hollered for help. Green mambas are poisonous snakes and not to be casually entertained. Help quickly came to take care of this life-threatening visitor. I’m sure by now my mom felt ‘green’ from all the trauma of this day.
On another occasion we discovered snake eggs under a bureau and other pieces of our meager furnishings. We had to deal with this surprise with cautious care and concentration. Over the years God always helped us discover the danger before we were endangered ourselves. We had unfortunate encounters with ants, scorpions and snakes in our home, but God in his faithfulness helped us deal with each situation.
We had a number of permanent houseguests – bats and agama lizards. Our house did not have any ceiling, but instead a muslin cloth of amerikani or some similar material was stretched across the open space between the walls to help catch ‘anything’ that might drop from the ‘high heavens’ of the simple peaked roof of metal mabati. We soon learned to live in harmony with these creatures, especially the bats who helped keep the mosquito population down.
Malaria was not a pleasant experience and we were often bedridden for days or even weeks with high fevers and spells of cold sweats. Keeping hydrated was a challenge as drinking water – whether rainwater collected off the roof or lake water – had to be boiled and then cooled before it was ready to drink. Sometimes we kids stood impatiently by the large clay pot eagerly waiting for the hot water to cool enough to pacify our dry palates. This was quite a test in patience!