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Missionary Spotlight – Snakes (and ants) alive!

October 2009 | by Billie Blessing

Snakes (and ants) alive!

 

Let me tell you a couple of things from Guinea to remind you to pray for the safety of missionaries.

     In the cool of a January morning our missionary colleague went outside to turn on their generator. When he opened the door to the generator house, he was greeted by a three foot long, spitting cobra, already poised in the hooded position.

     He quickly backed out of the shed and closed the door, knowing that if the snake spat into his eyes he could be blinded, and if it struck him the venom would be deadly.

     Thankfully, he was able to kill the snake before anyone was injured (although not before we arrived to take some action photos!).

     But it’s not just snakes! One thing I love about working in the village is traipsing to the outhouse by the light of the moon, in the middle of the night (No, not really!).

     The first night we were in Loomal for the medical clinic, I went to the outhouse and accidentally walked through a swarm of cula (chew-la), also known as African driver ants.

 

Swarms

 

These ants travel in great swarms, up to 20 million strong. They like to swarm over something or someone and all begin biting simultaneously. They have been known to reduce a bird to bones in a few hours.

     Unfortunately, the cula did not start biting me until I was back in our room. They had gotten all the way up to my head, and were spread all over the floor. David helped pick them off me and I spent the next several hours feeling the lasting sting of their bites.

     The second night in Loomal, I was determined to not have to go out in the middle of the night. You can imagine my surprise when I was jolted awake by David saying that the cula were on him. That meant they were in the bed.

     David grabbed his flashlight and found that thousands of them had entered the room at a ground level hole on the wall. They were swarming over our clothing on a chair in the corner.

     We were able to spray some bug spray around the legs of the bed to keep them from climbing up, and by morning they were almost all gone. Our colleagues, who had their bedrolls on the ground did get bitten a few times, but were able to shake the ants off and get away.

     The wife spent the remainder of the night in a folding chair and the husband slept on a long, wooden bench.

Billie Blessing

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Guinea