Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mission Memories: Critters

     I just finished filing my fingernails.  That reminded me of my first mission trip to Belize. You'll see why as the story unfolds.
     It was very late when we arrived at our destination for the night.  To get to the cabanas where we stayed was an adventure in itself.  We drove from Belize City for quite a while. On this trip not all of the three main highways were paved...only about a stretch of about 50 miles was paved.  We left the "highway" and drove down a dirt road to a clearing.  I remember being amazed at the giant Bird of Paradise plants that grew wild along the road. Once we got to a clearing, we had to hit a gong to let the people know we had arrived so they could come across the river to get us.  We carried our luggage down a gazillion steps (Well, actually it was 32...I counted later) to get to the river and the boat that would take us across to go up more steps to our lodging .  Wow, I was going to be spending the night in the jungle! I was so tired, I could hardly walk. On my way to bed I saw a brown and white mouse scamper around the thatched roof of our room.  I shared a two room cabana with three other girls.  I had just closed my eyes when I heard R, my roommate scream.  I didn't open my eyes, but asked her what was wrong. She said, "There's a snake!"  I told her to leave it alone and she'd be eyes still closed.  "Quit talking like a teacher and do something," she demanded.  I got up and told her I would get it and put it out.  She reminded me that we were in the middle of a jungle and I didn't know what kind of snake it could be.  She had an excellent point.  By this time, I was wide awake and the two girls from the other room came in.  The chase began.  I'm not sure what we thought we were going to do once we got the snake cornered, but we chased it all over the room and finally got it cornered in the small area just outside the bathroom door. Now what were we suppose to do with it?   One of the girls got a plunger from the bathroom and captured its head.  We were going to end its life, but didn't really have anything to work with, until someone remembered having a metal fingernail file. (See my thinking, now?) How many girls does it take to kill a snake in the jungle in the middle of the night?  Apparently four if they're taking turns holding a toilet plunger on its head and trying to cut its head off with a fingernail file.  This was not a quick, nor pleasant endeavor.  The next day, at breakfast, I relayed the story to one of the men that worked there.  When I described the snake to him, he said, "Oh, you no need to worry about de smol snakes. Iz da big ones dat are bad!" Okay, after that experience, showering with tree frogs was not that big of a deal.

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