Overcoming fears

Bagamoyo, Tanzania

A critical moment: having the kids touch the snake.

 

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Snakes in Bagamoyo

Bagamoyo, Tanzania

As I’m typing this, I’m eyeing my gecko roommates as they slither around my walls. There are a few little ones in the mix and I’m imagining that many of them are related.

Last Sunday, a few of us went to Bagamoyo to hang out with the kids at an orphanage. Within the first 15 minutes, there was a snake sighting among the dried palm leaves which led to some quite varied reactions, as you might be able to tell from the photo. Apparently kids here are told some intense tales regarding snakes and their supernatural powers and many of the children were afraid to even look at the snake after it was caught. We took a tour of their small but surprisingly well-equipped schoolhouse/classroom and got our butts kicked in baseball by one of the kids, who is likely destined for MLB. The orphanage itself is run by an American woman who’s lived in Tanzania for years. Two of the youngest kids are HIV+, and many have parents with mental illnesses that render them incapable of caring for their children. I hadn’t thought about this before, but it’s easier (for the orphanage) if the kids are simply abandoned; having parents who flit in and out of the kids’ lives makes for a much more complex situation.