During our stay in the Mfuwe area, as part of the joint first aid training mission with First Aid Africa, a couple of free days emerged. Luckily, there is always demand for snake knowledge and there are always people who are willing to help organise! And of course: Helping Hands in Snake Safety is always happy to jump at these occassions!!!
Jenny, the coordinator of the local NGO “Raise a Smile” has established the Uyoba community library at the school which is thriving and provides children and other members of the community access to books of all types, which aides in increasing literacy in this part of Zambia.
The establishment of the library was supported by the African Hope Fund and the Sacramento Rotary club, as well as by Marula lodge.
HHiSS conducted two snake awareness and safety sessions for the children in grade 7. The sessions were well attended and very successful: 93 children attended and received information brochures in their preferred language, either English or Nyanja. HHiSS also donated information posters, depicting the dangerous snakes in the area. The folders were developed and printed with the financial support of Save the Snake and were translated into Nyanja by Chiphadzubva Gingré Mwale (thegingre.wordpress.com).
Impressions of the school snake awareness sessions
A local initiative was set up by Choti Singh, Vice President and board member of the American NGO Save the Snakes, together with local game guide Robert Phiri, to conduct a snake awareness and first aid in snakebites session at the Kemmaz School of Digital Life. This school was set up by Emmanual Mphasi, to teach basic and advanced IT skills to Mfuwe residents and thus increasing their chances on the job market. After the session we left behind two information posters about snakes.
director of Kemmaz school for IT
Further, an introductory snake handling training was given to Wilson and Robert, two young men from the Mfuwe area that showed interest in becoming local snake removers. They were given information about the snakes of the area, snake safety and theoretical input about snake handling and how to correctly use the tools that HHiSS had provided them (with financial support from First Aid Africa). They were thrown in the deep end and trained with a recently caught Mozambique Spitting Cobra which they, after the exercises, released back into the wild.
Marcel training Robert
Finally, a fair number of snake removals was conducted. One of the most special, being the removal of a beautiful Oates' Twig Snake, which was photographed for the development of future information material.
Left to right: HHiSS founder and Board Member Ken and Coordinator Marcel photographing the Twig Snake, Marcel handling the Twig Snake, Twig snake ID photo.
HHiSS was able to conduct all these activities in the Mfuwe area due to the free accommodation offered by Marula lodge. HHiSS can bring materials and snake-related knowledge to any part of Zambia. But without local people like Robert, Jenny, Emmanuel, Choti and the management and staff of Marula lodge, to assist in organising events, and providing a base, it is difficult to make things happen. We are therefore always grateful for new contacts and partnerships.