Snake whisperer

Today I learned that I am a snake whisperer. That sounds a little back woods, but it’s true. Allow me to explain.

This morning we drove to a crocodile farm called Kalimba. The crocodiles are fine, but the python pit is what draws everyone’s attention. We have 9 kids and my butt remains permanently clenched the entire time they point and stare down at dozens of snakes who are 10-feet-long. Are they hungry? Will they eat my sunglasses if they fall off my head? Where are our little ones Dani and Lovemore? ROLL CALL!

Zambians don’t know what roll call means.

A young gentleman in a red jumpsuit grabs a makeshift ladder and lowers it into the pit. Then he scrambles down, INTO THE PIT WITH THE SNAKES, and starts eyeballing pythons, trying to choose which one looks lazy enough not to squeeze the farm guests. He takes a hook and snatches a beefy looking one, flops it over his shoulder and then hops back up the ladder.

We follow the dude with the snake over to the mini golf section of the crocodile farm. Because nothing says crocodile farm like mini golf. I’m sure the crocs make for an interesting handicap.

The guy invites me to approach the python. He hoists it onto my neck and I immediately feel the weight of this massive beast. He instructs me to hold the tail away from my body and then offers me the head. You know, the place where the venom squirts out. I grab what I consider to be the general neck area and my guy shakes his head.

Kalimba Guy: “Hold it closer to the mouth.”
Me: “No thank you.”
Kalimba: “Yes. Right here by the jaw.”
Me: “Tell my family I LOVE THEM.”

Dear reader, I wore that snake like I was Britney Spears at the MTV video music awards. I strutted like I was on a weird Project Runway challenge. This lasted 30 seconds because pythons are heavy and I don’t do Crossfit.

After channeling my inner Brit Brit, I somehow become the tail handler of the python when the rest of the group steps up to take a picture. It was special.

The Williams trust the group to take off with their daughter — again. So we put a python around her neck and ask her to smile for the camera. This is what we call making memories in Zambia. Dani totally held the tail!


The Williams will never leave their daughter with us again.

Dani 2

Shadrick is laughing on the outside and crying on the inside.


Clara looks like she’s wearing the python as an accessory in the Miss West Texas pageant. I’m sure they both want world peace.


Enny and Alliness really wish the white girl would cease and desist with the python business.


Hope looooooooooved it.


So did Lara.


Stella was so chill. She could be the model for a billboard selling pythons!


A friend who shares her python with you is a friend forever. Just ask Sarah and Amy.


Mandie is pretending that she’s actually holding the python’s head. She’s halfway to Britney status!


Lovemore is brand new to the home. Yesterday we took him to get immunized. Today? We made him stand in front of a python. Welcome to the Arise Africa family, little buddy!


This week has been everything I hoped it would be. Did I expect to hold a python? No. Did I anticipate riding with 22 of my closest friends in the mini bus? How could I?

Did I expect God to move big in my life this week? Yes, because I asked Him to move big in my life this week. I bonded with a group of mission trippers who are the salt of the earth. I met a group of men and women with the Arise Africa team who live each day of their lives to serve the Lord by loving on children.  I saw these kids thrive because their bellies are full, their minds are stimulated and their hearts are sowing the seeds of truth.

I had the privilege of watching Executive Director Alissa Rosebrough take care of exactly one thousand logistics and details this week. She’s changing hundreds of lives in Zambia every day and if you try to praise her for a job well done, she’s quick to point her team before smiling and say, “It’s a God thing.”

Indeed. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

“Some trust in chariots. Some trust in horses. But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Psalm 20:7

If you are interested in sponsoring Lovemore or Munyundo, please click HERE to learn more about their story.

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
July 29, 2016 2:36 pm

The first thing you want to know when you are handling a snake is, “When did they eat last?”

July 31, 2016 2:16 am
Reply to  Janet

True statement.

July 29, 2016 3:21 pm

I was getting kind of panicky looking at the pictures of the snake until I saw Lara’s face. Classic!

Thanks for sharing your journey this week and shining a light on all the good things God is doing through Arise. Praying for a safe & uneventful journey home.

July 31, 2016 2:16 am
Reply to  NancyR

Thank you Nancy!

July 29, 2016 3:55 pm

You are MUCH braver than I am!!

July 31, 2016 2:17 am
Reply to  babs

It wasn’t that bad!

July 29, 2016 5:42 pm

I get the feeling that you didn’t stop giggling for a second. I can practically hear you looking at the pics. Looks like fun.

July 31, 2016 2:17 am
Reply to  Brenna

You are RIGHT as always Brenna!

July 29, 2016 5:45 pm

“We follow the dude with the snake over to the mini golf section of the crocodile farm. Because nothing says crocodile farm like mini golf. I’m sure the crocs make for an interesting handicap.”

Pure gold.

July 31, 2016 2:18 am
Reply to  Steph

Thank you!

July 29, 2016 7:20 pm

Hi new to your blog and I love it! Found it through Michael & Jacquie Williams, Jacquie is my sister!

July 31, 2016 2:22 am
Reply to  Michele

They are my favs!!! Welcome!

July 30, 2016 12:45 am

Holy cow that’s a big snake! I could hardly look at the pics! SCARY

July 31, 2016 2:23 am
Reply to  Tina

It wasn’t that bad!

July 30, 2016 4:42 am

Safe travels and Godspeed!

July 31, 2016 2:23 am
Reply to  KarenInNC

Thank you!

Would love your thoughts! Click here to share.x