‘Oh, beware of the snakes surrounding the campus. Okay, good night…’

After each talk before bed you would hear the same encouraging words being spoken gently and slowly ‘If you continue working diligently then you are bound to be successful… Bound to be successful’ which would then continue after a good 5 second pause with ‘Take rest… Take rest’. With my eyes still shut I could hear with my heightened senses the teacher standing to leave and return to his residence. There was then a scuffled return with the casual normal toned voice of ‘Oh, beware of the snakes surrounding the campus. Okay, good night…’ as continued to grab his glasses and exit the hall.

Everyone was just seconds before in a dazed state to awake to the unexpected information regarding roaming snakes. It’s not how we were used to leaving the hall before plopping ourselves onto our beds for rest. And when we left, with our torches we could really see snakes throughout the campus. Luckily they were mostly small and seemingly harmless snakes on the girls’ side, though at the end it was brought to our attention that the guys spotted a cobra with a flaring neck. Thank goodness that it stayed away from us females!

The snakes added to the variation of creatures which filled the ground. Frogs were all over the place along with geckos, dragonfly’s, black and white spotted beetles, caterpillars, ants and jackals.

I was unaware of what a jackal actually was originally. My first encounter with one was then I was lying on the knee high wall in order to stretch my back in my 5 minute break. I was lying there peacefully awaiting the bell of continuation and then ‘woosh’. This four legged creature jumped directly over my face. My eyes opened to see the back legs and tail just inches away from me. This shocked and panicked others as well as myself. As I sat up eagerly and watched it running into the distance, I was unable to work out whether it was a dog, fox, wolf or other unknown creature. It was only when reading the sign outside of the mediation cells saying ‘Please keep your shoes, coats and bags inside the building as otherwise the jackals might place them anywhere’ that I realised what it was.