A mourning snake. That is what the puzzled family of an old man who died last month in Baringo North has concluded. Ewoi Nakorot, a renowned snake handler, died on June 30 in Kampi ya Samaki village aged 86.
He was buried on Thursday. The following night, a humongous python emerged from the thickets around his mud-walled house and slithered into his bed.
The bizarre incident has left the villagers scratching their heads in bewilderment.
“My husband died after a short illness on June 30 and we buried him on Thursday. The snake visited us on Friday around 11pm,” the widow, Esther Ewoi, said on Saturday.
She said the family did not try to chase away or kill the reptile, adding “we believe it just decided to visit and mourn its late friend”.
Esther said the snake passed through the gravesite before it slithered inside the deceased old man’s house, climbed straight into his bed, coiled and slept quietly.
“To us, this is a blessing. Maybe my late husband manifested himself to us through the snake, which he used to take good care of,” she said.
Vincent Ewoi, one of the old man’s sons, said the following morning the family alerted other villagers who came and witnessed the “miracle” before he carried it away in his bare hands and released it to the nearby bushes.
“This is not witchcraft at all because as a family snakes have been our main source of livelihood. Our father used to trade in them and trained us to feed and domesticate snakes,” Ewoi said.
Esther is known for her prowess in using local herbs to treat victims of snake bites. The incident occurred in the same place where a crocodile showed up at the fence of the Administration Police camp after the death of David Owino who used to feed it.
He had been arrested and brutally beaten to death by the officers back in December 2019. Mzee Nakorot is believed to have been born in Turkana in 1935 before he later migrated to live in Kampi ya Samaki.
He picked was nicknamed ‘Dr William’ after a white man. He worked as a casual laborer who tracked and milked venom from snakes in the home of former Kenya Wildlife Service director Dr Richard Leakey.
In 1961, Nakorot met Jonathan Leakey, the eldest brother of Philip and Richard Leakey and worked with the latter in Kisumu until 1972.
During his tenure he captured over 2,000 snakes of different species whose venom would be harvested and sold locally and internationally. The venom was used by experts to manufacture snake antidotes.
Nakorot was honoured by the National Museums of Kenya, which described him as a gifted freelance collector of reptiles. In 1994 he started a snake park in Kampi ya Samaki.
Villagers used to call him over whenever they spotted a snake around. He would collect it and pay his informers Sh20 for small snakes and Sh100 to Sh200 for big ones. Many visitors flocked his snake park and paid to touch feel the reptiles and take photos with them.
But the old man was later arrested for keeping snakes as pets without a license and was jailed for six months under community service. He later migrated to Lodwar in Turkana where he started a new snake park.
Kenya Wildlife Service Baringo warden Peter Lekeren expressed shock that the family slept overnight with a snake.
“This is a very dangerous phenomenon. People should not celebrate or rejoice about this because snakes are very deadly,” Lekeren said.
Sourced from The Star