by gopal (with Ila)
Thought I’d share a couple snapshots from the last few days.
The living school, despite it being very rural, has very few mosquitos. We barely see any here. We mostly see them when we are working in the gardens, but for some reason, there just aren’t that many here.
Vijayawada, the neighboring city, is a whole different story. In addition to being several degrees warmer in the city, the mosquitos rule. While the Jabili compound where we stay (the children’s hospital/clinic and home of our friends) has been “mosquito proofed,” with screens and multiple doors to keep the mosquitos from freely entering, there really isn’t any way to truly mosquito proof because mosquitos are like water, they will find a way.
We had a zap racket in our room, which definitely provides both entertainment and some relief, but not enough. We all got bit.
Some of you may know that Martha is not allergic to mosquito saliva like the rest of us. That is what gives us the bumps. So she doesn’t get the bumps the way normal people do. The rest of us, we get the itchy red bumps.
Well, it turns out that Ila doesn’t just get the itchy bumps where the mosquitos bite, she gets an allergic reaction that results in bumps all over, even where they don’t bite. This was a real bummer. While Ila’s been doing really great in adjusting to the total change in her routine and life, she is definitely feeling the most homesick and working hard to make it work. So for her to be hit the hardest was really not ideal. But she handled it really well, and luckily, we have some anti-itch cream that we brought with us. Cool water helps, too.
Snake on the Line
As we mentioned before, we do our own laundry here at VVV. The process is quite easy, though getting your clothes clean takes a bit of experience, which we still haven’t fully acquired. We soak our clothes in a bucket that has diluted soap-nut powder in it. Then we bang them against a concrete slab and scrub them with a more concentrated soap-nut concoction using a scrub brush. Then rinse, ring-out and hang on the line. After several hours, you come back and get your dry clothes off the line.
Ila and I went by to grab the clothes off the line. I reached for a pair of Kavi’s pants to see if they were dry – and confirming that it was time to take them off, I reached up to grab them off the line when I realized I was grabbing a snake! I jumped back.
Now it is useful to know that there are definitely lots of snakes here. This is not the first I’ve seen. And it is also useful to note that there are definitely poisonous snakes here – at least three varieties that we have been told about. Unfortunately, we don’t know which ones are poisonous and which ones are not, so we are supposed to assume that they are all poisonous.
The snake on Kavi’s pants was at least two feet long, if not longer, and though I grabbed it, it didn’t move. After recovering from our startle, I regained my wits and took out the camera (phone) and snapped a picture. Ila was looking at the other side of the pants to see the head. “I think it is a lizard. Check out the legs,” she said. I couldn’t believe that it could be a lizard so I walked. The snake was eating a frog! A HUGE frog. Way bigger than was reasonable for the snake.
So there was a snake eating a frog on Kavi’s pants.
After a few moments, the snake gave up and slithered across the line. The frog didn’t move, so we batted the pants and the frog fell off, clearly it was either paralyzed or dead. The snake jumped off the line and slithered away. We gathered our laundry and went on our way.
So far we have seen a monkey, a frog and a snake on our laundry. Just another one of our many daily adventures.
While I was busy writing this post, there was another snake sighting on campus. This one was very large and in a tree. Everyone was very excited. Some claim it was a cobra, though one of the teachers says that cobras rarely climb trees, so it probably wasn’t.