IRPfellows, Mozambique — Oct 30, 2014


I began calmly, gently calling my roommate’s name from the top of the stairs.

“Jessi, it’s time to wake up,” I cooed, as I had promised the night before. My motive now, however, was not just to rouse her after an alarm did not. “Wake up, Jessi,” I called a little more urgently.

Then I lost it.


I had descended halfway down the staircase of our cabin, bleary eyed and disoriented. All morning the birds in the bush surrounding us had been singing the murderous tone that plays in Hitchcock’s Psycho right before an intruder stabs women in the shower.

If it hadn’t been fluorescent green and over a meter long, I probably would have missed the snake:


Our eventual consensus was that it was a harmless grass snake – other reader opinions highly welcome if they help justify my terror! – but in my panic I only managed to stomp my feet and take a blurry photo.

Until this point I’d been a good sport, keeping it to myself when I found an apple on our table full of pointy teeth marks and the soap in the bathroom knocked off the shelf and gnawed by an unknown creature. I crossed my fingers it would not be a giant rat – a cane rat? a giant pouched rat? – which we’d earlier seen for sale as a consumable on the side of the road.