A Snake In The Tree
It was a long time ago, in a land far far away (from where I live now) while I was still a teenager, visiting on my own in Nigeria and attending a College there as its only foreign white student. I loved Africa because earlier I had grown up in the nearby countries of Ghana and Liberia. Now I was doing a year of study for credits which I could exchange with a university in the US.
Frequently when faculty members went to nearby towns for shopping or for business I would ride with them and be able to visit and explore and meet other people. This particular day the trip was to Ibadan, a drive of roughly 50 miles. While there I met a friendly, outgoing family with several younger kids who enthusiastically told me about the Civet Cat and other animals who lived nearby and would visit their home for food they put out.
As we played, we drifted across the yard and decided to climb a Mango tree, which apparently they climbed frequently. There were about 5 or 6 of us in total, and I let the younger kids go first, it was their tree. As I was following behind but reaching the first big branches about 8 feet or so up, there was a scream from above.
“Snake! Snake! I think its a Mamba!”
We were all looking but couldn’t see the snake just yet.
“Hurry, go down, get out of the way!” came the urgent shouts from above.
Above me, the kids were rapidly descending so I quickly got out of the tree by skipping the last few steps and just jumping. The others tumbled out of the tree right behind me. From a safe distance we gazed cautiously up into the tree. Where was that snake? Are you sure you saw a snake?
We finally got a glimpse of it making its way down a main branch that was about 8” to 10” in diameter. It was one of the branches some of the kids had been climbing on, but there were other main branches they had been climbing on too. It appeared to be a long green Mamba and we wondered why it was there, and why was it coming down the tree? Was it coming after us?
Soon we figured out that our disturbance of the tree had intruded on its quiet afternoon quest for food and it came down to check things out. We watched as it got to where most of us had been hanging out…