This story is dedicated to my cousin Megan, and her adorable new arrival. May your futures be filled with happiness, health, and all the livestock your hearts desire.
No, the ladies who called me fat the other day weren’t onto something. (Sorry to disappoint, Mom, Dad, and Grandma!) There’s a tradition around here of naming new babies after one’s boss. As a result there are lots of Congolese children running around with American names like Jeff, Eric, or Bob, instead of Swahili names like Ilunga, Mpala, or Lamba Lamba.
My part-time gardener, Lenge, came to the door today, all excited and definitely out of character. “Madame, madame! Le serpent!” He motioned for me to follow him. I grabbed my camera and did.
He took me down the gravel path a bit, where two other gardeners were standing around watching. He pointed to the green snake on the ground. Green mamba, I thought instinctively. Because they’re around, they’re dangerous, and this guy was definitely green.
I stepped forward to get a better look. The snake turned towards me just a bit. The three Congolese guys jumped backwards. Very helpful they would be in a pinch, I thought. But I wasn’t within striking distance, and darn it I wanted that picture. I stepped forward again and snapped this shot.
My amateur research online shows a Green Mamba that matches this description exactly. But I shipped the photo off to our resident doctor and herpetologist, who answered that it looks like the Angolan Green snake – in his words “harmless but can put up a good fight”!