It was a regular return trip from the village with our native friends and teachers (the same two lovely people). The littlest girls happily drank their sodas and sang songs. This time since we brought back an extra rider with us, I sat in the front with Matt and our teachers and this traveler sat in the middle of the SUV. All enjoying their cold soda when Matt suddenly stopped the car and popped out without a word. Instantly came Portuguese commentary. “What is he doing?” “What did he see?” We all awaited for the explanation with a mixture of patience and anxious excitement.
Two village men came by to investigate as Matt crouched in the grass between the tire tracks ten feet ahead of the car.
“Oh, not a snake, right?” Came my teacher’s anxiety. I reassured him that there was no way Matt would stop for a snake. He would simply run it over.
One man brought his bicycle closer as Matt returned to the car for a bag. Matt was excited, but still explained nothing. And then I saw it, clinging to the man’s bike as Matt coaxed it into the bag with the help of a man’s bent reed.
Matt returned to the car victoriously. As Matt grew closer, the car got louder.
“He’s not bringing that inside is he?!”
“Oi!!! It’s huge!”
The girls in the back hadn’t seen it yet. The middle of the car was highly unexcited.
He waited semi-patiently in the bag. Don’t anyone, panic, I made a good hole and held it still for the 30 minute ride to the girls’ school. By the end of the trip, when we were dropping off people everyone had settled in fine and were interested in viewing him for themselves.
The older girls celebrated and instantly wanted to hold him. We went to the store and got him a big bowl-house. Once home we collected different colored leaf braches and made him a sweet little home to settle into. And then after letting him settle in for an evening, the next day we offered him our hand. And this happened:
Coberto (like Roberto – Coby for short) means “undercover” in Portuguese so it seemed the most natural choice for his name. And just like that we have added to our zoo here in Mozambique.
The kids ADORE him and are quite respectful and patient in handling him. We just wait and let him choose. Carefully. Gently. One precautious foot in front of the other…
Welcome to the family, Coberto!
P.S. This is not an April Fools Joke. 😉