Namibia: Missing Boy 'Scared Back Home' By Snake

A SNAKE that crawled into the jacket of a lost nine-year-old boy, who had been lost in the bush near Omaruru for two nights, resulted in him finding his way home last week.

Mwazemisapo Handjambi and his siblings stay with their grandfather at a municipal cattle camp about 10 kilometres from Omaruru.

While herding cattle on Sunday, the boy told his cousin that he was going to walk to Omaruru's Ozondje location where his uncle, Kanjima Tjipopeni (who is also his legal guardian), lived.

"They thought he was joking, and did not even tell their grandfather at first. They thought he would not go far before he turned back," Tjipopeni told The Namibian.

Tjipopeni is a long-distance taxi driver. When he returned home on Sunday evening, he was informed that his nephew had left the camp on foot to visit him. Handjambi, however, was neither at home, nor at his grandfather's. That is when Tjipopeni alerted the police and a search started the next morning.

Foot tracks from the camp suggested that Handjambi was walking in the direction of Omaruru, but had turned around to go back to the camp. He, however, did not follow the same the route and got lost. Later, foot tracks were seen in the opposite direction, heading to Karibib along the railway line into the road, which also disappeared into the field. Handjambi had seemingly walked past his grandfather's camp without realising it.

On Tuesday morning (around 04h00), after spending two winter-nights alone, thirsty and hungry, Handjambi suddenly appeared out of nowhere at the homestead of his grandfather's neighbour - naked and confused, according to his uncle.

Handjambi told the neighbours that a snake apparently crawled into his jacket when he fell asleep in a riverbed. That startled him so much that he removed all his clothes and shoes to make sure he got rid of the serpent, and then he ran away naked as fast as he could - unbeknown to him, in the right direction.

And so he made his way home, as if divine intervention moved the snake to startle the child into a direction that would lead him home in the dark of the night.

The search party was called off, and, according to Erongo police spokesperson Ileni Shapumpba, a medical assessment found that Handjambi was in good health. He was then reunited with his grandfather.

Based on the information from the child and the tracks, Handjambi's might have walked about 20 kilometres.

"We thank all those who helped us search for the child and we are very glad that he is now back home and healthy," said Shapumba.

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