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Deadly Rivals

A seven foot long cobra attacked a man inside a house yesterday afternoon in the village closest to my house. The Maasai elder felt something touch his head while sitting on the skin bed next to the fire. He brushed it off and a heavy snake dropped from the roof to the floor in front of him biting him on the leg. His calls for help brought warriors that killed the snake and carried the man to our government dispensary here at Olbalbal. They carried the dead snake in a cloth bag and dumped it in the img_0071front yard of the clinic creating an attraction that distracted some small crowds of people from the cattle market that was taking place nearby. With no anti venom available at this very rural clinic without a fridge to preserve such medicine, a Land Rover was enlisted to carry the man to the nearest hospital at the town of Karatu two and a half hours away from us here at Olbalbal. Two hours into the journey, at the entrance to Ngorongoro Conservation Preserve, the man succumbed to what must have been a massive infusion of cobra venom and died. They took the body the rest of the way to Karatu and brought it back here today where the family is now in the midst of the burial rites.I am told that this attack was the result of the victim have been cursed in a rivalry between two Laibons, Maasai Witch Doctors. The two brothers, one of whom was the snake bite victim. The two sons of the same father different mothers were bitter rivals for the following of the local Maasai people who go to witch doctors for help in circumstance where modern medicine and other resources don’t seem to help. It seems that this latest death is one of a series of three that have left members of this family dead in the recent past and were all due to snake bites. It is believed that Maasai Laibons have a special affinity with snakes and can enlist their help to eliminate rivals.

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