/ / “A Cobra and A Panga”

“A Cobra and A Panga”

The Congolese brown cobra slowly slithered up the  tree near the Nyankunde medical station. From the wisdom of a thousand generations it wisely chose a branch over a path,in this case, frequented by villagers headed to the hospital. It carefully selected a spot where it was fully camouflaged among the leaves and because it was not in a hurry it was quite prepared to patiently lie in ambush until a likely meal passed by.

The young Congolese woman, carrying a lunch in a pot on her head in the traditional style, was on her way to visit her mother in the hospital. She was on the familiar path.

Some distance away a strong young man was vigorously using his panga to cut branches for his mud hut, so he had a home for his new wife. He was startled by a horrifying scream.He stopped a moment to get the direction of the sound and, panga in hand, rushed to the source of the deadly scream. He found the young woman, shrouded by the cobra, fighting for breath and for her life. The young man knew his duty, and after circling the dramatic scene for a proper vantage point, raised the panga and in one deft stroke cut off the snake’s head. Villagers soon had surrounded the scene and were energetically pulling the entangled woman from the tight grip of the now powerless cobra.

Her husband arrived on the scene, took the woman up into his strong arms, and carried her to the hospital where Dr. Bob immediately saw to her injuries. In addition to the trauma caused by the experience, she had several broken ribs but no other internal injuries and was discharged, with stabilizing bandages, into her husband’s care.

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