When you are in the Interior of Liberia, and have time to sit and listen, you can hear a lot of different stories. I have listened to two in the past few days that I found very interesting.
Last Sunday morning it was announced in church that a young lady was bitten by a snake. Prayer was offered for her physical being and hopeful recovery. A few days later I asked someone for an update on her condition. I was told that she was doing much better. It seems that a snake had crawled into the hut where she was sleeping during the night and bit her on the foot. Someone killed the snake, but no one seems to know what kind of snake it was, only that it was very dangerous – poisonous. The family immediately begin to call for anyone that had a “snake rock”. As explained to me – the “snake rock” is placed directly on the site of the bite. The rock will stick to the skin, only releasing itself when all the venom is drawn from the body. When the venom is completely removed, the stone will fall off by itself. Everyone knows to not touch the stone with their hands or any body part since the stone is now full of snake venom. It is carefully picked up with sticks or leaves and placed in a pot. Milk is poured over the stone and left to sit for several hours. From the explanation, it seems to me that the milk neutralizes the venom. After a certain time the stone can be taken from the pot and it is now ready for the next use. The girl is alive and seems to be doing okay! By the way, I “Goggled” snake stone. Umm, sure enough – it was there!
One person told me about the time that a chimpanzee was seen roaming the forest. When news was broadcast of the chimpanzee’s appearance it paralyzed the village. No one would go to work their farms, or even travel from one village to another. The sighting of this chimpanzee initiated the forming of several hunting parties. He was hunted until found, and then was disposed of. Listening to this story was a bit difficult for me since I was continually trying to invasion a chimpanzee that would terrorize an entire village. In my mind, I kept seeing the adorable little chimp, all dressed up, and being the almost-perfect pet. I couldn’t help myself, so I asked how it was that a small little chimp would be considered so dangerous. The person telling the story looked at me and said, “Rev., that chimpanzee is your size and well able to turn a car over on it’s top.” Thinking about this I inquired if the name could possible be gorilla rather than a chimpanzee. He told me that we call it a gorilla, but they call it a chimpanzee. Phraseology has never been my strong suit!