Chickens, Snakes and Chameleon Funerals

The kids hanging out with the chicken 
We had the opportunity to go into the market yesterday to pick up some items for the upcoming week.  Kari sent me with a list of things to pick up from the market; one of the items was a chicken.  No big deal right, just go to the frozen section or the meat market and grab a chicken.  This market is an open air market, much like a farmer’s market back home.  My only option…. a live chicken.  The grand total of live chickens this boy from College Station, Texas has brought home is zero.  However, always up for a new challenge I went into the market to get myself a chicken.  I got some help from one of the locals who told me a fair price and helped me to pick out a good one.  So off I went with my live chicken, feet tied together and a firm grip behind the wings.  I do not know who was more nervous or was in a more awkward position, me or the chicken.  Now imagine that two Muzungos (white people) in the market already draw a lot of attention, but a Muzungo carrying a live chicken with a terrified look on his face draws a lot more attention.  We loaded up in the truck, the chicken and I riding shotgun and made the journey back home.  First time I bought a live chicken and the first time I rode with one in my lap.  When we got home the kids were very excited to have a chicken and we named it “Dinner.” 
Everett having a discussion with Dinner

We decided the chicken should not spend the night tethered to the porch since there are stray dogs that roam around at night.  So I walked, yes walked like on a leash, the chicken to our shed.  I opened the door and did the obligatory sweep with the flashlight for any creepy crawly things.  Thinking the coast was clear, I started walking the chicken into the shed, just as I was passing through the door that’s when it stuck it's head out.  A snake!  There was a snake crawling on the backside of the door and it stuck it head out between the door and the door frame about 6 inches from my shoulder.  I froze with fear; I just do not like snakes.  Breathlessly I backed away and got some words out, enough to alert Kari that something was wrong.  She and the kids came to the window and kept yelling for me to get inside.    I kept the light on the snake, stayed a good 6-8 feet away and called our local snake wrangler.  With one green mamba already to his credit I called Uncle Matt from across the street.  He came armed with a flashlight and a big stick.  After about 30 minutes of searching since the snake crawled to the back of the shed, we finally had success. Uncle Matt found the snake curled up in the back corner.  He thought the snake was non-venomous since it was non-aggressive, but my thoughts on an unidentified snake here in Africa are that a good snake is a dead snake.  They have snakes here that will kill you very quickly.  The locals call the Black Mamba and the Green Mamba two-step snakes, because if you get bitten by one you will get about two steps before you are finished. So with that in mind, Uncle Matt now has two confirmed snake kills in Uganda.

When all the excitement of the great snake hunt ended, we realized that our littlest chameleon Zachius was not doing too good.  Kari got him out of his tree and tried to nurse him back to health with some water.  She even tried to force feed him a small fly, but it was to no avail.  Zachius went to that big tree in the sky.  Everyone was very upset so we had a small funeral service for Zachius.  We wrapped him in a leaf, put him in a small box and buried him under the big tree in our front yard. We came back inside and did some eulogies on video and let the kids talk about their 3 weeks with Zachius and what he meant to them.  It was very sad for the little guy, but the kids interviews were very cute and they even made us all laugh in the end.

We had quit the night here, but that is a typical Saturday Segner Family night here in Uganda
Matthew OrtegaComment