On the Heels of the Hill

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Chapter 14: More than just Nsenene

Despite the heat from the sun on Buzina hill, people didn’t give up on picking nsenene, they were still going very hard. Sweat was flowing on everyone’s face. Nadia, a young beautiful girl was still there too. She was already very tired, and you could see that on her face and in her googly eyes. She decided to leave her friends and start picking nsenene alone and quiet. Slim as she was she looked like she was going to faint by the way she moved.

She held her big kavera of nsenene and went to continue picking nsenene near the big Buzina rock. The grasses were too long and almost covered her as she walked through. She was panting like a dog, with her lips open and her rows of teeth in the open. She bent down slowly and tried to overturn a stone searching for nsenene, she jumped back very fast and started to run back to her friends while saying, “Snake! Snake! Snake!” Then halfway before reaching her friends she stopped, realized she had lost her kaveera of nsenene, looked back at the snake scene, and resumed her run to meet her friends as she cried. “Oh my God, my nsenene are gone. I don’t know where exactly they are. My nsenene. I have wasted all my time picking only to lose them again.” She said all these amidst cries. One of her critical friends noted, “Haven’t you been taught never to keep all your eggs in one basket?” Another one shut her down, “Hey, this is not the time for your your whims Nyabo.” Meanwhile, a number big young men had come to Nadia’s rescue and were already at the snake scene. Nadia was also returned to the same scene by her friends to help the boys locate the snake. One of the boys had tried overturning the stone and was bitten. He removed his hands and started shaking his hand in the air as he said, “The snake bit me, somebody tie my hand before the poison runs through the body.” A friend of his tore his shirt to tie his hand only to see red ants still biting his finger and he told his crying friend to go get rest after removing the red ants. This left almost everybody laughing at the young man. He who is bitten by a snake fears ants. Others started saying Nadia had seen ants too. Nadia clearly told them, “Yes I saw ants as well, but the snake is also down there.” She sounded so serious with a quaky and shaky voice as she pointed to the location of the reptile.

The young men lifted the stone and put it aside and there it was; the frightening animal, rolled like a ball, with his head down to the ground; looked sleeping and then suddenly opened the reddish-yellowish eyes, which made everyone hold onto their nsenene in buveras and other containers as they moved steps behind. The strong boys had their sticks closer and they hit the puff adder to his death. Some old men were coming to the group and after hearing them say it was a puff adder, they advised the boys to burn it, because throwing it away would make it produce so many other puff adders as it decomposed. It was burnt on a rock with very many people all around witnessing amidst talks about the strangest snakes some had seen.

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