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Lions, and tigers, and bears: Encountering animals abroad


On my first trip into South Sudan in 2008 I flew from Lokichoggio on the Kenyan side of the border directly to the former Jonglei state deep in the heart of the country. I was working for an NGO responsible for providing health services at clinics dotted throughout the country. With me on the flight was a quiet and compassionate South Sudanese doctor who had served his country and people through the civil war with the North. He asked me about my travels and if I’d been to South Sudan before.

“Do you know how to kill snakes?” he asked?

“I know how to scream,” I replied.

“Well, when you see the black mamba,” he laughed. “You will be screaming.”

He then proceeded to tell me how to kill a snake. This was a reproach to my ‘live and let live’ mentality but he instructed me why having highly deadly creatures lurking about our re